A phenomenon called intermittent fasting is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends. It involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating.
Many studies show that this can cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, protect against disease and perhaps help you live longer.
This article explains what intermittent fasting is, and why you should care.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Dr. Inder Maurya, Founder and CEO, Foreign OPD said, “Intermittent fasting is very much in vogue and is considered as a contemporary way of fasting in modern times. This though, envisaged in the western world for losing weight, had been intrinsic to Indian culture from time immemorial. Though culturally, it is more accepted for the spiritual purposes, it is also a yogic method to kip one self-trim, fit and healthy. It is a cyclical pattern of eating where the intake of food is dotted with gaps of absolutely no intake of food. Hence, it is termed intermittent fasting. There are no restrictions regarding the quality of food. But if you are actually concerned about your health, and istead of just losing weight, your long-term goal is to stay fit, you should focus also on the nutritional quality of food.”
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How does intermittent fasting help in reducing weight ?
Dr. Maurya explained, “Intermittent fasting helps you reduce weight effectively but you may observe rapidity or slow changes depending also on the person’s metabolism rate. Having said, one can lose weight from 3-8% over a period of 3-24 weeks. To see an effective change one must stick to the pattern and not keep on changing, which many end up doing because of sheer boredom.”
The trick is that intermittent fasting induces fewer intake of calories, that way keeping you leaner. But intermittent fasting should not be looked at just a weight control tool but beneficial to one’s metabolic health which may effectively help in reducing the risks of cardio vascular diseases and help in balancing the hormones.
Explain the best duration of intermittent fasting?
There are many cyclical patterns –
1) 16:8 – fasting for 16 hours and eating only between noon and 8 pm
2) Eat-stop-eat – it’s a 24 hour fast
3) 5:2 – For two days in a week intake of only 500-600 calories
4) Warrior diet – It’s a bit more than the 16:8 pattern but better than 24 hours fasting
“The first option of 16 hours gap is a better way of handling the intermittent fasting pattern. It is also the most popular, and can be really effective if one eats lean and nutritious foods that are rich in protein and also compliment with some regular exercises”, says Dr. Maurya.
How to prepare the diet plan?
Many may not be able to begin on the intermittent fasting routine because of their sheer habit patterns. One can begin with some good window of giving the mouth and your belly some rest. It is important nevertheless to work on a diet plan that is based on:
• Quality of food: Try to eat mostly whole, single ingredient food rich in nutritional value
• Calories: Don’t try to compensate on calories during the non-fasting periods. Calories count!
• Consistency: Don’t jump and skip the pattern and keep it extended for a good period of time for results
• Patience: The body will have to get used to the pattern. One must therefore exercise patience
Exercise and strength training, if complemented with the eating cycles can surely yield results, explained Dr. Maurya.