“Intermittent fasting increases the rate of autophagy [cell recycling] and, therefore, decreases the amount of inflammation in the body,” says Jamal Uddin, Ph.D., a co-author of the study. “This in turn lets the immune system more efficiently spend its resources fighting off illness.”
In a nutshell, the extended calorie drought prompts your body to look for a refuel by converting damaged cells into nutrients, which reduces inflammation caused by those cells, says Herman Pontzer, Ph.D., the author of Burn (Buy It, $20, amazon.com), a new look at metabolism.
The Math Behind Fasting: What time frame triggers this calorie-restricted signal to the body? An earlier analysis of intermittent fasting in the New England Journal of Medicine found that fitting meals into six-or eight-hour windows (say, from noon to 6 p.m. or 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) is beneficial in reducing inflammation compared with a typical day of eating, but a 12-hour window is less so, says Mark Mattson, Ph.D., a coauthor of the study.
Excerpted from Shape