A question that pops into everybody’s mind: should I skip meals? Intermittent fasting is one diet trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. You do it when you consciously skip meals or fast for a set period of time from eating or drinking anything besides water. While some fast for religious reasons, others do so to lose weight.
Intermittent fasting: What is it?
A diet plan known as intermittent fasting alternates between brief fasting intervals during which the dieter consumes little to no calories or significantly fewer than usual. It is marketed to alter body composition through weight loss and a reduction in body fat and to enhance disease-related health indicators, including blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Intermittent fasting: How did it begin?
Its origins trace back to traditional fasting days, a global practice recorded in the early writings of Socrates, Plato, and religious communities as having physiological or spiritual benefits. Back then, a normal fast lasted anything from 12 hours to a month and involved a consistent abstention from food and drink. It may call for total abstention or permit only a portion of limited food and drink intake. This kind of fasting was discovered 1000s of years back and is still followed in the name of “intermittent fasting.”
These very-low-calorie diets may result in physiological changes that cause the body to adjust to the calorie restriction and stop further weight loss. To solve this issue, intermittent fasting alternates between periods of reduced calorie intake and periods of regular eating, which may prevent these adaptations.
Intermittent fasting: How does it work?
The most popular techniques involve fasting on alternate days, for full days on a regular basis throughout the week, or for a predetermined amount of time.
- Alternate-day fasting: Alternating days of no dietary restriction with days that only consist of one meal that provides around 25% of daily caloric demands is known as alternate-day fasting. For instance, alternate days have no dietary restrictions, whereas Monday through Friday is dedicated to fasting.
- Whole-day fasting: It is when a person goes without eating for the entire day one to two days per week or up to 25% of their daily caloric needs. The 5:2 diet plan, for instance, encourages eating as much as you like five days a week while cycling in two days with a 400–500 calorie diet.
- Time-restricted feeding: This entails adhering to a daily meal schedule and a set fasting window. Example: Meals are consumed from 8 am to 3 pm, while the rest of the day is spent fasting.
The Existing Research
Calorie restriction has been demonstrated physiologically in animals to prolong life and enhance tolerance to a variety of metabolic stressors. Although there is significant support for calorie restriction in animal studies, the evidence in human studies is less compelling. Diet proponents contend that the stress of intermittent fasting triggers an immunological response that heals cells and results in favorable metabolic changes (reduction in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, fat mass, and blood glucose). It makes sense to worry that people who follow this diet will eat too much on days when they aren’t fasting to make up for the calories they lose while fasting. Research has not demonstrated that this is the case when comparing this to other weight loss strategies.
It appears that short-term fasting can result in ketosis, a metabolic state in which the body burns down stored fat for energy when there is insufficient glucose available to do so. Ketone-like compounds grow as a result of this. This can result in weight loss along with consuming fewer calories overall. According to research, alternate-day fasting is comparable to a standard low-calorie diet for weight loss.
Additionally, fasting impacts the body’s metabolic functions, which may help to enhance blood sugar control, reduce inflammation, and improve the body’s ability to respond to physical stress. Some studies say this may help with inflammatory diseases like multiple sclerosis, asthma, and arthritis.
Tips to keep Intermittent fasting on track during diet
- During your eating times, consume high-fiber meals like nuts, beans, fruits, and vegetables, as well as high-protein items like meat, fish, tofu, or nuts. Additionally helpful is chewing high-fiber gummies.
- Drink plenty of water while fasting. You may mistakenly believe you are hungry but in actuality, you are merely thirsty.
- Choose black coffee, tea, or herbal teas flavored with cinnamon or licorice while fasting. These drinks may affect lowering hunger.
- Watch TV or Netflix less while fasting. We know this sounds crazy, but when you watch TV, there are dozens of food advertisements all around you. When you are not actually hungry, this can make you feel as though you are.
- Exercise before fasting. You might feel hungry approximately 30 minutes after finishing your workout, and it may be challenging to stick to your plan if you can’t eat anything afterward.
- Try drinking black coffee while fasting. It has no calories and helps with energy and concentration.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Since alcohol is heavy in calories and has no nutritional benefit, it should not be consumed during a fasting window or day. Women is advised to consume no more than one drink per day during non-fasting periods, while men should consume no more than two.
Possible Risks of Intermittent fasting during diet
Someone who eats frequently would find it challenging to follow this type of food regimen (e.g., snacks between meals, grazing). Additionally, it would not be suitable for people with medical disorders that call for regular dietary intake because of metabolic changes brought on by their drugs, such as diabetes. When food is reintroduced after prolonged periods of food deprivation or semi-starvation, one is in danger of overeating, and harmful behaviors, such as an increased preoccupation with food, may develop.
The following conditions should prevent someone from intermittent fasting:
- Improper self-restriction is a component of eating disorders (anorexia or bulimia nervosa)
- Using drugs that call for dietary consumption
- The active stage of growth, as in adolescence
- Pregnancy and nursing
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