Intermittent fasting is a popular fitness trend with proven health benefits. Read this amazing article to find out all that you need to know about intermittent fasting.
It has been hard to ignore the growing buzz around intermittent fasting (IF) as a popular fitness trend. Followed by celebrities and health buffs alike, intermittent fasting is soon gaining its dedicated tribe.
Surprisingly, intermittent fasting is not a new concept at all. In ancient times, when meals were not secure and certain, a lot of people fasted for the well-being of their mind and body. Lately, intermittent fasting has become a favourite again as more research is being carried into it. There are several other purported benefits of this wonderful protocol. If you would like to start on this journey, here is a complete guide to help you on your fitness journey.
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What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting means refraining yourself from eating anything for a brief period, though it permits few things, such as drinking water, tea, and coffee. It is not referred to as starvation, but just a shortening of your eating time window.
How To Practise Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting involves breaking and splitting your eating duration for a day or so. Here are some very famous and most common methods of doing intermittent fasting.
1. 16/8 Method
This is primarily known as the Leangains protocol where you have to skip breakfast and restrict your daily eating duration to 8 hours, that is, 1–9 p.m. and fast for 16 hours. A lot of people prefer this method as it is easy, simple, and sustainable and is quite popular.
2. Eat-Stop-Eat Method
This method involves fasting for 24 hours for once or twice a week, that is, not eating from dinner on one day to the next dinner on the other day. You might feel hungry in this process but following this method for long term can surely help you in reducing your body fat.
3. The 5:2 Diet Plan
In this method, you can consume only 500–600 calories on two days like Tuesday and Thursday,and can eat normally for the other 5 days. It is also known as the fast diet.
You can choose the 5 fasting days as per your comfort.
4. Alternate Day Fasting Method
This method is widely used around the world. In this method, you can take heathy and full diet on 1 day and the very next day you go on a 24 hours fasting.
Repeat the the cycle every alternate days of the week.
But, make sure to put calorie restriction on your diet as taking too much calorie or too less calorie can affect your alternate day fasting process.
These intermittent fasting methods aid in weight loss. However, you need to make sure that you are not indulging on junk food or over-eating during the eating window frame of your diet plan.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Affect Your Body?
During fasting, a lot of changes take place inside your body at the cellular and molecular level. For instance, your body adjusts in a way that makes it more accessible to fats. It also aids in the repair of body cells.
Here is a look at the few changes that occur during fasting and and how intermittent fasting affect your body.
- According to several studies, the human growth hormone (HGM) stimulates and accelerates the aiding of fat loss and muscle gain.
- The insulin level drops rapidly, and leads to the improvement of insulin in your body.
- On fasting, the cell performs cellular repair and aids cellular repair processes. The cells inside your body eat and digest the old and non-working proteins built up inside these cells.
- Intermittent fasting helps changes in gene expression, further protecting you from disease and promoting longevity.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
1. Insulin Resistance
Intermittent fasting can reduce insulin resistance and lower your sugar levels easily by 2 to 5 per cent. A study shows it provides protection from type 2 diabetes.
2. Anti Aging
In an experiment carried out on rats, intermittent fasting has proved that it increases their lifespan, and they lived 30 to 70% longer.
3. Improved Heart Health
This method of fasting could help you toreduce bad cholesterol levels, triglycerides, inflammation, insulin resistance, and almost everything that contributes to heart disease.
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4. Weight Loss
It is a popular method of losing weight, saving a lot of time. It helps to reduce a lot of belly fat fast and burn fat from other parts of your body.
5. Brain Health
Intermittent fasting helps to increase BDNF hormones and helps in the growth of new genes. Intermittent Fasting can also protect you from Alzheimer’s disease.
Safety Concerns For You In Intermittent Fasting
Having discussed the benefits of intermittent fasting, it also becomes important to know that intermittent fasting should be done under doctor’s advice for people having medical conditions or who are already on pills. Intermittent fasting demands eating at certain intervals, and thus can increase hunger. Hunger can make you feel weak and your brain might not perform well.
As intermittent fasting has many benefits, it also has side effects which can harm your body which is why it is always advised to refer a good doctor or consultant before starting your intermittent fasting diet.
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You need to take advice from a doctor if you are in one of the following categories:
- You have blood pressure
- Already taking medicines for some chronic health problems, such as heart disease
- If you are pregnant
- You are trying to conceive
- If you are underweight
Intermittent Fasting Diet Food Plan
To grab the full benefits of intermittent fasting, it is important to consume nutritious food which will keep your body healthy.
- Green leafy vegetables
- Whole grains
- Healthy fats
Avoid over-eating or binging on junk food in your meals as this will not show the desired changes that Intermittent Fasting brings about.
Most of the times, we pile up empty calories in sugary drinks and shakes. So, if you want to effectively follow Intermittent Fasting for weight loss, here is a list of recommended beverages.
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What Should You Drink During Intermittent Fasting?
- Water – still or sparkling
- Black coffee without creamer and sugar
- Green or black tea without milk and sugar
Sample Meal Plan For 16:8 Schedule
For most effective plan, follow the 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating cycle. Your sample meal could be:
- Scrambled eggs and tofu with rocket and tomato salad with balsamic vinegar dressing.
- Chia pudding for a quick and nutritious snack. A good quality protein shake is also an option.
- Make your last meal of the day nutritious and wholesome. Go for wholemeal pita pocket with avocado, grilled meat and loads of vegetables.
Intermittent fasting is quickly becoming a healthy and fast-paced method of weight loss. The most common and sustainable method is the 16/8 method.
You can consume beverages with low sugar during fasting. It also has such benefits as weight loss, prevention of some chronic diseases, improved brain health, and controlled sugar levels. Intermittent fasting also helps to promote enhance your quality of life and adds to your longevity.
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