Since the 1930’s, animal studies have been telling us that restricting calories improves health and longevity. For many decades, most believed that it was necessary to “starve yourself” to reap the benefits. Recent science has shown us, however, that you can actually trim your waistline, improve your biomarkers of health, and increase your longevity without the pain, suffering, and hunger that comes along with restriction. Intermittent Fasting works, too.
Fasting and feasting keeps us lean largely because it forces the body to metabolize fat for energy more efficiently. And by limiting spikes in blood sugar because there’s no incoming food to digest, your insulin sensitivity can improve dramatically. Another benefit of fasting and feasting: by eating less often, it gives the opportunity for our bodies to repair themselves, without being distracted by needing to digest food. The result is less inflammation, more muscle growth, and of course, more fat mobilization. Studies support that fasting then feasting, or having less frequent meals, doesn’t decrease your metabolism. And eating every few hours, including breakfast, doesn’t increase your metabolism, either. Hunter-gatherer meal patterns, with large dinners and little to eat during the day, seem more natural. That’s why skipping breakfast often comes so easily.
Some studies also show that breakfast boosts hunger throughout the day. I can vouch for that. I tend not to get hungry until I start eating. They’ve found that cortisol is the main culprit. It’s highest in the morning as a normal process of getting you to wake up and prepare you for the day ahead. Often called “circadian cortisol,” the urge to eat in the morning can actually be a response to cortisol flooding our system and not because we are actually hungry. Simply, when you have high levels of cortisol and eat, you’re likely to experience an insulin spike and a decrease in insulin sensitivity. That’s why you might be starving a mere 1-2 hours after breakfast