Intermittent fasting (IF) is a very popular health and fitness trend all over the world. People have been trying it out and are amazed by the results that they’ve seen and the impact it has on their body. Many studies have shown promising results of intermittent fasting for weight loss and well for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a type of eating pattern in which you eat and fast. It has no dietary restrictions instead the time you eat is the important. This is why it is not a diet but an eating pattern. Intermittent fasting is nothing new, fasting has been practiced all over the world in the past due to food scarcity and also as part of a religious ritual or for spiritual reasons. Due to this humans as species have the tendency to function without food for extended period of time.
Intermittent fasting methods
There are many different types of intermittent fasting methods, it all comes down to your own personal preference and what works best for you. During these fasting periods you can have less than 50 calories in your non eating window.
- 16\8 method: This one is the most popular. It has an eating window of 8 hours and you fast for 16 hours. For example: 2 to 10pm. This fasting is very simple all you have to do is not eating anything after dinner and skip breakfast .The time can be shifted according to your lifestyle all that matters is you maintain an 8 hour eating window. You can drink water, tea and coffee. Just keep in mind your tea or coffee should be unsweetened. You can add a splash of milk or cream if you desire. These will definitely help suppress your hunger and help in your fast.
- 5:2 diet: In this you basically eat normally for 5 days and go on a calorie restrictive diet of 500-600 calories for 2 days.
- Eat Stop Eat: It involves fasting once or twice a week. Example you start your fast after dinner and maintain it till the dinner next day. During this fast you can have zero-caloric beverages but no food.
- Alternate-day fasting: In this you have to fast every other day. A full day fast may be quite extreme for beginners so it preferable to reduce your calories to 500 on fasting days. This eating pattern is not sustainable in the longer run.
- Warrior diet: it involves eating small amounts of food during the day and a huge meal at night. It’s like you fast the entire day and feast at night.
- Spontaneous meal skipping: This is pretty self-explanatory you can skip a certain meal anytime of the day and eat healthy in both of your other meals. You can practice spontaneous skipping of meals every other day.
Impact of intermittent fasting on your body
Intermittent fasting is known for its health benefits from weight loss to lower risk of diabetes and cancer.
- Weight loss: Intermittent fasting is very effective for weight loss. It helps lower insulin levels during your fasting period as you are not consuming any food. Your energy is consumed by the cells for daily activities. Repeating this process will aid in weight loss as you will have a fewer caloric intake.
- Lower risk of diabetes: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of diabetes so for that intermittent fasting is a great way to prevent it. Reducing fat will lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Heart health: Intermittent fasting helps reduce blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol levels and keeps your heart health in check.
- Risk of cancer: It can delay onsets of tumor and reduce risk of cancer. Intermittent fasting reduces insulin level and inflammation. Obesity can also link to cancer, but being on intermittent fasting you start losing fat and improve your health.
- Brain health: Change in eating patterns help increase your brain hormone BDNF and aid in growth of nerve cells
Who should avoid intermittent fasting?
Although there are a lot of benefits of intermittent fasting but we should keep in mind that it not for everyone. People with eating disorders should consult a health professional before starting it. Women on menstrual period and those who have fertility issues should be careful and also must consult a health professional. This eating pattern is not a good idea it your pregnant or breast feeding.
Side effects of intermittent fasting
Being hungry as you will have a lower caloric intake. You may feel dizzy but that is temporary as your body is trying to settle in with your new eating patterns.
Consult a health professional if you have diabetes, low blood pressure, are underweight, eating disorders, trying to conceive, pregnant or breast feeding.
Besides that intermittent fasting is safe as it only lowering you’re eating window. You just have to know if it make you feel good and that you can take it along in the long run. Use it as a tool to aid in your weight loss journey and to improve your health.