A simple review of intermittent fasting and its health effects

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What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) isn’t a diet but a pattern of eating. It’s a routine where you switch between periods of eating and not eating.

Basically, it’s not about what you eat, but when you eat. It’s like a timetable for meals, where you have long breaks without food, and then periods when you eat normally.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

The idea behind IF is pretty simple. When we don’t eat for a while, our bodies begin to change how they work. These changes can have lots of health benefits. Let’s break it down into simpler parts.

Weight Loss: IF can help people lose weight. When we fast, our bodies need to find energy from somewhere other than our last meal. So, it starts to use our stored fat for energy, which can lead to weight loss.

Better Sugar Control: IF can also help control blood sugar levels. This means it can be helpful for people with diabetes or those at risk.

Healthy Brain: There’s evidence that IF could also improve brain health. Some research shows that it can improve memory and other mental functions.

Cell Renewal and Longevity: IF can trigger a process called autophagy, where our cells clean up waste material and repair themselves. This can lead to better overall health and even a longer lifespan.

Cancer Prevention: Some studies suggest that IF could help prevent cancer. This could be because it helps our bodies clean out damaged cells, which could potentially turn into cancer cells.

Healthy Aging: IF might slow down the aging process. It does this by reducing the risk of diseases that are more common as we age, like diabetes and heart disease.

But remember, while IF has a lot of potential benefits, it’s not a magic cure for everything.

Are There Downsides to Intermittent Fasting?

While IF can be great for some people, it might not be the best choice for everyone.

For example, some people might find it hard to stick to an IF eating schedule. Others might feel dizzy or tired, especially when starting out.

In some cases, IF might not be recommended at all. For example, if you’re pregnant, under 18, or have certain health conditions, IF might not be safe.

It’s always important to talk with a healthcare provider before starting something like IF.

What Does The Research Say?

Most of what we know about IF comes from studies on animals or small groups of people. So far, these studies are promising.

They suggest that IF can lead to weight loss, better heart health, and improved brain function. However, we need more large-scale studies to confirm these findings.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that most research on IF doesn’t tell us what the “best” way to do IF is.

For example, it’s still unclear how long our fasting periods should be, or what types of foods are best to eat during our eating periods.


In short, intermittent fasting is a way of eating that involves alternating between periods of fasting and eating.

It has potential benefits, like weight loss, improved brain function, and a lower risk of some diseases.

But it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it’s always important to talk with a healthcare provider before trying something new.

Future research will help us understand more about the best ways to practice IF and who might benefit the most from it.

The research was published in the Journal of Diabetes Research.

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