Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular health and fitness trend in this modern time. People suffering from overweight issues are using it to improve their fitness, health and overall lifestyle. Various studies have claimed that it can help your body and brain in various ways.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent dieting is a time schedule for eating rather than a diet schedule. Instead of selecting what to eat, it changes to when to eat, So it tells the time to eat rather than telling what to eat.
Fasting practice is there from old times. In fact, fasting is a very natural thing in human lifestyle. Fasting is mostly done for spiritual and religious purposes in many religions.
Methods of intermittent fasting
There are various methods in intermittent fasting. Each one of these involves skipping meals for a specified time period.
During this specified time period, you need to eat either very less or nothing at all.
Some popular methods:
- The 16/8 method: This method involves fasting for 16 hours a day and restricting your eating period only for 8-10 hrs time span. For example, eating from 8 am to 4 pm and fasting for the rest of 16 hours. You can take your 2/3 meals in those 8 hours eating time period.
- The 5:2 diet method: This method included eating for 5 days of the week while restricting your calorie intake to 400/500 calories for the rest of two days.
This fasting plan is known as a fast diet. On fast days(2 days out of the week), it is advised to intake only 500/600 calories.
- Eat-stop-Eat method: This fasting method includes fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week. This has become one of the most common fasting methods in recent times.
This involved taking fast from breakfast to breakfast, lunch to lunch or dinner to dinner. By fasting from one dinner to another dinner, this amount to a total fast to 24 hours.
However, the only problem with this method is that it’s very difficult for some people to go on fasting for a full 24 hrs.
Effects of fasting on our body
When you go for fasting, your body shows different changes, especially in cells and molecules. Here are some changes that might occur when you opt for fasting:
Sugar breakdown – When you go on dieting, glycogen and storing glucose breaks down as a fuel for energy. Usually, 25% of that breakdown goes in your brain, while remaining to support the red blood cells and muscles.
Resting of digestive system – Since food intake quantity goes down during fasting, the digestive system takes a little break. But it never stops working, as the digestion process takes time.
Change in insulin level – When you go on a fast, insulin level of your body decreases dramatically. It also helps in improving insulin sensitivity.
Emotional changes – When you start your fasting, you will see certain emotional changes in yourself. It usually involves feeling hungry and maybe even overwhelmed. It triggers various emotions like frustration, anger, or sadness. It is very important to deal with those emotions.
Meditation and concentration are the two best ways to deal with these emotions. So always try to meditate at least 3/4 times a week.
Health Benefits of fasting
Weight loss – Fasting is one of the best and most commonly used methods for weight loss. Intermittent fasting helps you in losing both weight and belly fat.
Inflammation – Various researches have found that fasting helps your body in reducing the making of inflammations that eventually reduces various health risk.
Reduces heart problems – Intermittent fasting helps in reducing bad cholesterol levels, blood sugar level and insulin level which eventually reduces the risk for heart.
Reduce chances of Cancer – Many studies have claimed that intermittent fasting may prevent a person from cancer.
A powerful weight loss tool
When you start fasting, it automatically leads to a reduction in calorie intake level as you start skipping regular meals.
Also, a change in hormone level due to fasting leads to weight loss.
Due to these changes in hormone level, metabolism rate increases by 4-14% that helps in weight loss.
Intermittent fasting helps you in taking fewer calories and also burning more calories, which eventually leads to weight loss.
The main reason for the success of intermittent fasting in weight loss is because it helps in taking a few calories. But if you take high calories food during your meal period, you may end up losing no weight at all.
So always keep in mind not to take too much of high calories food while fasting.