The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting: How It Can Change Your Life18 Apr, 2023
Are you wondering how intermittent fasting works and what benefits it can have for your health? This guide will explain everything you need to know!
Are intermittent fasting diets healthy?
While many diets are all about what you should eat, intermittent fasting focuses on when you should eat.
According to research, eating only one meal a few days a week or fasting for a specific number of hours each day has countless health benefits.
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- Through calorie restriction and acclimating the body to smaller serving sizes, intermittent fasting is a form of diet that helps people lose weight.
- The Eat, Stop, Eat method of fasting entails skipping meals for an entire day, followed by a regular diet, and then another 24 hours of fasting.
- Benefits of intermittent fasting include weight loss, improved memory, improved heart health, reduced tissue damage, improved physical performance, and lowered blood pressure.
- The most crucial thing to keep in mind while practicing intermittent fasting is to make sure the body continues to receive adequate nutrients.
How does intermittent fasting work?
Alternating between eating and fasting at consistent intervals is known as intermittent fasting. Contrary to popular belief, intermittent fasting does not equate to starving yourself for days on end. Rather it is more about cutting down on calorie intake to reduce weight by getting your body accustomed to lesser portions of food. This helps reduce your cravings and minimizes your intake of unhealthy snacks.
There are many effective methods of intermittent, but ultimately it comes down to preference. It could take some trial and error at first if you want to practice intermittent fasting, so your first focus should be to figure out what works best for you.
Which intermittent fasting method works best for you?
While the idea of intermittent fasting is attractive, how you maintain your diet is extremely important. There are many ways to do it but unfortunately, not all might be suitable for you.
The most important thing to take care of during intermittent fasting is to ensure that your body still gets enough nutrition.
You should properly research before starting your fast and the best way to do that is to talk to your doctor before deciding. As what works for others might not work for you, it is best to avoid unnecessary complications and instead consult a dietician who will work out a proper diet schedule for you.
These are some of the methods of intermittent fasting that you can observe:
- Eating with time restrictions- The 16/8 or 14/10 method
This method involves setting diet windows for the consumption of food.
The 16/8 method is a popular mode of fasting during which you eat only between 10 am and 6 pm. And that means, eating for 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours.
Similarly, the 14/10 method involves eating only between 9 am and 7 pm which means fasting for 14 hours and eating for 10 hours. This kind of intermittent fasting is best for beginners and is highly convenient as you sleep for 8-9 hours every day during which you are already fasting.
Just make sure to set the right fasting window according to your health.
- Eating twice a week- The 5/2 method
This method involves setting a limit to your calorie intake for two days a week.
You can maintain this fast by restricting your calorie consumption to 500 for your designated two days of fasting and maintaining a regular diet for the rest of the five days. However, make sure to eat the same amount of food that you regularly eat on non-fasting days. But ensure that they are below 500 calories for those two days.
Opt for foods rich in fiber and low in calories to make up for your nutrition while fasting.
- Eating on alternative days-
This method involves fasting or lowering calorie intake on alternative days. For example, consuming below 500 calories on fasting days and continuing your regular diet every other day.
- Fasting for 24 hours (Eat, stop, Eat method)
This mode of intermittent fasting involves abstaining from eating food for 24 hours at a stretch.
Fast for a whole day, then continue your regular diet before fasting for another period of 24 hours.
This fast is best observed once or twice a week and is mostly observed from breakfast to breakfast or from lunch to lunch.
Make sure to continue a healthy, well-balanced diet on non-fasting days to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
Can intermittent fasting cause weight loss?
Short-term fasting results in consumption of less calories, which could eventually lead to weight loss. Studies suggest alternate- day fasting is the most effective diet method for weight loss, as it involves longer period of fasting. Fasting triggers the process of ketosis, a metabolic process in which the body burns down stored fat for energy when there is insufficient glucose. Eating fewer calories along with production of ketones in the body helps reduce weight.
Does intermittent fasting work quickly?
You must fast for a minimum of 12 hours at least to experience the advantages of intermittent fasting. Your body needs that long to transition from using glucose to using fat for energy. As your body needs some time to adjust to this new food regimen, don't be impatient for an immediate outcome. The body may need at least two to four weeks just to get used to intermittent fasting. Then, it all really depends on how well you maintain your fast and what you consume during non-fasting periods.
Can intermittent fasting lower cholesterol?
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) are the two main kinds of cholesterol found in the body. LDL is referred to as "bad" cholesterol because it can clog up your blood vessel walls, leading to atherosclerosis and heart attack.
By reducing body fat, intermittent fasting aids in weight loss. Lower cholesterol levels are directly correlated with lower levels of body fat and LDL cholesterol levels drop by roughly 25% while fasting. This is because the body begins to burn fat instead of stored sugar for energy during intermittent fasting.
Why intermittent fasting is not good for some people?
Observing intermittent fasting can be risky for certain people, including pregnant women, children, and those suffering from chronic illnesses. Individuals with eating disorders and at risk of hypoglycemia should also avoid intermittent fasting and any other kind of fasting.
Intermittent fasting can also have negative side effects on your health, if not observed carefully. It can lower your energy levels, cause irritability, and hamper your productivity at work.
Therefore, you must be extremely cautious during intermittent fasting and take care not to let it drastically affect your health. Before you undertake a diet with intermittent fasting, make sure to contact your dietician or a medical professional to advise you on options. They will be better able to guide you on what method of fasting caters to your current health conditions.
Will intermittent fasting cause muscle loss?
If your diet includes enough protein, then you do not have to worry about muscle loss with intermittent fasting. Eating lots of protein along with resistance workouts help preserve your muscles while you are intermittent fasting. Make sure to include adequate protein and carbs while maintaining a consistent diet plus workout schedule.
What can you eat during intermittent fasting?
Starving yourself while intermittent fasting and then eating unhealthy snacks during non-fasting period nulls the benefits you get from this diet. You are likely to gain weight if you feed your stomach with too many treats to satiate hunger after intermittent fasting. Therefore, you should be careful of what you eat during your regular diets between intermittent fasting.
During intermittent fasting, avoid eating high-calorie and processed foods. Be careful even with what you drink. Water is of course included, and so is black coffee and other zero-calorie beverages.
The food you consume when you are on intermittent fasting should majorly come from food groups such as lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Eating a well-balanced diet with lots of vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats is most recommended while intermittent fasting.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting has innumerable benefits and doesn’t just involve weight loss.
This metabolic switch helps protect the body against diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, degenerative brain disorders, and even cancers.
Here are some benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Weight Loss
- Boosts memory
- Improves heart health
- Prevents Obesity and Diabetes
- Reduces Tissue Damage
- Enhances Physical Performance
- Lowers Blood Pressure
It is certainly easy to start eating healthily, but it can become difficult to keep up as time goes by. With intermittent fasting you can plan your mealtimes instead of completely restricting what you eat like other diets. With no additional preparation or planning, intermittent fasting is a simple diet to incorporate into your daily routine.
However, it is better to speak with your doctor before you begin your new diet schedule with intermittent fasting. They will guide you on which method of fasting to choose and how long you should maintain the diet. If you are battling obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes, having health insurance coverage can support you in times of need. When it comes to purchasing health insurance, our team of insurance experts will guide you through every detail and ensure that our insurance quotes match your requirements.
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