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Intermittent Fasting – Adjusting Eating Time for Better Wellness

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Did you know that fasting is beneficial to health? The secret lies in the activation of autophagy. The 2016 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to a Japanese cell biologist, Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi, for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy. Autophagy begins when the body undergoes stress such as fasting, calorie restriction or starvation. This protective housekeeping mechanism helps slow down the aging process and has a positive impact on cell renewal. Emerging evidence points to the potential fasting has to offer in terms of protection from chronic diseases and promoting longevity. One of these worrisome chronic conditions is obesity. A sedentary lifestyle and consumption of extra calories also increase the risk of other conditions, including heart disease, hypertension and even cancer.

Intermittent fasting, as defined by, is an “eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating.” Many diets focus on what we eat, but intermittent fasting focuses on when we eat. One of them is called “Eat Stop Eat,” which involves a 24-hour fast once or twice a week. Another method is called the 16:8 fast, which typically involves fasting for about 16 hours and limiting eating within a timeframe of eight hours. Alternatively, another easy way is the 12-hour fast. Let’s say you finish your dinner at 7 p.m. and do not eat until breakfast time at 7 a.m. the next day; then you will have fasted for 12 hours.

Studies show that more than 10 hours of fasting could be an ideal amount of time for the body to initiate a certain mechanism to promote wellness. One of the main reactions is the shift of energy sources. During the process, the liver converts stored fat to ketone bodies which offer a more efficient energy source than glucose. Though intermittent fasting may benefit individuals who have type 2 diabetes, it may not be ok for those with type 1 diabetes.

During the fasting window, drinking water is preferable. Coffee and tea are also permitted but one should stay away from adding sweeteners. Healthy vegan food such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and plant-based protein helps make fasting easier.
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