When it comes to anti-aging, you have a lot of options. Approximately 18 million cosmetic surgeries are performed each year in the US alone. But if you want to reduce the signs of aging in your body without going under the knife or paying for expensive treatments, you may want to consider fasting or time-restricted eating.
Before I share how to fast for anti-aging, let’s look at what fasting is and what other benefits you may experience from intermittent or regular fasting.
What Exactly Is Intermittent Fasting?
When you eat food, your body burns it as fuel to keep you going. However, if you consume more food than you need to operate each day, your body stores that energy as excess fat.
Over time, this can lead to obesity and other health problems like high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Intermittent fasting can help. Here’s what you need to know:
- Intermittent fasting is not a diet but rather a dieting pattern.
- Intermittent fasting means you don’t eat anything (or very little) during a specific time interval.
- Intermittent fasting is a way of incorporating anti-aging into your lifestyle.
Intermittent fasting – also known as “time-restricted eating” (TRE) – can be done in several ways. One standard method is 16:8, which involves abstaining from calories for 16 hours of the day and then eating within an 8-hour window. The eating window can occur at any point in the day, but many people choose to eat between around 12 p.m. and 8 p.m (source: Examine.com).
Most people find it easier to keep up with time-restricted eating rather than a “diet” because it doesn’t require you to eat any particular foods — just a specific time each day when you’re eating and one when you aren’t.
Many people are already endeavoring in partial fasting without knowing it. If you sleep continuously for eight hours at night, you’ve technically been on a fast already.
Because there are no rules about what foods to eat during the period of eating, nor any restrictions on portion size (other than basic common sense), this diet is suitable for those who want to lose weight yet can’t bring themselves to commit to strict guidelines like “no sugar” or counting calories.
Time-Restricted Eating as a Treatment for Diseases Linked to Accelerated Aging
Time-restricted eating has been shown to fight off cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. By mimicking calorie restriction, time-restricted eating can positively affect blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Reducing both markers is critical in lowering your risk for circulatory disease, as high blood pressure and high cholesterol can lead to blocked arteries and an increased likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke.
Difference Between Fasting and Time-Restricted Eating
While time-restricted eating refers to a window of time within 24 hours in which you don’t eat, complete fasting means not eating at all during those 24 hours.
Some people do complete fasting for several days in a row, having only water (or perhaps, coffee or tea).
It’s recommended that complete fasting be conducted under the medical supervision of a doctor.
One benefit fasting can have over time-restricted eating is that complete fasting increases autophagy – which helps your body dispose of old cells that may not be functioning correctly – and is possibly effective in slowing down cancer. One theory as to why this happens is that when your body isn’t having to relentlessly focus on digesting food (which requires a lot of time and energy), it can finally focus on other priorities, such as healing.
Can Intermittent Fasting Make You Look Younger?
One of the reasons why time-restricted eating can help you look and feel younger is because it reduces inflammation in your body. Inflammation is a natural response to injury or illness, but when it becomes chronic, cells in the body end up in a constant state of stress.
Does Intermittent Fasting Help with Wrinkles?
Yes, there are several reasons and ways in which time-restricted eating can help with wrinkles. Skin elasticity improves during fasting.
Skin elasticity is a crucial indicator of skin health and refers to how stretchy your skin is.
Due to aging, our skin’s ability to bounce back from being stretched decreases. This is due to reduced fibers in our skin that are responsible for keeping our skin elastic, resulting in sagging and wrinkles.
Benefits of Time-Restricted Eating:
Fasting improves brain health and function.
Fasting can help you:
- improve concentration
- think more clearly
- help manage diabetes symptoms
- improve your mood
- improve mitochondrial efficiency and reduce oxidative stress, leading to a better functioning brain.
When your blood sugar levels are out of whack (too high or too low), it’s bad news for your whole body — especially your brain and heart. High blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes and heart disease, the latter of which is among the two leading causes of death in the US (along with cancer).
Fasting has also been shown to lower insulin levels, which can help you manage your diabetes symptoms.
Some Potentially Unexpected Challenges of TRE and Fasting
Research on time-restricted eating often focuses on its potential benefits for metabolic health, weight management, and circadian rhythms. However, a less commonly discussed aspect is the potential psychological effects of strict TRE.
It’s helpful to recognize the social aspects of time-restricted eating. Tailoring TRE practices to your individual preferences and chronotypes could enhance effectiveness and sustainability.
There are individual differences in chronotype, which refers to an individual’s natural inclination to be more alert and active during particular periods of the day.
While some people may naturally thrive with early time-restricted eating, adhering to a rigid eating schedule may be challenging for those with different chronotypes.
Research suggests that forcing individuals into a specific eating window that does not align with their chronotype may increase stress, disrupt sleep patterns, and negatively impact overall well-being.
This could be particularly relevant for “night owls” individuals who find it challenging to comply with early time-restricted eating recommendations.
Moreover, the social and cultural aspects of eating are integral to our well-being. Strict time-restricted eating may lead to social isolation during meals, as individuals may struggle to synchronize their eating schedules with friends and family. This social component is often overlooked in the discussion of time-restricted eating but plays a role in sustaining long-term adherence to any dietary regimen.
Fasting as a Means of Improving Overall Health
The numerous studies on intermittent fasting suggest that it also improves diabetes management, cardiovascular health, sleep quality, mood regulation, and even cognitive function — all things that can deteriorate with accelerated aging.
There are also other benefits that you should keep in mind concerning fasting; these include:
- lowering your blood pressure
- lowering your cholesterol level
- reducing inflammation in your body
- better control over your blood sugar levels.
According to recent scientific research studies (see sources below this article):
- Individuals who combine the 16:8 method of time-restricted eating along with resistance training in the gym can also still add muscle tone and get stronger.
- Intermittent fasting is well-tolerated by obese people with relatively high adherence rates.
- Overweight people have demonstrated successful weight loss by limiting their eating times within specific windows.
- Typically, those at risk for type 2 diabetes can do time-restricted eating safely and experience metabolic benefits.
You must combine intermittent fasting with a healthy lifestyle if you want these benefits.
Results may vary from person to person based on factors like age and general health before beginning an intermittent fasting regimen; however, many people see positive results in their bodies within weeks.
It’s not a wise decision to fast every day. Just as with everything else in life, it should be done in moderation.
Fasting has rewards for your physique, but you will only receive them if you do it correctly. Fasting on alternate days can be attempted if you wish to fast more often. One day, you fast; the next day, you don’t.
When talking about fasting, it’s important to remember that this isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle change. You will still need to eat healthy foods to maintain good health while fasting.
Research is establishing that fasting and time-restricted eating can reverse visible aging signs in many people when done correctly and consistently.
As always, consult your medical doctor before making any significant changes to your diet.
Sources on Time-Restricted Eating:
Research Study Results on Time-Restricted Eating – https://examine.com/supplements/16-8-intermittent-fasting/research/
Use of the Theory of Reasoned Action in Plastic Surgery – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34267128/
Leading Causes of Death – https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm