Intermittent fasting means setting a period of time when you do not eat. This allows the body to better metabolize food and can help patients lose weight. It may have other benefits, too, such as decreasing cancer risk, managing autoimmune diseases and even adding years to a person’s life.
Our eating patterns differ from those of our ancestors’. They likely went for long periods without food. They ate their largest meal closer to mid-day and went to bed early. Sometimes, they had little food to survive on. For many of us, food is plentiful, always available, and most of what we eat is processed. We are more sedentary than our ancestors, and we sleep less and eat more food, more often.
Intermittent fasting is really about getting our eating in-line with our circadian rhythms, the physical, mental and behavioral changes in our bodies that follow a daily cycle. These rhythms are most influenced by daylight. Irregular rhythms have been linked to obesity, sleep disorders, diabetes and depression. It actually matters when we eat. Not just what we eat, or how much.
Excerpted from Massachusetts General Hospital