Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) is pretty simple, in scientific terms. Eating normally for a period of time before consuming no calories for another period of time is technically intermittent fasting (you do it between meals, all the time).

Most people who talk about IF consider periods longer than 12 hours without eating to be legitimate IF regimens, while simply going between meals without eating a normal diet. Diets that center around IF recommend different amounts of fasting times and eating styles, some extremes recommending 48 hours with only water, while others simply suggest skipping single meals. One of the most popular commercial diets that recommends IF is Leangains.

Leangains

The Leangains pattern for IF basically recommends extending your overnight fast until lunch time, meaning you fast for around 16 hours from dinner to the next days lunch. during the 8 hour window from lunchtime to dinner, what you eat is not explicitly recommended, although there are lots of adjustments and recommendations made for those who are athletes, bodybuilders, etc. regarding protein and calories on days when you are exercising vs. days when you are not.

Most studies on IF have focused on using the technique to help maintain weight after going through a weight-loss program and have found IF to be an effective method to maintain body weight without worrying about counting carbs, calories, or fat. It is often the case in IF diets that the programs don’t dictate what you eat in the periods where you are not fasting, which seems to help increase feelings of satisfaction and motivation for those on the program.

Health Benefits

IF programs like leangains have several health benefits that have been shown through scientific study. IF has been shown to increase the lifespans of lab mice 15-20 percent, and has been shown to improve health markers like cholesterol and other blood serum indicators similar to a caloric restriction (CR) diet. In addition, Intermittent fasters show some improvements above and beyond traditional CR diets, like increased response to chemotherapy in cancer treatment, resistance to the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and higher tolerance for toxic substances.

Concerns

IF creates concern in some who worry about the stress that self-imposed ‘starvation’ periods might cause on the body. It is true that unexpected fasting periods raise stress hormone levels in the body, meaning that if you eat lunch two hours late one day, your body could be mildly stressed the entire time. The question is whether that stress is detrimental to the body or not. Many stresses, like the stress from exercise, ultimately prove to be helpful when the body acclimates to the level of stress and makes the appropriate biological changes. Stress from work and anxiety are types of stress that often prove more harmful. Perhaps the body adjusts to the regular pattern of fasting and becomes better for it. Those who support IF diets claim that our ancestors likely went through periods of fasting when food sources were unreliable, and perhaps we adapted to the food scarcity the same way we adapted a training response to exercise.

The jury is still out on whether Leangains and other intermittent fasting programs do great lasting help for dieters beyond what a normal fat, carb, or calorie restricted diet would. It appears that they are at least as good, and should be considered for those who prefer the looser style and can handle the periods of fasting without falling off the dieting wagon.


Some speculate that he is part man, part animal, but the only thing that you need to know is his obsession and dedication to the art of living lean and helping you to achieve your body fat goals.

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