11 Proven Benefits of Fasting (No. 1 is Our Favorite)

Intermittent Fasting is becoming one of the hottest trends in the fitness industry today and for good reason. There are numerous health benefits of fasting and reasons why it may work for you.

The only problem?

There is quite a negative stigma associated with “not eating.”

People are still stuck in the mindset that eating 6 meals a day strokes some magical “metabolic fire” and helps burn more calories.

It doesn’t (studies).

What you’re left with is an incredible resource with tons of health benefits you’re going to love.

The benefits below are for both types of fasting: intermittent fasting (up to 16 hours – usually while you’re sleeping and through breakfast) and the 24 hour-method (not eating for 24 hours at a time).

11 Proven Benefits of Fasting

1. Helps you lose weight
Most people who try intermittent fasting do so to lose weight.

The good news: Fasting is a great resource for shedding a few pounds.

Not only does it help you naturally eat fewer calories, but when compared to calorie restriction diets, intermittent fasting has proven to be more effective (study).

2. Enhances the body’s resistance to stress
Chronic stress has been associated:

  • Heart Disease
  • Premature Aging
  • Poor Skin Quality
  • And just about every major disease known to man.

The good news? Fasting can help!

Multiple studies have shown that using intermittent fasting helps to enhance the body’s resistance to harmful stress (study, study). It helps to fight free radicals by improving the body’s protective chemicals.

3. May help prevent cancer
A bold claim, right?

I thought so until I saw the evidence behind it. The best study so far behind this claim is the positive effects fasting has on those going through chemotherapy.

People who received 4 cycles of chemo used 48-hour fasting protocols to minimize side effects.

Shockingly enough, the only negative side effects reported were lightheadedness and hunger (study).

That’s not all.

Various animal studies have also shown positive effects including:

  • Better survival rates (study).
  • Blunting tumor growth (study).

4. Improves brain function
The nerves and synapses in our brains are important to care for. The more efficient they are, the better.

Fasting has been shown to increase the growth of new nerve cells in the brain (study).

This will improve how your brain functions.

Cool right?

Well, it’s not just that. It also increases the production of the brain protein (BDNF). This protein protects against Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s (study)!

5. Improves your immune system

Intermittent fasting can help keep the body from getting sick. By reducing inflammation, the body becomes more resistant to common illnesses (study, study).

So, fewer colds and a stronger immune system! Sounds good right?

Not only does fasting improve health in the short-term, but the long-term as well…

6. Increases lifespan
Can fasting help you live longer? Basic studies in mice say so. Intermittent fasting in rats extends their natural lifespan (study).

In some cases, rats that fasted lived up to 83% longer than those that didn’t (study).

Although unproven in humans (we live for a long time to study), intermittent fasting is a good place to start if longevity is a goal.

7. Helps to clear skin and get rid of acne
Fasting helps the body remove waste, particularly with damaged and dysfunctional cells.

By speeding up the waste removal process (also called autophagy), you will notice improvements in your skin health (study, study).

Clearer and healthier looking skin.

8. Significantly raises growth hormone levels
Growth hormone is a popular topic in the “sport science” culture. When professional athletes get caught using performance-enhancing drugs, growth hormone is usually on the list.

This is because it has so many benefits:

  • Reduces recovery time from injuries
  • Better lean muscle growth
  • Greater fat burning
  • And a smattering of other benefits

The crazy thing is: Intermittent fasting has been shown to raise growth hormone by up to 2000% (study)!

8. Helps the body maintain lean muscle tissue when dieting

Lean muscle tissue = More burned calories at rest.

The problem is that when losing weight, muscle tissue is often lost. Intermittent fasting causes less muscle lost than a typical calorie restriction diet (study).

More fat burning and less muscle burning!

10. Lowers the risk of deadly diseases
Heart disease and obesity are the big killers in modern culture.

Intermittent fasting helps with these too:

  • Lowers blood pressure (study).
  • Decreases cardiovascular disease risk (study).
  • Improves cholesterol levels (study).

Which we think are good things…

Finally, a big problem in today’s culture is that we have become very insulin resistant. Thankfully fasting also helps with this…

11. Improves insulin sensitivity
By making the body more insulin sensitive, it gets better nutrient absorption from the foods you eat.

Particularly with carbohydrates.

Most of today’s society has become very insulin resistant without even knowing it. It is also a big reason I talk about doing a carbohydrate detox when trying to lose weight.

During a fast, insulin is reduced by 20-31% (study).

This is very beneficial to those who are looking to lose weight or who have pre-diabetes/diabetes. This also helps to facilitate better fat burning.