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?
Many diets emphasize what to eat, but intermittent fasting emphasizes when to eat. Intermittent fasting is when you only eat at certain times of the day. Fasting for a set number of hours each day or eating only one meal a couple of times a week can aid fat loss. Scientific data also suggests that there are certain health benefits. Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University, has been researching intermittent fasting for 25 years. He claims that our bodies have evolved to be able to survive without food for several hours, days, or even weeks. Before humans learned to farm, they were hunters and gatherers who evolved to survive — and thrive — without eating for lengthy periods of time.
Television, the internet, and other forms of entertainment are now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We stay up later to watch our favorite shows, play games, and communicate on the internet. We spend the entire day — and most of the night — sitting and nibbling.”
Obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other ailments can all be exacerbated by eating too many calories and exercising too little. Intermittent fasting has been shown in scientific research to help reverse these patterns.
How does intermittent fasting work?
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 Americans 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 does not exercise, they will gain weight every time they eat.” They’re surviving on those calories rather than burning fat.”
Intermittent fasting works by extending the time between when your body burns off the calories from your last meal and starts burning fat.
Intermittent Fasting Plans
Before beginning intermittent fasting, make sure to see your doctor. The actual technique is straightforward once you have his or her permission. You can choose a daily strategy, which limits daily meals to one six- to eight-hour period. For example, you could try 16/8 fasting, which involves eating for eight hours and fasting for sixteen. Williams is a proponent of the daily routine, claiming that most people find it simple to stay to this pattern over time.
Another method, known as the 5:2 technique, is eating five times a week. You only eat one 500–600 calorie meal on the remaining two days. For instance, suppose you decided to normally eat every day of the week except Sunday.
Fasting for longer lengths of time, such as 24, 36, 48, and 72 hours, is not always beneficial and can be dangerous. Going too long without eating may cause your body to begin storing fat as a response to the lack of food.
According to Mattson’s studies, it takes two to four weeks for the body to adjust to intermittent fasting. While you’re getting adjusted to the new pattern, you can feel hungry or irritable. However, he notes that research subjects who make it through the adjustment stage are more likely to continue to the diet because they feel better.
What can I eat while intermittent fasting?
Water and zero-calorie liquids like black coffee and tea are allowed at periods when you aren’t eating. And “eating normally” during your periods does not imply going insane. If you fill your meals with high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried foods, and desserts, you’re not going to lose weight or get healthier.
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Intermittent Fasting Benefits
Here are some of the benefits of intermittent fasting that have been discovered thus far in research:
- The ability to think and remember. Intermittent fasting improves working memory in animals and verbal memory in adults, according to research.
- Heart health is important. Fasting for a short period of time improved blood pressure, resting heart rates, and other heart-related parameters.
- Physical exertion. Fasting for 16 hours resulted in fat loss while retaining muscular mass in young males. Mice that were fed on different days had superior running endurance.
- Obesity and diabetes. Intermittent fasting has been shown to prevent obesity in animals. In six small studies, obese adult individuals lost weight by fasting intermittently.
- Tissue health is important. Intermittent fasting in mice minimized tissue damage during surgery and improved outcomes.
Is intermittent fasting safe?
Some people use intermittent fasting to lose weight, while others use it to treat chronic illnesses including irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol, or arthritis. Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, isn’t for everyone.
Before attempting intermittent fasting (or any diet), Williams recommends consulting with your primary care physician. Some persons should avoid experimenting with intermittent fasting:
- Children and teenagers under the age of 18 are considered minors.
- Women who are expecting a child or who are breastfeeding.
- People who have diabetes or other blood sugar issues.
- Those who have had an eating disorder in the past.
Fit-In Nutrition Team, March 2022