Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash
You might have seen the phrase ‘calorie restriction’ pop up in different places, and wondered what it means. Well, there’s quite a good case for how it might improve your overall lifespan.
Calorie restriction, also known as intermittent fasting, is a simple method of timing out when you eat and when you don’t eat (aka ‘fast’) in order to change the energy balances in your body in such a way that improves your health.
Long-term consistent calorie restriction schedules are shown to statistically increase lifespan. So if one of your goals is related to longevity, then fasting is a pretty good practice to try and start.
In terms of popularity, there are two main intermittent fasting schedules: 16/8 and 5/2. 16/8 is based on a daily schedule (fast for 16 hours, eat for 8) whereas 5/2 is based on a weekly schedule (fast for 2 days, eat for 5).
In addition to improving your longevity, there’s a couple of other bonuses to calorie restriction as well:
On the other hand, fasting has also been shown to help burn fat. This is less statistically significant than the longevity point, but for some people it can have really good effects. We recommend tying it up with regular cardio exercise and BCAA supplementation for maximum fat burn potential.
There are some more practical benefits to fasting as well. When I was a busy college student, I rarely had time for lunch in between my classes. Having a fasting schedule added some structure to all that, and made me less hungry overall when noontime came around.
However, that’s not to say that everything about fasting is rosy. There are some downsides as well:
While you’ll become less hungry as you continue the fasting regime, that doesn’t change the fact that when you first start out, you’ll be hungry… a lot. This also depends on how much you typically eat -- those who eat a lot either regularly or irregularly will begin to feel a lot more hungry than they’re used to. A big part of fasting, at the beginning of it, is discipline. This is why.
This is another thing that gets better in the long term but serves as something you’ll have to deal with in the short term. With your body not used to the lack of food you’re eating, its energy levels will begin to go down -- you’ll begin getting tired more easily, and have less motivation to do things. Because of this, it's not recommended to start an IF regime if you’re about to go through something that’s going to be taxing energy-wise, such as a basketball tournament or final exams.
This con isn’t directly related to the body, but it can be seen as a con nonetheless. After going through on an IF regime, expect a lot of rescheduling and missed events with friends or otherwise. This is primarily because that dinner date you had planned for Thursday is now not going to work out. Getting everyone else to work to your own schedule is always a bit of a bummer, so this is definitely something you’ll want to keep in mind.
If you’re still interested in starting a fast, then you might want to try out our fasting guide on Shanah. Click the link to learn more!