When you think about all the different ways you can support healthy beautiful aging have you ever considered that putting down your fork could possibly be the best, cheapest and easiest way?
Putting down your fork is very ’in’ at the moment and has many different names, such as intermittent fasting, eating windows, fasting mimicking diets, 5:2 diet, water fasting, etc.
Studies show that these diets are an effective way to sink blood sugar and insulin and thereby reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and several neurological diseases, not forgetting beautiful skin, increased gut health and a decrease in the speed of aging.
Doctors have also started recommending the fasting regimes as a support to weight loss because they are much easier to maintain than the traditional low-calorie diets and are at the very least as effective.
There are many ways to follow a fasting regime, chose the one that suits you best or combine the various types.
Most of us eat way too much food, we don’t have to fight for our food anymore, i.e. we don’t have to spend calories to acquire the next ones. The high energy foods we previously risked life and limb for are now always available (on supermarket shelves), which means we can (and do) without any effort ‘inject’ sugar and fat into our body’s and repeat this several times a day. This means that most people will have positive effects from any type of fasting regime.
Food quality is very important – you must not expect improved health and beauty if you fill your eating windows with ’junk food’.
Make sure your eating lots of fruits and vegetables, especially greens, whole grains, especially them without gluten, healthy fats, such as olive oil, fish oil, coconut oil and avocados, healthy animal protein from animals that are free range and fish that swim freely, keep yourself well hydrated with calorie free drinks, such as black teas and coffee, herbal waters and teas and fresh, filtered water, which can also help control your appetite and cravings.
The regimes are straightforward to follow and, as important are easy to maintain.
My favourite is the 16/8 eating window diet, i.e. you eat within an 8 hour-period and fast for a 16 hour-period.
E.g. you begin with ’breakfast’ at 12 noon and eat your last meal at 8pm and then don’t eat again until 12 noon the next day.
You can also choose other 8 hour-windows, such as 10am – 6pm or 7am – 3pm i.e. you choose the 8 hour-period which suits your daily program best.
Minimum twice a week to obtain an effect, though it can be repeated more often even every day, as I said most of us eat way too much food.
Important to remember milk is food and that ‘it was just a little mouthful’ is still food. You may drink water, herbal waters and teas, black coffee within the 16 hour-period, everything else your gut regards as food.
Important – women and men are not equal, women may need a longer eating window, such as 9-10 hours with a 14-15 hours fast.
Other fasting diets
5:2-diet, where you reduce calorie intake on 2 non consecutive days out of 7. 600 calories for women and 500 calories for men. You eat ’normally’ on the other days.
Eat-Stop-Eat-diet, where you water-fast for 24 hours during a week, such as you eat lunch at 1pm on day 1 and don’t eat again before 1pm the next day. You can water-fast several times during the week, such as water fasting every 3rd or 4th day. A water-fast weekend is also good.
Fasting Mimicking Diet where you eat a controlled amount of food throughout a 5 day period, is also a super way to increase fat burning without losing muscle mass.
Let’s take a closer look at the advantages.
Even though there is a need for more research intermittent fasting has been shown to promote changes in cell, gene and hormone activity (you will find some studies listed at the end of the article)
- 1. Insulin levels decrease which enables fat burning and can reduce the risk of insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes, especially in men, remember women may need to ensure that their fasting period is not too long, remember men and women are not equal.
- 2. Human growth hormone increases which also supports fat burning and muscle growth, etc.
- 3. Cell repair is increased, such as the removal of cell debris, a process called autophagy, where unnecessary or dysfunctional cell components are removed or reused. The increased autophagy can protect against many diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer, etc.
- 4. Positive changes in gene activity related to longevity and protection against disease.
- 5. Increased metabolism.
- 6. Increased abdominal fat burning
- 7. Can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation and thereby reduce the speed of aging and risk of developing chronic lifestyle diseases, not forgetting increasing skin health and beauty.
- 8. Can be positive for the brain, due to the reduction in oxidative stress, regulation of blood sugar and insulin, and possibly the increased growth of new brain cells and the level of the hormone Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which can among other things improve mood.
- 9. Animal studies show an 83% prolonged life when compared to animals not fasting.
- 10. Can affect gut function by creating a positive change in the microbiome
Extra focus on the skin
Everyone is talking about how fasting is good for weight loss, but there’s not a lot of talk about its effects on the skin.
Focusing on the skin should not be regarded as trivial as there are several people suffering with severe skin problems which create psychological problems even depression. Therefore, any solution that will improve skin health is nothing less than amazing.
As the body’s largest organ, the skin is greatly affected by fasting, which helps correct the cause of the skin problem not just reduce the symptoms.
Most health and beauty problems have a common root, namely inflammation, aging involves increased inflammation, many skin diseases, such as rosacea, eczema, acne, etc., involve increased inflammation.
Fasting regimes create a ‘reboot’ and rebalancing of the gut’s microbiome, which is one of the biggest areas in the body for inflammation and by improving gut health and its microbiome the systemic inflammation reduces followed closely by the improvement in skin health and beauty.
Fasting regimes balance blood sugar and insulin, which absolutely reduces inflammation but also testosterone production.
Testosterone is responsible for sebum production, where large amounts will make the skin oilier and increase the risk for spots even acne. By improving blood sugar and insulin production sebum production will reduce followed by beautiful clean skin.
Fasting regimes increase fat burning, which can lead to less cellulite, resulting in smoother skin on the buttocks and thighs.
Fasting regimes reduce oxidative stress, which can reduce the negative effects on many of the various skin cells and proteins that increase aging. The reduced oxidative stress allows the skin cells to maintain optimal function and their ‘younger look’ much longer.
Is a fasting regime right for you?
Even though fasting regimes are for most people a sustainable, safe, and easy way to improve health and beauty there are some drawbacks and are therefore not for everyone.
In the beginning, until the body gets used to the new eating habits hunger, weakness even exhaustion can be a problem, but this usually disappears within a few days.
Some eat way too much in their eating window, which can lead to weight gain, digestive problems and poor eating habits.
Fasting regimes affect men and women differently, and can disturb fertility in women. Talk to your doctor about fasting regimes if you have diabetes, an eating disorder, low blood pressure, if you’re on medication and/or if you experience negative reactions.
In summary fasting regimes offer many positive effects on aging, which promotes a more beautiful and healthier life, the question is – What are you prepared to ‘put down’ to gain a healthy body and beautiful skin?