Metabolic Health and How Intermittent Fasting Supports It

Colorful food and cutlery arranged in the form of a clock on a plate. Intermittent fasting concept.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a dietary practice that involves alternating periods of fasting and eating. Although it has been used for religious and cultural reasons for centuries, it has gained widespread popularity in recent years as a tool for weight loss, improved metabolic health, and longevity.

Metabolic health refers to the state of the body’s metabolism, which is the process of converting food into energy. Good metabolic health is characterized by stable blood sugar levels, no insulin resistance, and a healthy body composition. Intermittent Fasting has been shown to support metabolic health in several ways, including:

  1. Reduced insulin resistance: Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance occurs when cells in the body become less responsive to insulin, which can lead to high blood sugar levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that IF can improve insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
  1. Increased fat burning: During periods of fasting, the body is forced to use stored fat for energy. This can help promote weight loss and improve metabolic health by reducing excess body fat, which is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  1. Reduced inflammation: Inflammation is a natural immune response that helps protect the body from infection and injury. However, chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Studies have shown that IF can reduce inflammation markers in the body, improving overall metabolic health.
  1. Improved mitochondrial function: Mitochondria are the energy-producing organelles in cells. Poor mitochondrial function has been linked to several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
  1. Improved insulin sensitivity – Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance, which is a key driver of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, occurs when the body’s cells become resistant to insulin’s effects. Intermittent fasting can improve insulin sensitivity by reducing insulin levels during the fasting periods, which allows the body to become more efficient at using insulin when it is present.
  1. Decreased inflammation – Chronic inflammation is a key contributor to many chronic diseases, including metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Intermittent fasting can help decrease inflammation by reducing oxidative stress and improving the body’s antioxidant defenses.
  1. Increased autophagy – Autophagy is a natural process in which the body’s cells break down and recycle damaged or dysfunctional proteins and cellular components. Autophagy has been shown to play a key role in maintaining metabolic health by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation. Intermittent fasting can increase autophagy by inducing a mild stress response that triggers the process.
  1. Improved mitochondrial function – Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell, responsible for producing energy in the form of ATP. Impaired mitochondrial function is associated with a range of metabolic disorders, including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Intermittent fasting can improve mitochondrial function by increasing the number and efficiency of mitochondria in the cells.
  1. Reduced oxidative stress – Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the body’s antioxidant defenses. Excessive oxidative stress can contribute to the development of many chronic diseases, including metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative stress by improving the body’s antioxidant defenses and reducing the production of ROS.

Intermittent fasting (IF) has been gaining popularity as a way to lose weight and improve overall health. However, the benefits of IF go beyond weight loss. IF can support metabolic health by improving insulin sensitivity, reducing inflammation, and promoting cellular repair.

In conclusion, intermittent fasting has several potential benefits for metabolic health, including improved insulin sensitivity, decreased inflammation, increased autophagy, improved mitochondrial function, and reduced oxidative stress. 

Cynthia Thurlow is a Nurse Practitioner, 2x TEDx speaker, podcast host, author, and Intermittent Fasting expert; her book, Intermittent Fasting Transformation is designed specifically for women, this individualized six-week intermittent fasting program is the sustainable solution to help you feel and look your absolute best. Based on the scientifically proven 16:8 fasting model, what makes this program unique is that it is geared toward your hormonal needs at every stage in life–whether you are cycling or in perimenopause, menopause, or beyond.

Please note that intermittent fasting may not be appropriate for everyone, especially those with certain medical conditions or a history of disordered eating. As with any dietary strategy, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting intermittent fasting.


Thurlow C. (2023) Intermittent Fasting Transformation. 

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Picture of Cynthia Thurlow, NP

Cynthia Thurlow, NP

Cynthia Thurlow is a nurse practitioner, author of the best-selling book Intermittent Fasting Transformation: IF45,2x TEDx speaker, with her second talk having more than 10 million views, and the host of Everyday WellnessPodcast.

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