[idea]In the last few decades, the nutritional dogma has been about emphasising small & frequent meals throughout the day. Recent research shows that those who eat less are generally healthier, with improved metabolic health, cognition and live longer than those who eat more. Intermittent fasting is based on the principle of alternating between periods of eating and fasting. Intermittent Fasting is practiced in several ways including periodic multi day fasts to skipping a meal or two on certain days of the week. Most of us already fast every day, while we sleep. Simply extending this fast is referred to as Intermittent fasting. One way of doing this is by having your first meal at noon and last meal at 8 p.m in the evening, thus going on an 18 hours fast every day.[/idea]
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From an evolutionary perspective, fasting and food deprivation is one of the factors that could have attributed to the optimal performance of the human brain. Evolution favoured the selection pressure of those individuals who were adept in acquiring food from the limited food sources. Recent research demonstrates the beneficial effect of intermittent fasting and vigorous exercise on brain health. The fact is, until recently, humans did not have guaranteed food supply and may have had to struggle to obtain food for survival. During the course of thousands of years, we have developed the “genetic” ability to use calories wisely and to survive for periods of time without food. This genetic ability is what enables “slow” calorie burning and calorie storage for long periods of time in most people. This is why most people have a tendency to become obese upon consuming excessive food. Our bodies were not built in an environment of excessive food, rather the lack of it.
From that point of view, “simulated” fasting acts to prime the body to a state of calorie deficit, which has been shown by many studies to have several beneficial effects, some of which are listed above. Intermittent Fasting can be performed in a number of ways and it is controversial whether one way is better than others. In some forms, some foods are allowed while some others advise complete fasting. The duration and timings also differ. Given this, one can experiment with a schedule that works best for them. Some suggestions are given below.