Intermittent fasting is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends.
People are using it to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyles.
Many studies show that it can have powerful effects on your body and brain and may even help you live longer
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting.
It does not say anything about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them. There are several different intermittent fasting methods, all of which split the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods
METHODS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING:
- ALTERNATE DAY FASTING:
Consumption of 25% of recommended energy (calorie) intake one day, followed by a day of 100% recommended energy intake.
- MODIFIED FASTING (5:2):
Consumption of 20 to 25% of recommended energy intake two days per week.
- TIME RESTRICTED FASTING (16:8):
Fasting during chosen time period (hours) during the day.
Ex: 16 hours fasting and 8 hours feeding time.
- RELIGIOUS FASTING:
Fasting for religious purposes, such as Ramadan (fast from sunrise to sunset)
BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING:
These studies have shown that it can have powerful benefits for weight control and the health of your body and brain. It may even help you live longer.
Here are the main health benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Weight Loss: As mentioned above, intermittent fasting can help you lose weight and belly fat, without having to consciously restrict calories.
- Insulin Resistance: Intermittent fasting can reduce insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar by 3–6% and fasting insulin levels by 20–31%, which should protect against type 2 diabetes.
- Inflammation: Some studies show reductions in markers of inflammation, a key driver of many chronic diseases
- Heart Health: Intermittent fasting may reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood sugar and insulin resistance — all risk factors for heart disease
- Cancer: Animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting may prevent cancer
- Brain Health: Intermittent fasting increases the brain hormone BDNF and may aid the growth of new nerve cells. It may also protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
- Anti-Aging: Intermittent fasting can extend lifespan in rats. Studies showed that fasted rats lived 36 – 83% longer.
SAFETY AND SIDE EFFECTS:
Hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting.
You may also feel weak and your brain may not perform as well as you’re used to.
This may only be temporary, as it can take some time for your body to adapt to the new meal schedule.
If you have a medical condition, you should consult with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting.
This is particularly important if you:
- Have diabetes.
- Have problems with blood sugar regulation.
- Have low blood pressure.
- Take medications.
- Are underweight.
- Have a history of eating disorders.
- Are a woman who is trying to conceive.
- Are a woman with a history of amenorrhea.
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
WHO SHOULD BE CAREFUL OR AVOID IT:
Intermittent fasting is certainly not for everyone.
If you’re underweight or have a history of eating disorders, you should not fast without consulting with a health professional first.
In these cases, it can be downright harmful.
All that being said, intermittent fasting has an outstanding safety profile. There is nothing dangerous about not eating for a while if you’re healthy and well-nourished overall.
The most common side effect of intermittent fasting is hunger. People with certain medical conditions should not fast without consulting with a doctor first.
To know more about intermittent fasting, it’s science, methodology, do’s & don’ts, Know everything about Intermittent Fasting to get you started.