All you need to know about intermittent fasting
Health: Intermittent fasting is not a diet plan, it is a pattern of eating. It is the pattern that switches between fasting and eating at certain intervals of time in the day. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting is a powerful way to manage your weight and prevent or even reverse some diseases.
During intermittent fasting, you only eat for a specific time and fast for the remaining hours of the day. Eating only for certain hours in a day keeps your insulin level in control and helps you burn fat in your body.
Intermittent fasting backend with science
Mark Mattson, who had studied intermittent fasting for over 25 years, says that human bodies are designed in a way to survive for many hours or days even without food. Our early ancestors were hunters and gatherers who evolved to survive even without food for many days and did wild hunting to gather food.
Even 50 years ago it was not a big deal to stay fit. People used to eat small portions of food and only at particular intervals of time. They did not snack in between meals and played outdoor games and hence stayed fit.
But after the invention of computers, people started working, sitting in one place, and playing online games instead of outdoor games. Extra intake of calories and less activity can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses.
So here in this article, let us discuss the benefits that intermittent fasting can possess to your health if you make it a part of your life.
Types of Intermittent fasting
There are many different ways of scheduling intermittent fasting. For instance, some people may eat only during the 8 hours of the day and fast for the remaining hours. Some people might eat only one meal a day for two or three days a week.
Mattson says that after-hours without food the body exhausts the glucose stores and starts burning the fat present in the body. This process is also called metabolic switching.
Intermittent fasting works by burning the fat from your body after using all the calories from your last meal.
How to implement intermittent fasting?
It is very simple to implement intermittent fasting in your daily routine. You can plan from various patterns of intermittent fasting.
You can choose 16/8 hours fasting. This means eating your regular meals in the 8-hour window and fasting for the rest of the 16 hours in the day. This is a very popular intermittent fasting pattern and many people find it comfortable to implement in their daily routine for the long run.
You can also try the 5:2 approach, which means eating regularly for five days a week and limiting your meals to 500 to 600 cal meals for the other two days. To restrict your calorie intake, you should have only one meal for those two days.
There are other intermittent fasting patterns like 24 hours, 36 hours, 48 hours, and 72 hours periods. But it is not a good idea to make your body starve for long hours.
Remaining too long without eating may increase your body to start storing more fat in response to starvation.
According to the Mattson research, it takes at least two to four weeks before your body gets accustomed to intermittent fasting. Initially, you may feel hungry but you can get accustomed to the new routine gradually.
In his study, he observed that many people tend to stick with the plan as they notice that they feel better during the fasting period.
What to eat during intermittent fasting
During the non-eating window, you can consume water and zero-calorie beverages like black coffee, green tea, etc.
When coming to the eating window, you can eat normally of your choice. But it doesn’t mean that you eat high-calorie junk food and fries. It makes you unhealthy and does not help you in losing weight.
You can eat the number of meals in the eating window according to your choice. But mindful eating that is nutritional and healthy helps you to lose weight quickly.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
- The most common benefit of intermittent fasting is burning fat and losing weight. What intermittent fasting does is more than burn fat. Intermittent fasting has benefits for both the body and the brain.
- Intermittent fasting can help you live a longer life and have a leaner body and a sharper mind.
- A body starts cleaning itself during the fasting period and this can help you prevent the occurrence of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, age-related neurodegenerative disorders, and Bowel disorders and cancers.
- Studies have shown that intermittent fasting regulates blood pressure and keeps your heart healthy.
- During the fasting period, the insulin levels drop dramatically and this makes the body use it’s fat more easily. Hence intermittent fasting helps in burning fat by increasing insulin sensitivity.
- Intermittent fasting initiates cellular repair. During cellular repair, the cells in your body digest and remove the old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside them.
- Intermittent fasting increases the levels of growth hormone production in your body to as much as five times more.
How safe is intermittent fasting
Although intermittent fasting has numerous benefits associated with it, it is not for everyone. Some of the categories of people who should not consider trying intermittent fasting are
- Children under the age of 18 years
- Pregnant women or breastfeeding women.
- People who have diabetes and high blood sugar problems.
- People who have a history of eating disorders like bulimia.
Intermittent fasting should be a lifestyle change and it gives many benefits if it is made a part of our daily life.
But make sure to visit your doctor if you face any problems like unusual anxiety, headache, nausea, and other symptoms due to intermittent fasting.