Intermittent fasting, also known as intermittent energy restriction, refers to a variety of meal timing patterns that alternate between voluntary fasting (lower calorie intake) and non-fasting over a set period of time. Alternate-day fasting, periodic fasting, and daily time-restricted feeding are all examples of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting, which has been examined in the twenty-first century as a strategy to perhaps reduce the risk of diet-related disorders like metabolic syndrome, may have similar benefits to a calorie-restriction diet.
Intermittent fasting, according to the American Heart Association, can help people lose weight, improve insulin resistance, and reduce their risk of cardiometabolic disorders, while its long-term effectiveness is unknown. Obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and inflammation may all benefit from intermittent fasting, according to a 2019 review.
Intermittent fasting is a type of eating regimen in which you alternate between fasting and eating on a regular basis. Intermittent fasting has been shown in studies to help people lose weight and prevent — or even reverse — disease. But how do you go about doing it? Is it also secure?
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting can be done in a variety of methods, but they all revolve around choosing regular eating and fasting times. For example, you could try eating only for eight hours a day and fasting for the rest of the day. Alternatively, you could choose to eat only one meal each day two days per week. There are a variety of intermittent fasting schedules to choose from.
According to Mattson, after a period of time without meals, the body’s sugar stores are depleted and it begins to burn fat. This is referred to as metabolic switching by him.
“Most people eat throughout their waking hours,” Mattson explains, “therefore intermittent fasting is in stark contrast to their regular eating routine.” “If someone eats three meals a day plus snacks and doesn’t exercise, they’re running on those calories and not burning their fat stores every time they eat.”
Intermittent fasting works by extending the time between when your body burns off the calories from your last meal and starts burning fat.
Type of intermittent fasting
Time-restricted feeding, alternate-day fasting, and periodic fasting are three types of intermittent fasting:
- Time-restricted feeding is eating just for a set number of hours each day, usually within an 8–12-hour time window, and developing a predictable daily pattern of caloric intake. This plan may help you eat in accordance with your body’s natural rhythms.
- Alternate-day fasting entails a 24-hour “fast day” during which the individual consumes less than 25% of their daily energy needs, followed by a 24-hour “feast day” during which the person consumes more than 25% of their daily energy needs. Because there are more days of fasting per week, it is the strictest kind of intermittent fasting. There are two different types of subtypes:
- Complete alternate-day fasting (also known as total intermittent energy restriction) is a calorie-free diet in which no food is ingested on fasting days.
- Instead of complete fasting, modified alternate-day fasting (or partial intermittent energy restriction) allows for the eating of up to 25% of daily calorie demands on fasting days. This is similar to alternating days of regular eating with days of very-low-calorie meals.
- Periodic fasting, also known as whole-day fasting, refers to any time of more than 24 hours of continuous fasting, ranging from the 5:2 diet, which requires one or two fasting days each week, to the more extreme variant, which comprises multiple days or weeks of fasting. Instead of complete fasting, eating of around 500 to 700 calories, or about 25% of average daily caloric intake, may be permitted on fasting days.
- The method of 12:12. Fast for 12 hours and eat inside a 12-hour window every day. Congratulations, you’re already an IF pro if you eat your last meal at 7 p.m. and have breakfast the next morning at 7 a.m. (This is a wonderful place to start for novices.)
- The method of the 20:4 ratio. Allow yourself a 4-hour window to eat after a 20-hour fast.
- The 16:8 technique is one of the most popular. Within an 8-hour timeframe, eat your daily diet and fast for the following 16 hours.
- The 5:2 approach is a method that uses a ratio of 5:2 to 5 days of the week, eat whatever you want. Men can eat 600 calories and women can eat 500 calories on the last two days.
Food to be consumed during intermittent fasting
You’ll want to stick to your fasting and eating windows each day if you’re doing intermittent fasting. Although it is still important, there is less emphasis on WHAT to eat.
In general, the best things to eat while intermittent fasting are the healthiest foods to eat in any circumstance. Avocado, potatoes, cruciferous vegetables, salmon, seafood, full grains, almonds, and fermented foods are among them. It’s also critical to remember to drink water on a daily basis.
Water is essential for the health of almost all of your body’s major organs. Avoiding this as part of your fast would be stupid. Your organs play a critical role in keeping you alive.
The amount of water that each individual should drink depends on their gender, height, weight, degree of exercise, and climate. However, the color of your urine is a good indicator. At all times, you want it to be pale yellow.
Dehydration, which can induce headaches, weariness, and lightheadedness, is indicated by dark yellow urine. When you combine it with a lack of food, you’ve got a recipe for disaster – or, at the very least, extremely dark pee.
If simple water doesn’t appeal to you, try adding a squeeze of lemon juice, a few mint leaves, or a pinch of salt.
There’s a reason that the American Dietary Guidelines recommend that most adults consume 8 to 10 ounces of fish per week. In addition to being high in healthy fats and proteins, it is also high in vitamin D.
And if you prefer to eat during limited window times, don’t you want to get a more nutritional bang for your buck when you do? You’ll never run out of ways to prepare fish because there are so many options.
Eating green vegetables would be essential to getting the necessary vitamins for the body. Eating veggies can help in increasing the fiber content in the body. Due to increased green vegetable consumption, the passage of roughage becomes easy during intermittent fasting.
Also, it is stated by the researchers that the consumption of more fiber gives the stomach a sense of satiety. Green vegetables like spinach, fenugreek, and broccoli can be included. Cruciferous vegetables help in reducing cancer risk.
Legumes are high in fiber and may help you maintain a regular bowel movement. Cooked black beans provide 15 grams (g) of fiber per cup (240 mL), which is nearly half of the recommended daily requirement for adults.
Legumes are nutrient-dense foods. They’re low in calories, yet they fill you up. Legumes’ carbohydrates are slowly absorbed by the body, providing consistent energy for the body, brain, and neurological system. Consuming more beans as part of a balanced diet can help lower blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate, and other risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
1] Insulin-resistance-Intermittent fasting can lower blood sugar levels by 3–6% and fasting insulin levels by 20–31%, reducing insulin resistance and potentially protecting against type 2 diabetes.
2] Weight loss-Intermittent fasting, as previously said, can assist you in losing weight and belly fat without having to intentionally restrict calories.
3] Cardiovascular health-Intermittent fasting has been shown to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood sugar, and insulin resistance, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
4] Central nervous system health-Intermittent fasting boosts the brain hormone BDNF, which may help new nerve cells grow. It may also help to prevent Alzheimer’s.
5] Anti-aging-Intermittent fasting has been shown to enhance the lifespan of rats. Fasted rats lived 36–83 percent longer, according to studies.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH INTERMITTENT FASTING
You’ve probably done a lot of intermittent fasting in your life. If you’ve ever eaten dinner, then slept late the next day, and didn’t eat until lunch, you’ve definitely fasted for 16 hours or more.
This is how some people eat naturally. In the morning, they simply do not feel hungry. Many people regard the 16/8 approach to be the most straightforward and long-lasting method of intermittent fasting; you might want to start there.
If you enjoy fasting and feel well while doing so, you could go to more sophisticated fasts such as 24-hour fasts 1–2 times per week (Eat-Stop-Eat) or just eating 500–600 calories 1–2 days per week (5:2 diet).
Another option is to just fast whenever it is convenient – skip meals when you aren’t hungry or don’t have time to prepare them. To reap at least some of the benefits, you don’t need to follow a formal intermittent fasting schedule.
Experiment with different methods until you find one that you enjoy and fits your schedule.
It’s best to start with the 16/8 approach and work your way up to longer fasts later. It’s crucial to try out several methods until you find one that works for you.
It is not necessary for anybody to practice intermittent fasting. It’s only one of several healthy-living practices. The most important variables to concentrate on remain eating real food, exercising, and getting enough sleep.
You can safely disregard this article if you don’t like the idea of fasting. Finally, when it comes to nutrition, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. The optimal diet for you is one that you can maintain for an extended period of time.
Some people thrive on intermittent fasting, while others do not. The only way to know which group you are a part of is to try it out. Fasting can be a very strong strategy for losing weight and improving your health if you enjoy it and find it to be a sustainable way of eating.