Eli5: Can someone break down the health benefits of intermittent fasting and why it’s gaining in popularity? How can NOT eating regular meals be healthy?


Eli5: Can someone break down the health benefits of intermittent fasting and why it’s gaining in popularity? How can NOT eating regular meals be healthy?

In: Biology

The theory of diets is relatively simple: reduce the number of calories that you eat, while making sure you still get your vitamins and other necessary nutrients.

Unfortunately, the “eat less” part is very difficult; hunger is a very basic need, present in all animals, and it’s very strong, difficult to resist. With a “regular meal” diet you’ll have food in front of you regularly, and you’re trying to eat less, so that means you’ll be hungry with food in front of you regularly. That’s hard.

With intermittent fasting, if you skip lunch or even all day, you’re MORE hungry while you’re fasting, but at least there’s no food in front of you, and you can keep busy with work or whatever and keep your mind off the hunger.

The three main meals model is not scientifically proven to be good or bad. It’s a product of culture, not medicine. Basically the government started saying, “Eat breakfast grow big and healthy” around the 1920’s. If you look at US agricultural trends, this coincided with the boom of grain production and industrial farming in the US, so what’s an easy way to get people to eat more grains, eggs, and meats? Make another meal seem like it’s important for your health. Lunch is a product of the industrial revolution and more specifically a result of Ford’s 40 hour work week, where working men needed hearty meals halfway through the workday. Dinner is dinner, and a late night meal makes generally the most sense out of any of those three meals (if you spent the day hunting prey or gathering food, you would eat the food when you’re exhausted at the end of the day).

the endocrine theory of weight loss involves reducing insulin in order to promote that weight loss as insulin enables anabolic (building) processes. Since you don’t eat while fasting, you don’t get any carbs, so you don’t raise insulin.

For type 2 diabetics or pre diabetics, it’s a super easy way to help your body regain insulin sensitivity.

As someone else had mentioned it’s also very natural. I’ve noticed I feel more energetic when I am fasting. Which to me makes sense to me as thousands of years ago, meals did not just show up at 7-12-19h.

Easy start point. Pack beef jerky/nuts then off to work you go. When you feel real hunger, eat. To many times we eat because of the clock, and not because we are hungry. I started with skipping breakfast. Then noticed I was eating lunch later and later. Dinner started to make me feel too full. Now I ether eat to small meals, Or one normal Dinner.

The most important points are anabolic vs. catabolic pathways in the body. Anabolic means building up, and catabolic means breaking down. Eating food, obviously, tells your body to start building stuff like fat and muscle.

When you give your body lots of time to break stuff down, it becomes more efficient and recycles more unhealthy cells. It gives the body more time to repair damage done to it, especially to the digestive track.