When I was studying nutrition we were taught that eating little and often was the key to maintaining good health. Regular meals, with snacks in between, would keep us healthy and help us reach an ideal weight. Skipping meals, fasting or going for extended periods without food was certainly not encouraged.
With the knowledge and research that we have today, this belief system seems very outdated. Going for extended periods of time without food, we now know, can benefit our health in many ways.
Fasting became widely popularised in 2012 following Michael Mosley’s Horizon documentary. Mosley then went on to encourage the hugely successful 5:2 Diet which promotes eating a normal calorie diet for five days of the week and restricting your calories to 5/600 for two days.
Ever since Mosley’s introduction of fasting, it has kept its popularity. The practice has continued to be an extremely talked about topic for almost a decade. Although it’s fame has risen at a high rate throughout the past ten years, fasting has been practiced amongst religious faiths for many centuries.
Here are 5 ways fasting can benefit your health:
PROMOTES WEIGHT LOSS
Not only is fasting a form of calorie restriction, fasting has beneficial effects on how your hormones influence fat storage. Regular fasting has been proven to help your body more effectively maintain a healthy weight.
SLOWS AGEING PROCESSES
Research shows fasting reduces oxidative stress and inflammation within the body. These are two key processes that speed up the ageing process. In Mosley’s documentary, when compared to someone of his own age on a calorie restricted diet, he performed much worse in all age related tests before he starting fasting.
STIMULATES CELL REPAIR
In a fasted state, our cells begin a ‘waste removal’ process called autophagy. This is where your cells clean out debris, including toxins, and recycle damaged cell components.
REDUCES RISK OF TYPE 2 DIABETES
Studies have shown that fasting can help lower blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance. In some people, fasting has even been show to reverse type 2 diabetes.
PROMOTES BENEFICIAL CHANGES IN GENE EXPRESSION
Even if you have a genetic predisposition for disease, lifestyle choices can ‘switch on’ or ‘switch off’ genes. Fasting has positive effects on how genes express themselves helping to prolong lifespan and protect against disease.
There are a number of different ways to fast and different methods suit different people. Personally, I prefer to fast for 4-5 days at a time, 2-3 times a year, rather than try to fit it into my weekly schedule. You might imagine that fasting would leave you feeling tired, hungry and miserable, but in fact quite the opposite is true. Strangely, I look forward to my green-vegetable-juice-only fasts.
Another popular way to fast is restricting your eating window to just eight hours in every 24 hour day. That might mean that you don’t eat before 11am and you’ll have finished your last meal by 7pm giving your body a 16 hour window to fast.
One of the professors interviewed in Mosley’s documentary was Dr Valter Longo. Longo is a professor at the University of Southern California, researcher and leading expert. He predominantly works in the field of fasting and focuses on its effects on cellular protection against ageing and disease.
Longo has developed a five day diet that mimics fasting, providing all of the health benefits without having to stop eating. The diet is called ProLon and it’s made up of nutrient dense, plant based, mini meals sent to your doorstep. Since their launch in 2016, I have worked with ProLon as their official UK brand ambassador to monitor case studies, educate the press and general public, as well as the medical community, about the benefits of fasting and this practical way to fast.
ProLon is available in the UK and this is one of the dietary approaches we recommend to some of our clients. To read reviews from our clients who have experienced the benefits of ProLon, click here.
If the ProLon approach to fasting appeals to you and you’d like to find out more, please do get in touch. If you would like to purchase ProLon, you can use this link and enter our discount code KP10 to get 10% off your order.