Intermittent fasting is nowadays one of the most prominent health and fitness trends in the world. Many studies show that it can have a significant impact on your body and brain, and it may even help you live longer. This fasting technique is being used to help people lose weight, improve their health, and simplify their lives.
Intermittent fasting is a diet that alternates between fasting and eating on a regular basis. It does not clearly state which foods to eat, instead specifying when to eat them.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that alternates between fasting and eating periods. It does not specify which foods to eat, but rather when to eat them.
In this regard, it is not a diet in the conventional sense, but rather an eating pattern.
Common intermittent fasting methods include daily 16-hour fasts or twice-weekly 24-hour fasts.
Fasting has been practised since the start of time. Ancient hunter-gatherers had no supermarkets, refrigerators, or food available all year. They sometimes couldn’t find anything to eat. As a result, individuals evolved to be able to survive for long periods of time without food. In fact, fasting on occasion is more natural than eating 3-4 (or more) meals per day.
Nowadays, television, the internet, and other forms of entertainment are available 24 hours a day. We stay up later to watch our favourite shows, play games and chat online. We’ve spent the entire day — and most of the night — sitting and snacking.
Obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses can be exacerbated by extra calories and decreased activity. According to scientific evidence, intermittent fasting may help reverse these trends.
Types Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting can be done in a variety of ways, all of which involve dividing the day or week into eating and fasting periods. You eat very little or nothing at all during the fasting periods. For example, you could try eating only eight hours a day and fasting the rest of the time. You could also choose to eat only one meal per day two days per week. There are numerous (IF) schedules available.
Time Restrited Intermittent Fasting:
Time-restricted eating entails trying to squeeze your meals and snacks into a few hours and then fasting for the rest of the day. It is the most common strategy to (IF) and is ideal for beginners because getting started is as simple as avoiding late-night snacks and delaying breakfast by a few hours. Isn’t it simple?
Furthermore, water, unsweetened tea, and black coffee are allowed during the fasting period, making you feel less deprived. Another advantage is that time-restricted plans are simple to implement because much of the fasting window syncs with sleeping.
16:8 Intermittent Fasting
Have you ever heard someone who fasts say they don’t eat breakfast or insist on having an early dinner? That’s because they’re most likely on the 16:8 timetable. This plan would require you to fast for 16 hours (usually overnight and then some), followed by an 8-hour eating periods during which you should aim to consume two or three meals.
12:12 Intermittent Fasting
Many first-timers begin by eliminating evening snacks, so that your body starts the fasting process immediately after you finish dinner. Then have breakfast at your regular time.
To progress with this fasting method, delay your breakfast by an hour every day for several days or weeks until you’ve extended your fast to 14 or 16 hours. What’s the big deal about 16 hours? That’s how long it takes for your body to finish burning off any recently consumed carbohydrates before switching to fat burning. It also initiates the process of autophagy, or cellular detoxification and regeneration.
Once you get into a routine, planning your meals around your eating window becomes second nature.
Modified Calorie Intermittent Fasting
Modified-calorie eating plans combine time restrictions with calorie reductions on specific days. The goal is to force your body’s fat-burning mechanisms into overdrive as a lack of ready-to-burn fuel options such as carbohydrates forces it to dig deep into fat cell reservoirs, expending more energy and driving weight loss.
5:2 Intermittent Fasting
This model of the modified calorie plan recommends eating normally five days per week and limiting calorie intake to about 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men on the other two days. While it is not necessary to fast for two days in a row, some experts believe it is more beneficial because it allows your body to be in a fasted state for a longer period of time.
Stop eating after dinner the night before your first reduced-calorie (or fasting) day to try this type of intermittent fasting. During your low-calorie day, you can either eat one large meal of 500 to 600 calories or divide the calories into a few small snacks that add up over the course of the day.
Alternate Day Intermittent Fasting
Alternate-day fasting is similar to the 5:2 diet in that it requires switching between days of regular eating and days of eating only 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men. The goal is to allow your body a full day of rest after eating to allow the health benefits of fasting to take effect.
Follow your normal eating routine for a day to practise alternate-day fasting, keeping in mind healthy choices that include essential nutrition and will help keep you full, such as fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains. On fasting days, you can choose to consume your calorie allowance in one large meal or several smaller snacks.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
According to research, intermittent fasting does more than just burn fat. During intermittent fasting, many things happen that can protect organs from chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, age-related neurodegenerative disorders, even inflammatory bowel disease and many cancers. The benefits of intermittent fasting are listed down.
Weight Loss: By lowering insulin levels, fasting method may promote weight loss.
Carbohydrates are broken down by the body into glucose, which cells use for energy or convert to fat and store for later use. Insulin is a hormone that helps cells absorb glucose. Insulin levels fall when a person does not eat.
It is possible that during a fast, decreased insulin levels cause cells to release their glucose storesc as energy. Weight loss may result from repeating this process on a regular basis, as with intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting can also result in fewer calories consumed overall, which may contribute to weight loss.
Lower Risk For Type 2 Diabetes: Intermittent fasting may also be beneficial for diabetes prevention because it can aid in weight loss and may influence other factors associated with an increased risk of diabetes.
Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes Development
Improved Heart Health: Intermittent fasting increased blood pressure, resting heart rate, and other heart-related measurements. It is also found that intermittent fasting could improve aspects of cardiovascular health.
Obesity: Intermittent fasting managed to prevent obesity in animal studies. In six brief studies, obese adult humans lost weight by fasting intermittently.
Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting
Some people try intermittent fasting to lose weight, while others use it to treat chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol, or arthritis. However, (IF) is not suitable for everyone.
Weight loss is always good because being thin supposedly equals being healthy. We all know this isn’t true. However, with fasting claiming to improve health as well as weight loss, it is easy to see why diet culture has embraced it. It is critical to recognise that diets have an impact on both our minds and our bodies. Some of the consequences of intermittent fasting include:
Hunger and Cravings: It may come as no surprise that one of the most common side effects of intermittent fasting is hunger. When you restrict your calorie intake or go for extended periods without eating, you may experience increased hunger.
Headache: Intermittent fasting is frequently associated with headaches. They are most common during the first few days of a fasting protocol. Headaches during fasting may be exacerbated by low blood sugar and caffeine withdrawal.
Digestive Issues: If you practise intermittent fasting, you may experience digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, and bloating.
The reduced food intake associated with some (IF) regimens may have a negative impact on your digestion, causing constipation and other side effects. Furthermore, dietary changes associated with intermittent fasting programmes may cause bloating and diarrhoea.
Irritation and other mood changes: Fasting may cause irritability and other mood disturbances in some people. When your blood sugar is low, you may become irritated .
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can occur during periods of calorie restriction or fasting. This can cause irritability, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.
Fatigue and Low Energy: Some people who practise intermittent fasting experience fatigue and low energy levels.
Low blood sugar caused by fasting can make you tired and weak. Furthermore, (IF) may cause sleep disturbances in some people, resulting in fatigue during the day.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What do you eat during intermittent fasting?
Answer: No food is allowed during the fasting period, but you can drink water, coffee, tea and other non-caloric beverages. Some forms of fasting allow small amounts of low-calorie foods during the fasting period. Taking supplements is generally allowed while fasting, as long as there are no calories in them.
2. Is 12 hours enough for intermittent fasting?
Answer: The rules for this diet are simple. A person needs to decide on and adhere to a 12-hour fasting window every day. According to some researchers, fasting for 10–16 hours can cause the body to turn its fat stores into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream.
3. Can I take multivitamins while intermittent fasting?
Answer: Multivitamins do not break a fast, because they are calorie-free most of the time. However, not all of their components are well-absorbed on an empty stomach. Overall, multivitamins do not break a fast, but it’s better for your body to consume them with food.
4. Does Lemon water break fast?
Answer: Plain lemon water with only lemon juice is also allowed when following the IF method. The drink contains almost zero calories and does not break your fast. Having one or two glasses of lemon drink, when following the fasting can also help you burn fat and curb hunger.
5. Can I exercise while fasting?
Yes, you can do. Diet is not only the key to a healthy weight loss exercise also plays a major role in this.
6. Can intermittent fasting lead to muscle loss?
Yes, because when you lose weight you also lose some amount of muscle mass and studies shown that skipping workouts also leads to loss of muscle mass.