Ah, intermittent fasting. Just what is intermittent fasting?
Pretty sure everyone has already heard of it. You may know a friend or two who have tried their luck with IF (as it is commonly called Intermittent Fasting).
Intermittent fasting is actually considered one of the most popular diet trends today. It works really well for those who want to lose weight and establish a simpler lifestyle.
Some studies even support its wonderful effects on the mind and body up to the point where it is believed to help a person live longer.
If you are considering to jump on the bandwagon, you must first know the answer to this question:
What is intermittent fasting?
This type of fasting is broken into two: a period of fasting and a period of eating. What makes it seem so tempting to try is that you do not have to be concerned about what you eat. You can grab the food of your choice, but you need to be mindful of the time you take it. Of course, it goes without saying that you should keep a balanced healthy meal. However, if you want a bite of that delicious croissant, you can go for it when doing intermittent fasting.
It sounds pretty easy because you are not confined to a specific type of food. All you need to worry about is staying within your schedule.
That got you reeled in, right?
If it got you even more curious regarding what is intermittent fasting all about? Then, read on.
Some Facts About Intermittent Fasting
Fasting has been around for a long time. It dates back through ancient times. During this period, our ancestors probably do not have much choice. They could not just whip up a meal or heat up a piece of bread when they are hungry. Many early hunters return home unsuccessfully. So, they, along with their people, end up skipping meals. They were doing unintentional fasting.
This, in turn, developed a person’s ability to withstand prolonged periods without having anything inside the stomach.
There are many religious beliefs that support fasting. In Catholicism, this is widely practiced especially during the lent season. Islams also do fasting during Ramadan.
Intermittent fasting has many methods. You can either do daily 16-hour fasts or fast for a whole day twice in one week.
So to fully understand what is intermittent fasting, you have to take a peek into the details of different intermittent fasting methods.
Types of Intermittent Fasting Methods
While these methods vary in so many ways, it all boils down to one mechanism – it involves splitting down either the day or the week into a period of eating and a period of fasting. Bear in mind that when you are fasting, you can eat minimal amounts or nothing at all.
Below is the list of the most popular ways of achieving an effective intermittent fasting method:
1. The 16/8 or Leangains Protocol
This method recommends skipping on one meal. Most people opt to miss out on breakfast. The eating window is only up to 8 hours. No more. No less. For example, you can decide to eat at lunchtime 12 noon and up to 8 at night. Then you fast for the next 16 hours and eat at the same time the following day.
2. 24-Hour fasts
This means that you will not eat an entire day about two days a week. Not everyone can do this, so it is understandable if you are not keen on doing this.
3. 5:2 Diet
Every week, you pick two days where you can eat only around 500 calories. It should not be consecutive. On the remaining days of the week, you go about with your usual diet.
The main goal of these methods is to lose weight through lessening the amount of the calories you consume. But, in order to do that, you need to maintain a healthy eating routine during your eating period.
People who try to do intermittent fasting usually go for the 16:9 method because of the three, it is the easiest to sustain.
What is intermittent fasting and its effects in the body?
The reason why this diet is considered effective is that of its ability to elicit many bodily processes, such as:
- When people fast, many things can happen to the body in terms of cellular and molecular scales. For instance, your body will need to change the hormone level accordingly in order to have easy access to the stored body fats. Your human growth hormone or HGH will increase up to five times paving the way for muscle gain and loss of fat. Your insulin levels will lower down. The cells also begin to jumpstart repairing and changing the expression of your genes.
- As mentioned earlier, the reduction of meals is a sure way to reduce the excessive calories. The boosting of the fat-burning hormone norepinephrine will also help shed off the extra pounds
- The ability to reduce inflammation also helps with weight loss and shoo away the possible chronic diseases that may arise.
- Fasting also lowers down the bad cholesterol, blood sugar, and even insulin.
But even if you already know what is intermittent fasting, you should not just go about and try it. You should always practice with caution. It has many side effects, like feeling weak and uneasy, especially on the first few weeks. Conditions like diabetes, amenorrhea, eating disorders, or low blood pressure should always be ticked off before you decide to go for it. Ask for your physician’s okay before anything else. On a positive note, not much sacrifice is needed should you decide to go for it. You can still exercise, take supplements, and do other physical activities. You would not even need to forego your love for coffee and chocolates. Just be sure to eat them in moderation.