There’s a reason that every culture in every country in the world has practiced some form of fasting for thousands of years. It works.
In this post, I will be introducing you to 16/8 Intermittent Fasting, as an aspect of utilizing fasting for health and longevity.
Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term for eating protocols that cycle between fasting and non-fasting over a defined period. As noted in my previous post, calorie restriction (another form of fasting) has been utilized by those longed-lived centenarians in both Japan and Italy. The 16/8 method is a relatively new approach.
There are two methods of intermittent fasting – whole-day fasting and time-restricted feeding.
Whole-day fasting involves regular one-day fasts.
Time-restricted feeding (TRF) involves eating only during a certain number of hours each day. 16/8 falls under TRF, as it consists of a 16 hr fast with an 8 hr feeding window.
Fasting for health only works if you have a good nutritional base before and after the fast. The onus is on the individual to do his/her homework, and determine what constitutes a good nutritional base. Additionally, fasting of any kind is recommended only for healthy adults with no medical concerns.
So how do you know what constitutes a good nutritional base?
Our culture bombards us with dietary information. Some of it is based on truth; some of it is half-truth; some of it is outright BS. Due to the sheer volume of health-related data, it is more vital than ever to do your research on healthy food and healthy eating practices.
I have always been interested in optimizing my health through nutrition and exercise and enjoy discovering new ways to refine my healthy eating practices. The 16/8 method is very similar to the way that I naturally eat on a daily basis.
According to Healthline.com, 16/8 intermittent fasting is an easy to follow protocol and can provide real results with minimal effort. I have found this to be true, at least for my husband and I. I will be reporting during this month’s posts regarding the specifics of this dietary practice.
How easy is it?
Our natural fasting window begins when we sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, optimum sleep time is 7-9 hrs for adults (18-64), and 7-8 hrs for those 65+. With a bit of variation due to personal idiosyncrasies, we can plan on fasting for at least 8 hrs. The additional 8 hrs can be added at either end – for example, stopping eating after supper, as well as waiting to eat later in the morning.
If you were to stop eating at 7pm and didn’t eat again until 11am, you would establish the 16-hour window. If you finish eating at 6, like I generally do, you can then break your fast at 10am. I also resistance train during this fasting period.
You can practice 16/8 once or twice per week, or every day (my instinctive routine).
Author Dr. Oz Garcia, a leading authority on age reversal and healthy aging, indicates that he utilizes intermittent fasting as part of his dietary regime. Ori Hofmekler, the author of the Warrior Diet, has practiced and advocated for intermittent fasting for decades. Quest CEO Tom Bilyeu, as well as Founder of Primal Nutrition, author and former Ironman competitor Mark Sisson, advocate for intermittent fasting. Many athletes also follow this protocol.
Instinctive and Natural…
Intermittent fasting has been a part of the human lifestyle since time immemorial. In times of plenty, we tanked up for those lean times when food was scarce. In times of scarcity, our fasting state kept our minds sharp and better able to recognize an opportunity to obtain food.
It seems natural to incorporate what has evolved as a normal aspect of the human diet into our modern diet, in fact, you are already doing it! 16/8 Intermittent fasting naturally follows our sleep-wake cycle, as part of the fast is included in this typical fasting interval.
Summon the spirit of the Warrior in defence of your health!
According to The Conference Board of Canada, already high and growing obesity rates in Canada are a serious health concern due to the correlation between obesity and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension. As obesity rates in Canada have increased, so have mortality rates due to diabetes.
In 2016, cancer and heart disease were the two leading causes of death, accounting for 48.6%.
Practicing this version of intermittent fasting has been shown to trigger a series of beneficial changes – down to the cellular level. Healthline.com reports that intermittent fasting has been associated with a long list of longevity promoting benefits including:
- Increased weight loss without counting calories – so no cravings or “hangryness!”
- Insulin levels drop, improving insulin sensitivity, optimizing blood sugar levels, and burning fat.
- Enhanced brain function.
- Can lead to an increase in levels of human growth hormone or HGH, the hormone responsible for cellular regeneration as well as recovery during sleep.
- It has also been shown to induce cellular autophagy, a process that promotes the efficient removal of cellular waste and toxins. It housecleans the body’s cells.
- Ongoing research also suggests that intermittent fasting may offer protection against chronic disease and brain aging by altering specific genes and molecules within the body. The emerging science of Epigenetics supports this claim.
Check out this Ted Talk on Epigenetics by geneticist Moshe Szyf of McGill University in Canada:
Fascinating, good stuff!
Intermittent fasting has been proven to be a worthy part of our personal dietary protocol. Additionally, the 16/8 version is easy to incorporate into a busy lifestyle as a sustainable life practice.
According to health guru Dave Asprey, humans are built to fast. It may be worth considering as part of your personal health care practice. If you are interested in learning more about this type of fasting, I suggest reading The Warrior Diet by Ori Hofmekler, and by reviewing the various articles and podcasts available online.
Make your own decisions based on the facts. Learn how to select good groceries (this is vital) and then follow your instincts!
If this post has impacted your life in some small manner, feel free to share!
Keep in mind that fasting of any kind is not starvation. It is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. I highly recommend consulting with your doctor prior to trying intermittent fasting. If you have medical concerns, always consult with your doctor prior to beginning any type of dietary restriction regime.