Intermittent Fasting: Benefits and Best Practices
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
Intermittent Fasting is a dietary tool that involves eating the day’s total calories during certain hours and not eating during the remaining hours.
The benefits of intermittent fasting typically include weight loss and improvements in health markers like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels.
Taking fatty15, a C15:0 supplement, along with caloric restriction, can provide even more health-positive benefits, according to studies.
Certain buzzwords catch our attention in the health and fitness arena, usually because they’re attached to promises of weight loss and an overall healthier life. It’s our job as our own personal health advocates to find out whether or not these buzzwords represent actions we should implement in our lives, and that involves a little research grunt work.
The scientists behind fatty15, the world’s first and only C15:0 supplement, have made it our job to help do this research for you. Together, we’ll unpack what you need to know about time-restricted eating (intermittent fasting) and help you decide whether or not it’s right for you.
We’ll also explain how fatty15 fits into your dietary goals and can help support a healthier, longer-living you.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Before you find yourself completely put off by the term “fasting,” consider this: everyone practices some form of fasting. You are fasting from the time you stop eating each day until you start eating the next day. Hence, “breakfast” literally means “to break the fast.”
Intermittent fasting is essentially a leveled-up way of fasting overnight. Practicing intermittent fasting means you observe a certain fasting period (typically between 12 and 16 hours) and consume your calories during a particular eating window.
Many people find it easiest to include the majority of their fasting overnight. This might mean a person finishes eating at 5:00 p.m. and begins eating again at 8:00 a.m., resulting in a 15-hour fast. However, that’s not the only way to practice intermittent fasting.
What Are the Types of Intermittent Fasting?
There are different types of intermittent fasting. The above method is a great way to introduce yourself to fasting, and most people find it easier to practice “fasting” overnight. However, there are other ways that intermittent fasting is practiced.
Alternate-Day Fasting (ADF)
With alternate-day fasting, calories are restricted on fasting days to approximately 30% of a person’s total caloric intake. On non-fasting days (the days between fasting days), the person consumes the full recommended caloric intake for their particular age and gender.
For instance, a person who generally consumes 2,000 calories daily would eat only 600 calories every other day.
The eat-stop-eat method of intermittent fasting is often practiced as more of a dietary reset. Some people use this tool if they've consumed much more than their total caloric goal for the day, say at a celebration or during a holiday.
Eat-stop-eat refers to a total fast from any caloric intake for a period of 24 hours, followed by a normal caloric intake the following day.
The 5:2 approach refers to fasting on two days out of every five by restricting calories to approximately 30% of your total calorie goal on these two days.
One Meal a Day
The one-meal-a-day fast is exactly what it sounds like. For this type of fast, a person will consume their total caloric intake in one meal eaten once per day. This type of fasting is heavily controversial because it’s debatable whether a person can consume the necessary calories for survival during one single meal.
There are other types of time-restricted feeding, but these are the most common types of fasting plans observed by practitioners of intermittent fasting. Now, let’s take a look at why someone might practice this type of eating plan.
What Are the Benefits and Effects of Intermittent Fasting?
Even though you may have just discovered intermittent fasting in your social media feed, it’s not new. In fact, it’s been around since the early 1900s. As such, we’ve got decades of research to rely on to determine the actual health benefits associated with this type of eating pattern.
In fact, there are hundreds of studies in both humans and animals that show the benefits of this type of calorie restriction. However, it’s important to note that these studies are primarily based on intermittent fasting over a short period.
Although not considered the main health benefit of intermittent fasting, studies show that a known benefit of intermittent fasting is weight loss. Although calorie restriction is a key component of weight loss, it’s thought that intermittent fasting produces weight loss because the body switches to using ketones for fuel instead of glucose during long periods of fasting.
Improved Blood Pressure
Cardiovascular health is a major concern in the United States, as heart disease is still the number one killer of American adults. Improving blood pressure numbers can help protect heart health and reduce risk factors for heart attack and stroke. Intermittent fasting is continually linked with reduced blood pressure and a lower resting heart rate.
Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes are both underlined by the body’s inability to produce enough insulin to keep up with the amount of sugar in the blood and the resistance of cells to uptake the glucose in the bloodstream. Insulin resistance, if left untreated, leads to type 2 diabetes.
While the exact mechanism that causes someone’s body to become insulin-resistant is unknown, two factors are directly associated with it: obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. One of the most promising benefits of intermittent fasting is a decrease in insulin resistance and an overall reduction in adipose tissue (fat loss).
In one meta-analysis of intermittent fasting studies, researchers found that, compared to other diets, intermittent fasting better resulted in reducing fat mass and waist circumference without reducing lean mass.
A surprising benefit of fasted calorie intake is cognitive improvement. One form of intermittent fasting was found to help improve cognitive performance in elderly adults with mild cognitive impairment compared to other types of diets or the lack of any structured diet at all.
With so many benefits, it may be time to consider a fasting diet for yourself, but keep in mind these results are based on the short-term use of intermittent fasting.
Know Before You Go (Without Food)
Before you start picking the days of the week you want to fast, here are a few “fast facts” to keep in mind.
- A calorie restriction of 1,000-1,500 calories is not considered healthy long-term. The recommended calorie consumption for the average adult is 2,000 calories. While you can certainly use 2,000 calories in intermittent fasting, it’s important to remember that number if you begin intermittent fasting with a low-calorie component.
- Calorie restriction, sometimes referred to as energy restriction, can be triggering to people who have or have had eating disorders. This is an important and sometimes fatal health condition that should be thoroughly discussed with your healthcare provider before beginning any type of diet.
- Healthy eating involves getting plenty of vitamins and nutrients into your body. During your eating window, it’s important to fill your plate(s) with healthy foods that are nutrient-dense.
- If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have certain health conditions, you should discuss your desire to practice intermittent fasting with a doctor prior to beginning.
You might experience some side effects with intermittent fasting, especially when you first begin. Headaches, digestive issues, and tiredness are all commonly experienced during the fasting period, especially during the first few days of fasting.
If you’re looking for other ways to improve your health, reduce your body mass index (BMI), and improve health markers like your HbA1C and cholesterol, look no further than pentadecanoic acid.
What Is Pentadecanoic Acid?
Pentadecanoic acid, also known as C15:0, is an odd-chain, saturated fatty acid that is essential for the body. That means the body needs it to thrive but can’t readily make it on its own. Although we have been told that all saturated fats are bad for us, science now supports that that is not the case.
Science supports that higher levels of odd-chain saturated fatty acids are associated with better heart health. In fact, higher circulating levels of C15:0 have been repeatedly associated with healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
It’s even been associated with lower liver fat levels. How does it work? By digging deep into the foundational pieces of our bodies that control every aspect of our health: our cells.
The Cellular Health Component
Cellular health, or the health of the cells that make up our bodies, is critical for maintaining our wellness. When our cells are healthy, we are healthy. C15:0 can bolster cellular health and impact it in such a way as to quite literally reverse cellular aging.
C15:0 reverses cellular aging by:
- Keeping cell membranes strong. The membranes that give our cells their shape and keep them protected can become flimsy and weak with age. C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that integrates into cell membranes to fortify them and keep them strong. In studies, C15:0 improved cellular strength by 80%.
- Clearing damaged cells. Not-so-fun fact: Some cells in our bodies lose their function but never die. Like some sort of apocalyptic zombie cells, these cells cause inflammation and toxicity in the body. C15:0 activates a molecule known as AMPK, the body’s clean-up molecule. By activating AMPK, C15:0 helps clear these damaged cells and significantly reduces the levels of proinflammatory cytokines found in the body.
- Rescuing failing mitochondria. The mitochondria of the cells are responsible for giving cells their energy, but with age, mitochondria become sluggish, producing less ATP (cellular energy) and producing more ROS (reactive oxygen species that are inflammatory to the cell). C15:0 supports mitochondria by helping decrease ROS by 45% and increasing ATP. In one peer-reviewed study, C15:0 was shown to increase ATP levels in cells by 350%.
- Restoring whole body homeostasis. By activating AMPK and special receptors called PPARɑ and PPARẟ, C15:0 has been shown in peer-reviewed studies to support metabolic, immune, heart, and liver health in relevant models. These receptors also help to improve mood and deepen sleep.
C15:0, combined with a dietary tool like intermittent fasting, can help you make the changes in your health markers that both you and your doctor want to see.
Fatty15: The C15:0 Solution
In addition to your dietary changes, a C15:0 supplement just makes sense. You see, C15:0 is found primarily in whole-fat milk and full-fat dairy products. Not a regular consumer of whole milk? That’s not surprising. Dietary guidelines have been telling us to avoid whole milk for an entire decade.
Even if we were to increase our intake of whole milk and full-fat butter, we wouldn't be doing ourselves any healthy favors. While the good C15:0 fatty acid is present in whole-fat dairy products in trace levels, there are much higher levels of “bad” even-chain saturated fatty acids that continue to be associated with poorer health.
That is why studies evaluating the effects of milk on our health are mixed (some say dairy fat is bad for us, while others say it is good for us). In addition, consuming animal-based products isn’t quite vegan-friendly, which makes getting this essential nutrient even harder. Plant-based milks, which vegans and non-vegans alike enjoy consuming, are completely void of C15:0.
A solution? Fatty15.
Fatty15 is the world’s first C15:0 supplement, which doctors and scientists developed to support your long-term health. Fatty15 contains only a single ingredient: a pure, bioavailable, sustainable, vegan-friendly, award-winning C15:0 powder.
By taking fatty15 once a day, you’ll skip the cows and the calories and still get the essential fatty acid your body needs to thrive.
If you’re interested in trying a new diet, talk to your doctor first. Then, consider boosting your lifestyle changes with the only supplement that contains the pure C15:0 that your cells need to thrive. Fatty15 is an easy way to support your health goals and enjoy a longer, healthier life.
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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