One of the most popular health trends these days is intermittent fasting. See how it can be used for weight loss, health improvement and simplification of lifestyle.
Various studies suggest that there are many benefits of intermittent fasting for both your body and brain.
Some even suggest that intermittent fasting could lead to a longer life. This post looks as at all the basics of intermittent fasting.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that consists of two periods. One period is for fasting and the other is for eating.
Even major religions such as Islam, Christianity, and Judaism support intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting does not specify which foods should be eaten during the eating period.
This is why intermittent fasting is not considered a diet in its conventional sense but is more accurately described as being an eating pattern. Common intermittent fasting methods involve fasting for 24 hours twice a week or daily for 16 hours.
Fasting is a practice that has been practiced throughout human evolution. Our ancestors did not have food available throughout the year.
There were no refrigerators or supermarkets to get food. There were times when our ancestors had nothing to eat. This resulted in humans evolving to function without food for an extended period.
The truth is that fasting from time to time is more natural than munching down on three to four snacks a day.
Methods of Intermittent Fasting
There are different ways of intermittent fasting and all of them involve splitting the week or day into fasting and eating periods.
During the fasting period, you either don’t eat at all or very little. The following are some of the popular methods of intermittent fasting.
1. The 5:2 Diet
This method involves the consumption of only 500 to 600 calories for two non-consecutive days of the week, and during the remaining 5 days of the week you eat as you normally would.
This method requires you to fast for 24 hours, every once or twice a week. For instance, you would not eat dinner one day until the next night.
3. The 16/8 Method
It is the most popular intermittent fasting method. It involves skipping breakfast and restriction of daily eating for 8 hours. It could be any time of the day such as 12-8 pm and then you fast for 16 hours.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
There are many benefits of intermittent fasting. These are explained below in detail.
1. Insulin resistance
When you opt for intermittent fasting, your insulin resistance is reduced as the blood sugar gets lowered. It helps protect you from type 2 diabetes.
2. Weight loss
Intermittent fasting helps you lose belly fat and weight without having to restrict your calories consciously.
Various studies show that intermittent fasting leads to a reduction in inflammation which helps prevent many chronic diseases.
4. Heart Health
When you fast, the bad LDL cholesterol levels are reduced. This helps reduce the risk of heart disease.