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Intermittent fasting has become a popular way to lose weight. It is actually a dietary approach although it requires fasting. Intermittent fasting is not one of the latest fads.
Fasting for brief periods of time has been a common practice in a few cultures around the world for centuries.
Intermittent fasting is somewhat different as it is not confined to only a few days or a week in a year. Annual fasting is a ritual in many religions.
How You Can Lose Weight With Intermittent Fasting
There is a basic truth at the crux of the concept and practice of intermittent fasting.
The human body needs nutrition. It relies on calories for energy. Since fat and weight gain is essentially about unused calories stored as adipose, depriving the body of necessary foods for a brief period of time can compel the system to burn the fat to generate the required energy. Repeating this brief period of fasting will turn the body into a fat burning machine.
Intermittent fasting is a routine wherein you do not eat or drink for a chosen number of hours and then resume a healthy diet for a brief period of time before you fast again.
Intermittent fasting restricts intake of food and drinks. It can also be absolute wherein a person does not eat anything.
It is unwise to shun fluids, especially water.
Most intermittent fasting diets include water, fruit juices and other health drinks but avoid food altogether. Some diets include moderate or nominal servings of healthy foods. There is no unbreakable rule here.
You can create your own intermittent fasting schedule and you can choose a diet that is convenient for you.
Intermittent fasting does lead to weight loss.
There are different reactions in the body when you fast for several hours or up to a day. Most people do not prolong the fasting state longer than twenty four hours.
The maximum you may fast is thirty to thirty-six hours. Any longer and you will experience serious side effects.
Benefits Of Intermittent fasting
Fasting tends to improve glucose homeostasis, there is an increase in the production of growth hormone, there is temporary boost to available energy, oxidative stress is reduced and inflammations subside, the triglyceride levels go down and there is better regulation of blood pressure.
Intermittent fasting can also improve cognitive functions. It can build resistance to immune disorders and heart disease. There is reasonable evidence to believe that intermittent fasting enhances longevity, reduces the risks of age related ailments such as stroke and Alzheimer’s. Several studies have indicated that fasting has a preventive effect for many types of cancer.
There are basically two ways intermittent fasting can help you to lose weight.
- First, you will be depriving your body the requisite calories. The body will be compelled to burn the fat to produce energy so it can keep functioning. The fat stored in your belly, chest, back, hips and everywhere else will be gradually targeted and the deposits will be metabolized and converted to energy. This leads to weight loss.
- Second, your body will get rid of various toxins that usually buildup over a period of time. No one is immune to this toxic buildup. Even the healthiest people will have some toxic buildup in their intestines at the least. Most people have free radicals throughout their body.
Is Fasting Good for your Metabolism?
Fasting is good for your metabolism but only when you do not tread the extremes.
Metabolism is not a never-ending process.
The human body consumes energy throughout the day and even at night when you are sleeping.
However, metabolism is a time bound process. Very few people have a high rate of metabolism that runs round the clock. These people are usually slim or slender and they do not gain weight that easily. Metabolism also wanes with age and this is why weight gain becomes inevitable after a point in time.
Intermittent fasting helps metabolism in more than one way.
- First, it allows the gastrointestinal system to rest for a brief period of time. Modern life has ensured there is constant stress on the gastrointestinal system. The digestive system, including the stomach, the intestines, the pancreas and the liver are always tasked to process foods and beverages, to break them down and the body is in a perpetual mode of consumption and absorption. There has to be some time when the body can cleanse itself and basically reboot. Intermittent fasting helps the gastrointestinal system to reboot.
- Second, intermittent fasting calms down the body, notably the internal temperature. Whenever you consume any food or drink, the stomach secretes the acids, the liver secretes its juices, the pancreas produces the enzymes and the intestines get down to work on processing the substances to absorb energy and nutrients. There is a phenomenal amount of heat generated during these processes and lots of energy is also needed. Intermittent fasting provides relief for some time. There is no spike in internal temperature. Instead, the body cools down. A cooler digestive and gastrointestinal system is good for metabolism.
- Third, foods and drinks consumed by an average person take anywhere from eighteen hours up to thirty six hours to be completely processed, for the nutrients to be absorbed and the waste to be generated. Some people take longer than thirty six hours, especially those who have sedentary lifestyles and poor metabolism. The intestines keep working overtime to process every new meal, food or drink you consume. Intermittent fasting allows the intestines to work on the consumed foods and drinks, to absorb all the nutrients and then to generate the waste, properly and thoroughly. This augurs well for metabolism.
The human body is supposed to consume food or drink when it is hungry.
People nowadays eat regardless of how hungry they are.
This causes enormous stress in the gastrointestinal system. This is also why so many people have poor metabolism. Many people have metabolic syndrome. Resorting to a healthier approach to diet including some form of fasting is definitely good for metabolism.
However, fasting for a long time will have a negative effect on metabolism. The metabolic rate will slow down if you keep depriving yourself of essential foods.
Top 5 Popular Ways to do Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting means you will not eat for a certain number of hours and then resume your regular diet. You may fast for one day in a week. Or you might want to switch it up and fast on alternate days. You may also choose to fast for any two days every week.
Since there are a lot of possible ways to fast, let us consider the popular approaches around the world.
- One of the most popular method of intermittent fasting is known as the 16/8 approach. This effectively is sixteen hours of fasting every day. The eight hours is the eating window. Some people reduce the sixteen hours to fourteen. This method is popular among those who wish to lose weight and do so rapidly. Obese people may not lose much weight by fasting one day every week. You may come across this method described as Leangains protocol.
- The 5:2 diet is also popular. This method requires you to fast for two days every week. You should have a regular diet for five days and then restrict your calorie intake for two days. The calorie intake on these two days is usually confined to five hundred or six hundred. This is also known as Fast Diet.
- A popular approach is the eat stop eat method. You can fast for twenty four hours at least once and preferably twice every week. The twenty four hours includes your sleep. You should not have any food during the period of fasting. There is no calorie restricted diet in this method. If you begin your intermittent fast at seven in the morning, after having breakfast, then you should again have a meal at seven the next morning. You can do this from dinner to dinner or lunch to lunch.
- Alternate day fasting is useful for those who have substantial excess weight. Fast one day, eat healthy meals at the right times the next day and fast again on the third day. One problem with this diet is lack of energy, especially for those who have laborious jobs. You can restrict your calorie intake on the alternate days when you are fasting. Instead of a complete fast, eat around five hundred calories or so in order to avoid fatigue and exhaustion.
- The fifth popular approach is to fast during the entire day and have one large dinner in the night. This is also known as the warrior diet. You may also choose spontaneous intermittent fasting. You can skip meals whenever you want.
Some Frequently Asked Questions About Fasting:
Can you do keto and intermittent fasting?
Yes, you can do keto and intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting will help your body get into the ketosis phase sooner. The results will be more desirable and you will notice changes faster than usual. However, you should be aware of the side effects of combining keto and intermittent fasting.
What are the best foods to eat while fasting?
The best foods to eat while fasting are fruits, nuts, vegetables, beans, lean proteins such as fish, plenty of water, black coffee, green tea, cinnamon tea and herbal teas.