Achieving long-term weight loss can be very hard but is acknowledged as essential for good lifelong health. There are endless numbers of dieting approaches that have been proposed, but all of them are hampered by the difficulty of continuing to follow the diet over time. For example, people on low fat diets frequently feel hungry and think the food is tasteless, while people on Paleo diets are often tempted to indulge in eating common foods the diet doesn’t allow but that are delicious and are all around them. One dieting approach that is attracting a lot of attention lately is intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is quite simple; you just don’t eat very much on certain days. There are many approaches to intermittent fasting, but the most common approach is to pick two or three days a week where you eat nothing or just eat one small meal. The simplicity of this approach to reducing your caloric intake is one of its major advantages. You don’t have to count calories or wonder if the dish you are consuming at the potluck contains a lot of carbohydrates or bad fats.
We didn’t use to have endless amounts of food
People raised on the “three squares a day” or the “eating snacks every 20 minutes” paradigm may find this approach to weight loss to be puzzling, but it actually fits in very well with our evolutionary history. In the past, humans didn’t have stocked refrigerators or take-out and used to alternate between periods of time when food was scarce and periods when someone found a good source of nuts or managed to kill a prey animal. Thus, our bodies are perfectly adapted to going without food for long periods of time in between periods of eating anything available.In fact, this lengthy history of not having a steady supply of food is why we get fat in the first place. Our bodies naturally store energy in the form of fat when we have an abundant source of food, because it anticipates we won’t have any food tomorrow and will have to tap into our fat resources. Except in modern times these natural fasting periods never happen unless we take up the practice of intermittent fasting.
Other health benefits
In addition to weight loss, a number of other health benefits have been identified to be associated with intermittent fasting, including a reduced risk of developing type II diabetes, reduced blood pressure and reductions in the risk of cardiovascular disease, a better memory, and a lower risk of certain cancers.