Ok, remember when I thought juice cleansing and fasting were a bit extreme and unnecessary? Well I’m now 100% obsessed. Why the complete shift in my thought process? Let me take you on the little journey that happened in my brain and tell you why I think EVERYONE should consider doing this at some point! (Of course at the guidance of your physician)
First let me just say that I’ve had multiple people tell me how wonderful they feel after intermittent fasting or doing a cleanse. (For purposes of this post I will use the term fast) This has made me curious about fasting, but not enough to partake. Rumor has it that fasting increases mental clarity and emotional stability. That is helps with weight loss, cholesterol levels, and hormonal imbalances. That it clears your complexion and gives you amazing skin. And that it can reverse the aging process. Oh, is that all? Well that sounds a bit too good to be true, and I’m not much for anecdotal science, hence my never giving this much credence.
What really peeked my curiosity was a conversation I had with a research scientist from MIT. He studies nutrition and anti-aging and does a lot of work looking at different biomarkers in humans. Our conversation had nothing to do with fasting, but he mentioned that one of the best things we can do for our health is calorie restriction. AKA fasting. Well he must know what he’s talking about. This isn’t some random guy on a “health” forum; this is a research scientist from MIT for crying out loud! So you all know by now what happened next. I spent WAY TOO MANY hours on PubMed looking through research articles. Here’s what I found out.
Science has proven at least half of the things I mentioned are actually TRUE! It’s not just hippie mumbo jumbo. And we are just starting to scratch the surface of the awesome powers of fasting. Let me give you a few examples.
Numerous studies show fasting slows and reverse aging in lower animals. Mostly rat trials from what I’ve seen. But these studies have been successfully replicated in primates and are starting to be conducted on human populations with the same success!
One small study used calorie restriction on a group of elderly woman and found it improved their memory, decreased inflammatory markers, and improved insulin sensitivity.
Another study was done comparing subjects who had been calorie restricting long term with people on the standard American diet. Not only did those who participate in calorie restriction have a much healthier body weight; they had lower inflammatory markers, healthier cholesterol levels, better fasting glucose levels, better blood pressure readings, and healthier arteries.
Side note: you will see me talk about inflammation and inflammatory markers a lot. Why? Well, inflammation is basically at the root of all of our disease processes! Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.
Other studies have shown that fasting lowers oxidation and free radicals in the body, increases human growth hormone, and rejuvenates the human immune system. Incase that’s not a good enough, they have also found fasting to decrease or stress hormones. Concerned that fasting will slow your metabolism? Some studies have shown an increase in metabolic rate at the onset of fasting! Oh, did I mention that fasting is also be protective against cancer?
I even watched a TED talk with a scientist describing their recent research findings showing that calorie restriction is protective against dementia and Alzheimer’s.
If you think about the history of humanity, intermittent fasting makes sense. Only recently did we start consuming 2,000 calories a day, everyday, over the course of our entire life span. God made our bodies knowing we would NOT have food everyday.
I’m sure there are all kinds of things going on in the body when we fast that we’re not aware of yet, but there’s plenty we DO know to prove to me that occasional fasting is definitely doing something awesome. And it certainly won’t hurt most American’s to go without food a bit. So I’m all in!
March 20th is the first day of spring, and I’m kicking it off with a little cleanse and fast I designed to purge my body, rest my gut, and calorie restrict. If you would like information about exactly what this entails you can check out the following video. I would love to have you join me in this because misery loves company. I mean, because everything is easier with a supportive group of like-minded peeps! 😉