Intermittent fasting, a type of diet that is growing in popularity, may have other health benefits aside from weight loss, such as improved blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.

Different types of diets, such as the Nordic diet and the keto diet, provide people with different benefits including better health and prevention of seizures. Intermittent fasting, meanwhile, is focused on weight loss, but apparently also provides other benefits.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting, also known simply as IF, requires people to abstain from eating food for certain amounts of time. The two most popular methods are 16:8, which requires 16 hours without calories followed by eight hours of normal eating, and 5:2, which requires five days of normal eating and two days of only about 500 calories over each week.

Intermittent fasting is growing in popularity because, on the hours or days where normal eating is allowed, people can eat whatever they want. There is no need to count calories or avoid certain types of food during those times.

Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

Despite having no restriction on what kind of food to eat under intermittent fasting, the diet has been shown to be just as effective in leading to weight loss compared to traditional diets.

A new study revealed that intermittent fasting also results in other benefits. Researchers arrived at these findings by giving people just enough calories to prevent weight loss under intermittent fasting.

"We found that there were benefits to this approach that were completely independent of losing weight," said lead researcher Courtney Peterson, an assistant professor of nutrition science from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The study started with 400 interested participants, but due to its rigorous nature that required researchers to oversee everything that the subjects consumed, they were left with eight men.

While the study was small, its results were positive. After intermittent fasting of five weeks, all eight men showed improvements in both blood pressure and insulin sensitivity, which is the body's response to sugar.

Peterson noted that the participants who started with the worst insulin sensitivity showed the biggest improvements. In addition, many of the men showed blood pressure decline of about 10 to 11 points, which is similar to taking blood pressure reduction medicine.

Risks Of Intermittent Fasting

As with any diet, some studies also show that there are risks associated with intermittent fasting. According to a group of scientists from Brazil, intermittent fasting may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes due to the formation of damaging free radicals in the body.

People who are looking at intermittent fasting as a possible weight loss method should also know the risks associated with the diet before they proceed.

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