Dr. Bell's Blog

Intermittent Fasting: The Science Behind Why It Works


Intermittent fasting is something that may be new to some of you, but has been growing in popularity in recent years. It is something that I have been doing for a couple years now, not for weight loss, but just for overall health and well-being. One of the major benefits day to day that I have seen is with my energy level. Today we will take a look at why this is the case, along with many other benefits that have now been proven through scientific research.

Throughout the years, we have all been led to believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. To some degree I don’t refute that, however it depends on what time you eat breakfast, and what time your last meal was the previous day. Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you cycle through periods of eating and fasting. The most common way to do this is known as the 16:8 method. Simply put, over the course of a 24 hour day, you fast for 16 hours, and condense your eating hours down to 8. You can do this in whatever manner works best with your schedule, but for me it means I only consume food between roughly 11 am and 7pm. During the remaining time you are fasting. No snacks during this time. You should drink water or unsweetened tea/coffee (no artificial sweeteners) still during this time, though. Of course, there are random days when intermittent fasting doesn’t happen, but as long as the majority of the time it does, you will see amazing results. Word of warning, it will not be an easy thing to start. You have likely trained your body by regularly giving it food during your waking hours. It will be a struggle, but after a week or two it will adapt, and you will not only be used to it, but love it!

How It Works, And What Are The Benefits?

As your body adapts to intermittent fasting, your blood levels of insulin will drop significantly, and your human growth hormone levels increase (research shows by as much as 5-fold). I don’t want to bore you with the specific scientific details as to why, but these two things combined will help you burn fat and lose weight. Two of the other important benefits revolve around cellular repair and gene expression. Essentially during intermittent fasting your cells initiate an important cellular repair process, and change which genes they express. In a nut shell this helps with cellular longevity (slows down aging) and protection against disease. All of this can help prevent/reverse diabetes, reduce inflammation, improve heart health, reduce your risk of cancer, and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

In closing, even if you are not looking to lose weight, who doesn’t want to live the longest and healthiest life you can? Be sure during your 8 hours or less of eating each day, that it is filled with healthy nutritious foods. You can’t expect great results if you are still filling your body with garbage. Combine this with a regular cardio/strength training workout, a healthy amount of regular sleep, and of course regular chiropractic check-ups to keep your nervous system healthy, and you will be well on your way to living the long and healthy life you deserve. (As always, be sure and consult your primary care physician before beginning intermittent fasting to be sure it will not have a negative impact on any current health problems you have or medications you take.)

LIVE well. BE well.