While Fasting and Calorie Restriction may sound like the same thing, they are actually two different Behemoths. Most do not know which to go with and which is right for them. While I am a bit biased toward Fasting, there is scientific reasoning to back up my claim. Today we will go over the science of Fasting and High-Calorie Restriction and why you may want to try fasting for once.
What is Fasting?
You may have actually heard of fasting before, but what exactly is it? Does it work? Is it safe?
When you are doing fast, you do not eat or drink anything except for water for a specific amount of time. Some people do make exceptions to this and drink things like Coffee or Green Tea. But if your fast is strict then water is the only beverage that is allowed.
When Fasting for reasons that are spiritual, many are known to fast for days or even weeks at a time! Many who do not do it for spiritual reasons follow an Intermittent Fasting plan. Most individuals follow a 16:8 plan, which means that they are fasting for 16 hours and have an 8-hour eating window throughout the day.
The beauty of fasting is the fact that it doesn’t matter what you eat as long as it is in your eating window, while you should still try to eat healthily, it is not an iron rule, and as long as you are not consuming calories during your fast, then you are golden!
What is Caloric Restriction?
When it comes to fasting, you can still eat the same number of calories, just during a specific time of the day. When it comes to Caloric Restriction, you can eat the entire day but you have to drop the amount of food that you eat.
For some people, this can leave them still extremely hungry because they are used to getting a larger volume or portion of food. Many Calorie Restrictive diets fail because the feeling of starving all the time doesn’t appeal to many people.
It is true that Calorie Restriction does work, but according to science, it is not optimal. If you have had luck in the past with Calorie Restriction than great! If it works for you then go for it! But, if you always break when it comes to cutting calories, then you may want to try intermittent fasting.
It is important to remember that a good diet for you makes you feel good, and leaves you with a lot of energy, so always find something that works best for you! It is important for your health!
Benefits of Fasting-Backed By Science
- May improve blood sugar control, and reduce insulin resistance– This one is extremely important for those who are prediabetic, it can help lower your risk of diabetes and make you feel great!
- Fights Inflammation-Some studies show that fasting can have a healing effect on the body, especially in those with chronic inflammation, if you have chronic pain, you may find that some of it subside with fasting.
- Improves Heart Health– Studies show that fasting can improve blood pressure, triglycerides, and Cholesterol levels!
- Boost in Brain Function- Research on this benefit has mostly been done on animals, but it has been shown in this research that fasting can have a very strong effect on lasting brain health. It can even help to prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
- Aids in Weight Loss– That’s right you heard correctly! Fasting can aid in weight loss through boosting metabolism! It has also been shown to increase natural growth hormone which can help with weight loss, metabolic boosts, and muscle growth.
There are many many more benefits of fasting that I could go through, but these are my top 5! The main basis of fasting is the fact that you can eat whatever you want inside your eating window, as long as you only drink water when you are fasting!
Intermittent fasting can be thought of as Short term starvation, and while it may sound bad, it is actually something your body is used to.
History of Fasting
Going all the way back to our hunter-gatherer ancestry, our ancestors had to forage or hunt for their food. This meant it could sometimes be hours or even days before they ate, in short, they were in short term starvation all the time, which is why our bodies are so efficient at running this way.
These days people are bombarded with food, many people have large breakfasts, constantly snack on fattening foods throughout the day, and food is always just a walk to the cabinet away. Our bodies have no idea what to do with all the food, which is why some people put on weight.
So not only does fasting have numerous benefits, but it can also just give your body a much-needed break so that it can focus on things like healing and keeping you alert.
In conclusion, if a calorie restrictive diet has always been hard for you, then you may want to try intermittent fasting.
You can try a 16:8 eating window, which is 16 hours fasting and 8 hours to eat, just do not take it overboard!
I personally use a 17:7 eating window, every day at noon my eating window starts and every day at 7:00 my eating window ends.
Do keep in mind that you may want to consult someone before you try this or any diet for that matter! Especially if you have ongoing health issues, it is important to make sure it is right for you. It also needs reminding that you do not want to crash diet, this will lead to nutrient deficiency. Fasting is eating the same food and the same amount of food but at a different time!
Stick to a good eating window and eat whatever you want, if you want to try fasting I say go for it!!! Good luck! 🙂