Am sure everyone has come across the words ‘Intermittent Fasting’ many times, and more so in reference to weight loss. Let’s understand what exactly Intermittent Fasting is?
Intermittent Fasting and how it’s done?
Intermittent Fasting is not a diet but a time table / pattern of periods of unrestricted eating and fasting between meals with no feed or calorie reduction. There is a time frame in which food can be consumed and thereafter it is like a fast.
Different Types of Intermittent Fasting:-
- The 5-2 Method: Fasting is done 2 days in a week and the calorie intake has to be under 600-800 and the remaining day’s food can be normally consumed.
- The 16-8 Method: A popular form of Intermittent Fasting is to eat within an 8 hour window and to fast for the remaining 16 hours including the hours we sleep.
- Alternate Day Method where every alternate day fasting is done.
- Warrior Diet Method: It is done not more than twice a week. Fasting is done for 20 hours and only raw fruits and vegetables and liquids can be consumed in between. At the end of the day a heavy meal can be taken.
Is Intermittent Fasting effective and is it supported by researchers?
The overall consensus terms it relatively safe and effective and if teamed with a healthy and active lifestyle aids in commendable weight loss and good health. (Given by Harvard health). It is considered safer and better than the short term/crash diets consisting of low calories. Various researches have shown a reduction in weight, inflammatory markers, blood sugar regulating hormones and serum cholesterol levels. Also fasting at night in intermittent fasting has been researched to improve circardian rhythm and sleep cycle, metabolic rate and secretion of hormones.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- The first and foremost benefit is weight and body fat loss.
- Many people use this method as it does not restrict the type of food; it only has restrictions on the timings, and gives a sense of not missing out different varieties of food and is more attainable than other diets.
- It is an inexpensive way to stay fit and lose weight and can be followed by everyone with proper care.
- Intermittent Fasting like a fast has many benefits like increasing longevity, improving insulin sensitivity, decreasing stress, oxidation and reduction in fat tissues, prevents us from formation of cancer cells in the body and heart diseases.
- By enhancing our overall health, it also gives our body and our digestive system breaks and rest in between.
- It helps in cleansing the body from within due to the periodic fasts and flushes out the toxins from the body.
- It prevents us from heart diseases and cancer.
Disadvantages of Intermittent Fasting
- Psychologically it harms a person’s well being by being stuck on a daily time table and its compliance.
- The eating window sometimes makes a person hungry and overeat the wrong kinds of food to sustain themselves for the fast to follow, resulting in under productivity, drained energy and lethargy in the body.
- It can lead to menstrual problem in lean women, hormonal imbalance and reduced testosterone in men.
- Insomnia, higher stress levels are also a result of intermittent fasting.
In a nutshell, Intermittent Fasting when done the right way along with a fresh and good intake of food and daily physical activity, its benefits outweigh its disadvantages and are more helpful and positive for overall well being.