The Science (and Benefits) of Intermittent Fasting

04.09.2018 |

Episode #3 of the course The beginner’s guide to intermittent fasting by Theo Brenner-Roach


Welcome back.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the science behind intermittent fasting and the benefits it can provide.

As fasting has grown in popularity over the years, so has the amount of research being done to study how this way of eating affects the human body.

At this moment in time, much of the existing research for disease prevention has been conducted mostly, if not entirely, in animal trials; as a result, the conclusions must be taken with a pinch of salt, as they would not necessarily have the same effect in humans.

That being said, the results of these studies are as fascinating as they are promising, not to mention the fact that the other benefits (aside from disease prevention) have been proven in humans.

Let’s jump in.

Intermittent fasting improves insulin sensitivity. Improving insulin sensitivity and lowering your insulin levels when fasted helps your body access stored fat for energy more easily. This can lead to an increase in fat burn while you’re in a fasted state. [1]

Intermittent fasting can help protect you against Alzheimer’s. A study conducted in rats showed that IF and calorie restriction used together may both delay the onset of, and reduce the severity of, Alzheimer’s disease. [2]

In addition, a lifestyle intervention program conducted with humans that included short-term fasting proved to be successful at reducing the severity of Alzheimer’s symptoms in nine out of ten of the participants. [3]

Intermittent fasting increases your levels of growth hormone. Growth hormone is naturally produced in the body and works to, among other things, help with fat loss, building muscle, and muscle retention. [4][5][6][7]

Intermittent fasting can help prevent cancer. No human trials have currently been conducted, but animal trials have shown that IF may help prevent cancer. [8][9]

Intermittent fasting speeds up your metabolism. Fasting has been shown to increase metabolism by anything from 3.6% to up to 10%, which may not sound like a lot but can add up over time to result in more fat burned and more weight lost. [10]

Intermittent fasting can help protect against type 2 diabetes. As a result of IF reducing insulin resistance and blood sugar levels, research suggests that it can help protect against the development of type 2 diabetes. [11]

Intermittent fasting reduces your daily calorie intake. A study conducted at the University of Illinois found that those who used a daily fasting setup ate, on average, 300 calories less than those using a traditional diet setup. [12]

This means 2,100 less calories a week and 8,400 less calories a month. This is huge and could spell the difference between no progress and great progress for many people.

As you can see, there are numerous benefits to be gained from using IF.

In tomorrow’s lesson, we go beyond the science and look at how IF can drastically improve your diet adherence, provide huge amounts of nutritional freedom, and generally make your life easier.

Don’t miss it.


Recommended book

Eat Stop Eat: Intermittent Fasting for Health and Weight Loss by Brad Pilon



[1] Alternate-day fasting in nonobese subjects: effects on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism

[2] Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction ameliorate age-related behavioral deficits in the triple-transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease

[3] Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic program

[4] Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man

[5] Augmented growth hormone (GH) secretory burst frequency and amplitude mediate enhanced GH secretion during a two-day fast in normal men

[6] Growth hormone and sex steroid administration in healthy aged women and men: a randomized controlled trial

[7] Effects of human growth hormone in men over 60 years old

[8] Effects of short-term dietary restriction on survival of mammary ascites tumor-bearing rats

[9] Fasting cycles retard growth of tumors and sensitize a range of cancer cell types to chemotherapy

[10] Resting energy expenditure in short-term starvation is increased as a result of an increase in serum norepinephrine

[11] Intermittent fasting vs. daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings

[12] Early study into 16:8 intermittent fasting suggests weight loss benefits


Share with friends