Intermittent fasting in today’s time has become an extremely popular dietary plan and a lifestyle approach for weight loss. It encompasses any eating plan that alternates between fasting and non-fasting periods.
In this plan, you eat during an eight-hour period each day and fast for the remainder. Or you might choose to eat only one meal a day for two days a week. There are many different intermittent fasting schedules.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is about ignoring your body’s hunger and restricting it to eating to certain hours of the day or certain days of the week.
There is an incredible number of varieties of intermittent fasting out there. For instance, you can fast for 23 hours of the day and eat calories only in a one hour span. Another plan is eating for 6 hours and fasting for 18 hours. There’s alternate-day fasting as well which means eating normally one day and then eating either nothing or just 500 calories the next.
During the times when you’re not eating, water, and zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee and tea are permitted. And if you pack your feeding times with high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried items, and treats, you’re not likely to lose weight or get healthier.
Intermittent fasting works the best when your body has burned the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat. The basic idea behind all intermittent fasting methods is to use stored fat energy and reduce your caloric intake.
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Pros and cons of intermittent fasting
- It Controls High Blood Pressure– A study done by researchers at the University of Surrey found that individuals who adhered to an intermittent fasting diet, had a 9% reduction in blood pressure, compared to a 2% increase found in those who followed a more traditional, regular daily diet.
- Brain Development– Development Fasting increases the rate of neurogenesis in the brain, which is “the growth and development of new brain cells and nerve tissues” according to professor of Neurology at John Hopkins University and chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging, Mark Mattson. This, in turn, increases brain performance, mood, focus, and memory.
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- Weight Loss– Cutting your unhealthy food during certain days limits your overall intake and may ultimately provide benefits. In a review of intermittent fasting research published in 2018, the authors report that the studies they examined showed a significant decrease in fat mass among subjects who participated in clinical trials.
- Improving insulin sensitivity– In 2018, some intermittent fasting researchers propose that this eating style may help those with type 2 diabetes manage blood sugar through weight loss in overweight or obese individuals.
- It led to the reduction of total cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides.
- Intermittent fasting helps the body to slow down the aging process, stimulate nail and healthy hair growth, and also improve bone strength.
- It keeps you hydrated, because most of the time when you feel hungry, you’re actually thirsty. Drinking water instead of munching snacks can help your detoxify body.
- Increased risk for some negative health– Hormonal imbalances could lead to insomnia, increased stress, or thyroid problems.
- Not eating enough and skipping meals are common triggers for low blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling sluggish, irritated, and unfocused.
- Keep an eye on your protein intake as when you don’t eat often enough, you may not get enough protein which weakens your muscle growth, bone health, your immune system, and more.
- The temptation to overeat, due to the fasting consumption of more carbs.
Contact your doctor if you’re unsure fasting is for you. Take a break if fasting has adverse symptoms on your body. Depriving yourself of necessary vitamins and minerals can make you sick.