Intermittent fasting has become all the rage in the health realm as of late, and for good reason. Some common forms include fasting on water for 24 hours twice a week for two weeks, or fasting (not eating) for 16 hours a day for three days straight, or even on a regular basis. It’s not just a fad, as evidence has started to accumulate showing its various health benefits. Karen Ranzi, as a fully raw vegan, experiences an increase of energy, improved sleep patterns and better digestion when practicing intermittent fasting for 16 hours daily, even though she’s already been following a healthy raw food lifestyle for 26 years. Karen also gives herself a wonderful digestive break three times a year with a juice cleanse she hosts online.
Whatever method you choose, the health benefits of intermittent fasting are plentiful—here’s just 5 to help you understand its vast benefits and to help get you started on your own fasting experience.
1. Weight loss: The number one reason why people turn to intermittent fasting is for weight loss purposes.1 First, by eating less calories, you will not gain any weight, but in fact, lose some. Fasting also drops your insulin levels and increases fat-burning hormones in your body, so your metabolic rate will jump up quite a bit.1 Keep in mind that this is intermittent, so it’s not safe to extend the fasting to more than two or three days without supervision—your body needs nutrition to function properly baseline.
2. Reversal of Type II Diabetes: Because your body’s insulin levels do drop as you intermittently fast, people who suffer from Type II Diabetes have the opportunity to halt its progression and possibly reverse it completely by doing this.2 Also, your cholesterol levels drop and growth hormones rise, promoting the expulsion of toxins your body has stored up until this point2—reversing type II diabetes is just one of the benefits you may experience.
3. You might live longer! According to the New England Journal of Medicine, “eating in a 6-hour period and fasting for 18 hours can trigger a metabolic switch from glucose-based to ketone-based energy, with increased stress resistance, increased longevity, and a decreased incidence of diseases, including cancer and obesity.” Also, “four studies in both animals and people found intermittent fasting also decreased blood pressure, blood lipid levels and resting heart rates,”4 furthering your chances of living a long, healthy life.
4. Your body starts to repair itself on a cellular level. That’s right, your body can heal itself starting from its very basic, fundamental level. “When intermittent fasting, your cells initiate cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells. There are also changes in the function of genes in your cells related to longevity and protection against disease.”5 Imagine a dieting tool so powerful it erases damage on a granular level.
Karen Ranzi, a raw vegan since 1994, was eating, or rather grazing on healthy food all day long during the early years when she turned to raw food to heal her health challenges of cystic acne and irritable bowel syndrome. These challenges did heal. However, as time progressed, Karen realized she still needed to make changes toward improved digestion. When she switched to eating between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm on most days, allowing a 16 hour digestive break, she gained increased energy, improved sleep, and improved overall health and immunity.
5. It’s super convenient: A low fat raw vegan diet itself, with all its whole plant food goodness, can be extremely helpful in shedding extra pounds, but the addition of intermittent fasting gives the digestive system the opportunity to rest, relax and regenerate. With intermittent fasting, when you do it is on your own terms, as long as you adhere to the timing so as to do it safely and effectively. It’s something you can do regardless of where you are or what your responsibilities may be.
There you have it—5 irresistible reasons to start intermittent fasting. Good luck, be safe, and most importantly, be healthy!
By Caroline McNally, Ramapo College Intern, with Karen Ranzi, M.A.