The health benefits of intermittent fasting: exploring the latest research
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a dietary pattern where individuals cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It has gained popularity in recent years due to its potential health benefits. In this article, we will explore the latest research on the health benefits of intermittent fasting.
One of the most well-known benefits of intermittent fasting is weight loss. A systematic review and meta-analysis of 27 studies found that intermittent fasting was effective in reducing body weight, body fat percentage, and waist circumference (1). Another study showed that intermittent fasting was more effective than continuous energy restriction for weight loss and improving insulin sensitivity (2).
Improving Blood Sugar
Control Intermittent fasting may also help to improve blood sugar control. In a study of 10 overweight adults, an alternate-day fasting regimen improved insulin sensitivity (3). Another study found that intermittent fasting reduced fasting insulin levels and improved insulin sensitivity in women with prediabetes (4).
Inflammation is a normal response by the immune system to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can contribute to various diseases. Intermittent fasting may help to reduce inflammation. A study in mice showed that intermittent fasting decreased markers of inflammation (5). In humans, a small study found that intermittent fasting reduced levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) (6).
Lowering Risk of Chronic Diseases
Intermittent fasting has been shown to potentially reduce the risk of chronic diseases. A systematic review and meta-analysis of 40 studies found that intermittent fasting was associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer (7). Another study found that intermittent fasting improved biomarkers associated with aging and age-related diseases (8).
Improved Brain Function
Intermittent fasting may also improve brain function. A study in mice showed that intermittent fasting increased the growth of new nerve cells in the brain, which may improve brain function and protect against neurodegenerative diseases (9). In humans, a study found that intermittent fasting improved cognitive performance in older adults (10).
Intermittent fasting has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improved blood sugar control, reduced inflammation, lowered risk of chronic diseases, and improved brain function. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new diet regimen, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking medication.
- Harris L et al. Intermittent fasting interventions for treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JBI Database System Rev Implement Rep. 2018;16(2):507-547. doi:10.11124/JBISRIR-2016-003248
- Carter S et al. Effect of intermittent compared with continuous energy restricted diet on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes: A randomized noninferiority trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(3):e180756. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0756
- Varady KA et al. Alternate day fasting for weight loss in normal weight and overweight subjects: A randomized controlled trial. Nutr J. 2013;12:146. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-146
- Tinsley GM et al. Intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction is effective for weight loss and cardio-protection in obese women. Nutr Res. 2019;69:24-32. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2019.01.007
- Johnson JB et al. Alternate day calorie restriction improves clinical findings and reduces markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in overweight adults with moderate