Fasting has been gaining more awareness lately, but it’s been around since the beginning of times. Our ancestors had to fast when food was scarce, which was actually quite often. It’s only thanks to the rise of agriculture that food is so abundant these days and we don’t have to fast anymore if we don’t want.
We are still the same animal as cavemen and we don’t need to stuff ourselves continuously. In fact, good things happen when you skip meals from time to time. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of fasting:
1. Controlling blood sugar and insulin
The main benefit of fasting is the most obvious one. If you don’t eat, your blood sugar won’t rise and your body doesn’t need to produce insulin to clean up the glucose from your blood stream.
This is great news, as the overproduction of insulin is actually associated with a host of diseases and major fat gain. When your cells get bombarded with insulin too often, they become less sensitive to it, which over time leads to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Insulin also disables fat burning in your body. While there’s insulin present in your blood, you literally can’t burn fat for fuel. Your body simply switches into storage mode.
2. Detoxification and cleansing
Skipping meals gives your digestive system a rest as it doesn’t need to work on processing meals one after the other.
But there’s another, more important benefit related to cleansing. When your body senses that food is scarce, it switches on a mechanism called autophagy. It’s like your body’s internal clean-up process.
During autophagy, old and detrimental cells are being broken down into amino-acids and other compounds and are being reused. This allows your body to work more efficiently, just like you can be more efficient when you clean up the useless stuff from your desk.
Your brain in particular highly depends on this process. Autophagy prevents you against cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.
3. Fat burning
Fasting is one of the most efficient ways to burn fat. The inhibition of insulin production that I mentioned above is one reason why this happens.
Fasting is also associated with the release of human growth hormone (HGH). It’s actually one of the top 3 HGH stimulants, together with deep sleep and high intensity interval training.
HGH is famous for it’s fat burning properties. It also improves your recovery, strengthens the bones and generally makes you look and feel younger.
Hollywood stars inject themselves with growth hormone and pay huge amounts of money for it. Fasting is free and even saves you time that you’d otherwise spend eating/cooking/cleaning up.
Fasting and metabolism
The majority of fitness experts will tell you that you need to eat regularly to keep your metabolic engine humming. They recommend eating 6 times a day.
There’s scientific evidence that proves this claim is simply not true. Your metabolic rate does not depend on the amount of meals you eat per day and fasting up to 2-3 days won’t slow down your metabolism, nor will it burn your precious muscles if you train them.
As you can see, fasting is a very powerful habit and skipping breakfast might not be such a bad idea after all.