Since a few years intermittent fasting has gained traction for its incredible effects on disease and aging. But does it really work or is it worth the effort? In this blog article, we’ll walk you through the process an give you some insider tips straight from our experts. Let’s begin.
What is intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is the process of cycling periods of eating and fasting. This type of fasting aids weight loss, but it is less of a diet plan and more of a lifestyle choice that reaps you some incredible health benefits.
There are different intermittent fasting methods. These are:
- Eating in the ratio of 5:2: This method of intermittent eating allows you to eat normally five days a week and fast for the other two days. However, you need to keep it just between 500 and 600 calories.
- Eat-stop-eat cycle: In this method, you stop taking food for 24 hours, once or twice a week.
- 16/8: This is the most popular method where you eat all of your daily calories within a shortened period — typically 6 to 8 hours — and fast for the remaining 14 to 16 hours. You can do this every day, or a few times a week.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
When you don’t eat any food for a set period of time each day, you do your body and your brain a whole lot of good. It makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint when people weren’t eating three square meals a day. Instead, humans evolved in situations where there wasn’t much food, and they learned to thrive when fasting.
Switching to an intermittent fasting diet expands your limits and boosts your performance in a number of ways. Here are some of the powerful benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Boosts weight loss
- Increases energy
- Promotes cellular repair
- Reduces insulin resistance and protects against type 2 diabetes
- Lowers bad cholesterol
- Promotes longevity
- Protects against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
- Improves memory and boosts brain function
- Makes cells more resilient
How to do intermittent fasting?
There are no guidelines or nutritional suggestions for “days” when eating is restricted. But physicians and dieticians suggest eating a nutrient-dense diet full of plants and protein to tide you over through fasting periods.
To understand IF, you have to first understand what happens when you eat.
Insulin is a hormone that’s released when we eat, but it isn’t meant to be released all the time. Intermittent fasting is simply letting your insulin level go down to normal so that you unlock your fat stores. Typically you can’t lose any weight unless they get that insulin level down. Which is why eating very small meals throughout the day doesn’t really help with weight loss.
The science behind intermittent fasting is same as that of exercise. During exercise, there’s a stress on the cells. They don’t grow and get bigger during the exercise but in the resting period. In intermittent fasting, like the resting period, the cells go in kind of a stress-resistance mode. And then when you eat, they’ve prepared themselves to quickly take up nutrients, proteins, and grow.
How to Get Started
When first trying IF, the transition can be challenging.
Initially you may feel uncomfortable, and even get painful hunger pangs as they abstain from food. It is suggested that you take it slow, trying different kinds of IF to see what works with their goals and routine. You can take the “feeding window” from an initial unrestricted period down to 12 hours, then 10 hours, then eight hours, before finding a feeding window that is sustainable.
To make fasting manageable, experts suggests that you can take an overnight fast, which can more easily fit into people’s routines. Research shows that restricting eating to daytime hours, an approach that aligns eating patterns with circadian rhythms, has been shown to have metabolic and weight loss benefits.
What Are the Risks of Intermittent Fasting?
Some dieticians warn that ignoring hunger cues can have unforeseen consequences.
Anyone with a history of disordered eating patterns should consult a health professional to confirm that IF is right for them.
One systematic review published in the journal Stress in 2016, found that IF may initially increase stress levels of fasters. The increase may subside after a few weeks of fasting. Other research says IF could cause greater metabolic fluctuations and increased appetite on non-fasting days relative to intermittent energy restriction, a diet that allows some food.
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