It is to be said that the best diet is the one where you are healthy, hydrated, and living your best life. Fasting is considered an age-old practice, sometimes associated with religious observances, but fasting for weight loss is something that still captures the public imagination.
Intermittent fasting is basically a well-designed eating plan that switches between fasting and eating on a regular time-based schedule. Research shows the positive side of intermittent fasting, which is a way to manage your weight and prevent, or even reverse, some forms of disease. However, one should follow it properly. So, how do you fast intermittently, and how do you do it effectively? (Thrive Global, 2019)
We’ve been scanning the trending diet technique in order to help you and, after looking through information from articles, sources, and other research, provide you with some of the important facts along with their existing myths on intermittent fasting. We hope that by the time you are through with reading this article, you would will have a better understanding of what intermittent fasting is and what has been observed about using it as an aid for weight loss.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not a diet; many known popular diets such as Paleo/KETO diets focus on what to eat, but intermittent fasting is all about when you eat.
In other words, intermittent fasting is just putting a time frame on when you eat. There are several versions of intermittent fasting, which makes people often confused. Here is a short compilation of a few things which one must know before giving intermittent fasting a try. (Healthline, 2020)
Types of Intermittent Fasting
Time-restricted Fasting or the Infamous 16:8 Method
In this schedule, one would fast for 16 hours and consume calories in the remaining 8 hours. This form of intermittent fasting is comparatively easy to follow as most people do this by starting their fast at night, skipping breakfast, and eating the first meal of the day around lunchtime.
Modified Fasting or the 5:2 Diet
In simple words, the 5:2 Diet defines as no food restriction five days of the week, cycling with a 400-500 calorie diet the remaining two days of the week.
Alternate Day Fasting
In Alternate Day Fasting is switching between the periods of consuming zero-calorie food and actual eating. For example – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays would consist of fasting, while the alternate days would carry no food restrictions.
There are even more variations of these methods, but these three are most popular and acceptable to get a feel for how fasting works around.
Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
There is some possible research available on intermittent fasting that looks promising in terms of potential health benefits such as weight loss, glucose control, and cognitive effects. Although, there is still a lot of research that needs to be done on the long-term effects in humans, specifically women, as the female body reacts differently to fasting compared to men due to differences in hormones. Here are a few of intermittent fasting benefits research has positively confirmed so far:
- Boost Your Memory: Studies confirmed that intermittent fasting boosts working memory in animals and verbal memory in adult humans if followed properly.
- Make Your Heart Healthy: Intermittent fasting significantly helps in improving blood pressure and resting heart rates as well as other heart-related measurements.
- Improves Physical Performance. It was revealed in studies that a young man who fasted for 16 hours showed fat loss while maintaining original muscle mass.
- Improves Tissue Health. In animals, intermittent fasting reduced tissue damage in surgery and improved results.
(Health Blog, 2020)
Although It is highly recommended that individuals with the below mentioned specific conditions should abstain from intermittent fasting:
- Diabetes (advanced or on medication)
- Eating disorders
- Use of medications that require food intake
- Active growth stage, such as in adolescents
- Pregnancy, breastfeeding
From the research that is out there, it looks like intermittent fasting does, in fact, have some benefits and advantages over other diet or eating regimens. However, if you are looking to use it as a tool to lose weight, this may not be for you. The benefits described above are more on a molecular level: lowering insulin, improving human growth hormone, and decreasing inflammation. (Hopkins, 2020)
Intermittent fasting is not a magic pill, but it may help certain individuals with their health goals with maintained eating patterns. Therefore, if you don’t have any issues with hunger, headaches, or low blood sugar, then it may be beneficial for your lifestyle. However, if you experience these symptoms, it is clearly not a healthy solution. Rather there are many other ways to accomplish your health goals that do not require following a “diet”.
Eating properly and weight loss should involve your primary care physician, internal medicine doctor and a dietitian who can create a personalized plan for your specific medical history, health goals, and lifestyle.
Keri Glassman, M. (2018, January 12). The Truth About Intermittent Fasting. Retrieved November 18, 2020, from https://thriveglobal.com/stories/the-truth-about-intermittent-fasting-is-it-good-for-weight-loss-and-overall-health/
Gunnars, K. (2020, April 21). Intermittent Fasting 101 – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide. Retrieved November 18, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-guide
Gleeson, J. (2019, July 29). Intermittent Fasting: Is it Right for You? Retrieved November 18, 2020, from https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/wellness-prevention/intermittent-fasting-it-right-for-you
Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and how does it work? (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2020, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/intermittent-fasting-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work