The food that we eat serves as fuel required for a proper functioning of the body. A wrong kind of fuel may promote several health problems. However, it is not just what you eat that matters, when to eat also accounts for the physical well being of the organism.
The researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have found that fasting can be a plausible cause of considerable improvements in the regulation of blood sugar level, blood pressure and oxidative stress levels.
Intermittent fasting is an ancient secret. It has almost been practiced throughout the human history. It is a condition where eating and fasting goes on in a cycle of a definite time periods.
Courtney Peterson, assistant professor at UAB’s Department of Nutrition Sciences, stated that intermittent fasting improves metabolism and the general health of the organism.
A series of experiments were conducted in order to test the outcomes of early time-restricted feeding (eTRF). During the experiment, a person was allowed to eat for about a fixed time period usually 10 hours or less. He/she was asked to have the dinner during the mid-afternoon. The rest of the day was spent fasting. However, the conventional intermittent fasting accounts for shorter periods and meals are taken earlier than the set experimental hours.
For the study, eight prediabetic men were recruited. They were asked to track eTRF for the first five weeks of the study. For the next five weeks, normal American meal times were set for them.
During the eTRF, the participants were allowed to eat within a fixed time constituting six hours a day. The rest of the 18 hours were spent fasting. During the American meal schedule, 12 hours a day was the eating time for the subjects.
The participants were given the same food for both the schedules and their eating time was strictly monitored making sure that the schedules are followed correctly so that the results aren’t affected anyway.
It was noted that the participants showed an improved level of blood sugar and better insulin sensitivity during the first five weeks. The eTRF schedule was also found to lower their blood pressure, oxidative stress, and appetite levels. In addition, the study asserted that eating early is beneficial than eating late.
Peterson explained the harmful effects of eating late. She contended that eating late at night exerts a negative stress upon the metabolism of the body. She further declared that a body is tuned to do certain tasks at specific times i.e. the circadian rhythm of the body. Eating in accordance with our circadian rhythms will improve our health. For example, our body carries out cholesterol’s catabolism well during the day thus consuming fatty meals would be less risky in the morning and early afternoon.
Similarly, a body regulates diabetes, hypertension, and blood sugar level according to its rhythms.
Intermittent fasting can lead to avoiding certain problems caused by an ill-timed diet. It may also help people to shed those extra pounds and cut that belly fat down!
In addition, it can regulate the process of autophagy which helps to repair cells by removing the waste from the living body. The cellular waste may constitute broken and dysfunctional proteins, which may damage the cells if accumulated inside. It also helps to maintain the neural health of the body by lowering the blood pressure, by regulating blood sugar level, and by diminishing the oxidative stress of the body. It also prevents neurodegenerative conditions by maintaining the proper health of the brain. It is also indicated to protect the genes and prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer etc.
Intermittent fasting is an easy practice anticipating numerous benefits so it is worth a try!
Sutton, E. F., Beyl, R., Early, K. S., Cefalu, W. T., Ravussin, E., & Peterson, C. M. (2018). Early time-restricted feeding improves insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and oxidative stress even without weight loss in men with prediabetes. Cell metabolism, 27(6), 1212-1221.
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