The Science Benefits of Intermittent fasting


This year we’re committed to sharing even more practical tips and expert advice with our wellness community to help you start making the big health and wellbeing changes NOW.

We’re kicking things off with a topic that is most researched amongst our wellbeing resources and the question I am most frequently asked, what do I think about intermittent fasting?

So today I’m going to explore the practise of intermittent fasting or time restricted diet as it is often referred to.

Intermittent fasting (IF)has become very popular in recent years, but is this just the latest fad diet?

Fasting is an ancient practise that dates back as far as we have records. Ancient buddist and Hindu’s have fasted on a weekly, monthly basis as a means to cleansing the body to prevent and heal autoimmune conditions naturally.

If we look back at the diets of our ancestors, they ate nutrient dense foods that satisfied their hunger and would sometimes go longer periods of time without food due to little access and storage.

Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Mark Mattson has studied intermittent fasting for 25 years. He says our bodies have evolved to be able to go without food for many hours, or even several days or longer. In prehistoric times, before humans learned to farm, they were hunters and gatherers who evolved to survive — and thrive — for long periods without eating. They had to: It took a lot of time and energy to hunt game and gather nuts and berries.

Fasting is built into our DNA, and today it’s used to cleanse, detox, heal, and repair our bodies. When practised correctly, fasting is much more than a fad; it’s a way to make you feel good and unlock the body’s natural power to heal, rejuvenation and enjoy longevity in good health.

Our body is actually better at handling times of famine than it is at handling times of feasting. In reality and modern-day living, I think good wellness should have both. It should have times where we are eating very little for a period, and sometimes not at all. 

We might fast for 16 or 18 hours before we consume our next meal. And then times where we are in a sense feasting when we are eating a full day’s calories (I call it feasting since the modern diet probably eats way more than our body actually needs in a day) when we are in a calorie surplus.

When we’re in famine, we’re not consuming as much or for some – nothing at all. What we’re really doing is to instruct the body to break down old, damaged cells and cellular organelles and to become more efficient. In a sense, it tells the body to clean up and repair itself by giving it a break from the regular cycle of eat, digest and repeat…  the break from this gives the body time to cleanse, detox, heal and repair.

When we’re in a time of feasting, it indicates that the body is in a great place for fertility, activating more sex hormones, activating more thyroid hormones to increase our metabolism, and our libido, and to build muscle…So we really should be cycling through periods where we’re in famine, we’re in feasting, we’re in famine, we’re in feasting. That’s when we really get the best benefits of both. We get the cleansing, healing, and repairing, but we also get the muscle tissue production, the proper release and efficiency of sex hormones, proper fertility, proper libido.

Where am I on this practise? 

I am an advocate for IF for several reasons but mostly because I think it’s important to give our bodies a break from the constant cycle of eating. I also think we often eat when really, we are thirsty, and to flush our system through with water at the start of the day is a very good way to keep ourselves revived and hydrated. Research from Harvard suggests that IF is also good for the prevention of diabetes.

If you are new to fasting, then jumping straight into 16 to 18 hours of fasting may feel like too much. Instead start with a 12 hour fast….  Then, if you feel that you want to stretch into 13 or 14 hours – you could also add a little Apple Cider Vinegar water to sip on which will help you to keep the hunger pangs at bay.

When you’re breaking the fast, I would start with something really healthy like an apple or avocado for breakfast. Eating real unprocessed food to start with is a great way to nourish the body and eventually crowd out the kinds of foods we want to cleanse our body of.


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