Intermittent fasting is a dietary pattern that has steadily gained popularity in recent years. But does it actually offer any benefits, or is it just a fad? Here’s what you need to know about intermittent fasting and whether it’s a good choice for you.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is essentially an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. Many people find this eating schedule more manageable than traditional dieting approaches since it allows for more flexibility with your food choices.
People will typically consume only water or other non-caloric beverages during these fasting periods while avoiding all food and drink with calories.
Intermittent fasting does not require any special food items or supplements, making it easy to stick to long-term. It also tends to be easier on your body than more traditional diets since there is no calorie restriction or strict dietary guidelines to follow.
How does it work?
One of the fundamental principles underlying Intermittent fasting is restricting the times that we eat; it can help shift our body into a fasting state. While in this fasting state, our bodies start to use fat stores for energy instead of relying on food for fuel.
Intermittent fasting is also known for boosting metabolism by producing heat or thermogenesis. This again makes the body use its fat stores. Both processes eventually help you lose the extra pounds.
Why is it so effective for weight loss?
The simple rule “skip breakfast or only eat at specific hours will help prevent you from reaching for snacks that are high in calories and contribute more pounds than usual.
In IF, you go long periods without eating; your body breaks down fat cells and releases ketones. These two things stimulate autophagy which helps us lose weight faster by promoting the breakdown of old tissue in our bodies to be replaced with new healthy pieces.
As you continue your fast, the body will begin to burn fat more efficiently and recycle worn-out cells for energy. This leads to a deeper state of ketosis that helps with weight loss in both healthy people and those struggling with obesity.
However, intermittent fasting works when you follow specific rules.
Rules of Intermittent Fasting
- Eat all of your meals within a certain time each day and then fast for the remaining hours.
- Stick to your chosen method, and don’t cheat. Intermittent fasting only works if you stick to the rules and don’t give in to temptation.
- Perform your preferred workout during a time of fasting. This includes cardio, strength training, or even mixing it with some yoga.
- Do not break your fast, no matter what.
- Intermittent fasting may not be appropriate for everyone and should always be discussed with your healthcare provider before changing your diet or lifestyle.
These rules apply to all types of Intermittent fasting types; we will discuss some of the main types here.
Main Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are several methods to choose from, so find one that fits your lifestyle and schedule.
The most common form of intermittent fasting schedule is the 16/8 method, which involves fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8 hours. For example, you may eat your meals between 12 pm and 8 pm, then fast until noon of the following day.
With this method, you eat normally for 5 days of the week, followed by two days where you restrict calories. You are allowed to eat only 500 calories on the two fasting days.
This Intermittent Fasting is like the 16/8 method, but you extend your fasting period to 18 hours. For example, you would eat between 12 pm – 6 pm, then fast for the remaining 18 hours of the day.
This Intermittent Fasting protocol is also called the ‘Warrior Method.’ In this, you extend your fasting period to 20 hours. For example, you would eat between 12 pm – 4 pm, then fast for the remaining 20 hours of the day.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
- Intermittent fasting helps prevent age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and dementia with autophagy, a cellular repair process.
- Low key intermittent fasting increases Galectin-3, a type of cellular-repair protein responsible for controlling inflammation in humans.
- Following IF consistently leads to sustained weight loss over time, even without major dietary changes or exercising more often than usual.
- IF may help avert some types of cancer. Obesity is one of the risk factors for cancer; IF controls it effectively. Together with chemotherapy, it produces tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes and common lymphoid progenitor cells (CLPs). The latter kills the tumor cells.
- Intermittent fasting helps you live longer, just like calorie restriction does.
Overall, Intermittent fasting is a popular choice for those looking to improve their health and lose weight. If you’re thinking of trying Intermittent Fasting, it’s essential to do your research and proceed with caution. With the proper preparation and support, it can be an effective tool.
Simon Dwight Keller is a content writer at Kilo Health, a leading digital health and wellness company. With his journalism degree, writing skills, and professional soccer player experience and attitude, each job he undertakes is a combination of flair, commitment, and passion from beginning to end.