You may know about intermittent fasting in many ways, mostly for religious purpose. However, you must know what science says about it. So, today I am going to tell you it’s concept, some facts and different benefits about intermittent fasting. So let’s start.
First of all the word intermittent is occurring at irregular intervals which is not continuous or steady. Fasting is abstaining from all or some kinds of food or drink.
Especially as a religious observance, fasting carried out from long time.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern in which one should follow period of eating and period of fasting. It regulates when to eat foods rather than what foods to eat.
Although this does not regulate what foods to eat, individual should regulate foods menu to get maximum benefit to our body.
As we naturally already “fast” every day, while sleeping Intermittent fasting can be accomplished by extending that fast a little longer.
Intermittent fasting is trending from few years, as people are getting many benefits from this. Hope, this clears basic concept about intermittent fasting.
Types of intermittent fasting:
There are some types of intermittent fasting, they are as follows.
16/8 fasting pattern (Time-restricted feeding):
This is so popular fasting pattern that lot of people followed this fasting.
In 16/8 fasting pattern, there are 16 hours of fasting to be done. Individual should have to eat foods in 8 hours (2-3 or more meals).
If individual taking his/her first meal at 12 pm then his/her last meal should be at 8 pm (individual should restricts foods after his/her last meal at 8 pm to next day’s 12 pm). Generally for female 14-15 hours fasting seems significantly better.
In this 16 hours of fasting individual can drink water, coconut water and vegetable’s simple soup.
As I already mentioned, individual should eat nutritious foods during this 8 hours of window otherwise there will be no use with junk/oily foods.
Here, initially most of the people find this difficult, since they are not used to this pattern but don’t worry, to get used to it individual first fasting for 10 hours, then 12 hours and then 14 hours. As you get used to it, then start with proper 16/8 fasting pattern.
Alternate-day fasting pattern:
As name suggest, this includes eating on alternate day. In simple words, we can say fasting first day and eating second day.
There are two types in alternate-day fasting pattern.
Complete alternate-day fasting:
No meal (calories) is consumed on first day (Here completely restrictions to calories) followed by normal calories intake on second day.
Modified alternate-day fasting:
Consumed 25% (about 500-600 calories) of daily calories on first day followed by normal calories intake on second day.
Periodic fasting or 5:2 diet:
This is extreme fasting in intermittent fasting. Here individual eats 25% calories (about 500-600 calories) of daily calories for 2 fasting days in a week and taking normal calories for 5 days.
Some people doing this fasting at extreme level by taking no meal (complete calories restrictions) for 2 fasting days in a week and taking normal calories for 5 days.
This diet extended periods of fasting and short periods of feasting (eating).
According to few experts, this diet is stricter and may lead to nutrition deficiency, as this included 20 hours extreme fasting and 4 hours window for eating. In this 4 hours window, individual eats 85 to 90 percent calories of total daily calories (huge meal).
This diet is inappropriate for many groups (like athletes or pregnant women).
These are some main types of intermittent fasting. There are some other types also which are varies by different individual like spontaneous skipping (skipping meal when not feel hungry).
Benefits of intermittent fasting:
- It boosts weight loss. This is proved in many studies.
- Improve mechanism to heal body internally (internal organs, digestive system) by reducing inflammation. Read research article here.
- Increases energy (feeling fresh)
- Research says, IF reduces insulin resistance and protects against type 2 diabetes.
- It also helps to reduce bad cholesterol. Read here.
- According to a study, IF may increases life span, since body is stronger internally.
Is intermittent fasting safe?
- In starting you may feel hungry very frequently as your body is not used to this meal pattern
- You may also feel week because the calorie utilization of you body changes suddenly which affects metabolism and so the physical requirement of energy
- Temporarily your brain may also feel lazy and you may feel sleepy every time
- If you are a diabetic person then you need to take utmost care of your body because your body needs to regulate sugar level
- If you have low blood pressure then you need to maintain your daily diet because diet directly affects your blood pressure
- In pregnancy also intermittent diet is not recommended. Same applies to the breast feeding mother
Important things to consider during intermittent fasting:
You may drink water and other drinks during intermittent fasting. But these should be non caloric (should not contain sugar).
As you are skipping the breakfast so you need to maintain proper and healthy lifestyle. If you are consuming healthy food during the day time then body will maintain the energy level at the morning time
Its important to take good amount of protein intake so that you will not face muscle loss during fasting
How to start fasting?
In starting it may be a bit tough for you specially for the people feel hungry in the morning.
So, you should be care full and follow the below points-
First do fasting just for one or two days in a week
Consume liquid which is low in calorie but gives you energy. It can be coconut water, any juice without sugar.
Try different methods explained above. 16/8 fasting pattern or 5:2 diet may be helpful for you.
Consider following the pattern best suited according to your lifestyle.
You may find this not useful for you. If so then you need not to worry and ignore this idea of fasting. Nutritional methods cannot be same for everyone.
As you have seen there are many scientific studies proves that intermittent fasting is beneficial to our body and mind. But, there are many ways to do it. If it is performed under the supervision of nutritionist and health care professional then it can do wonders. This was already in practice by human kind since ages in different ways as well.
Friends, intermittent fasting is really good think to follow as there are lots of benefits out of it, however if you think about your eating pattern is already good and it is giving you benefits then IF can be ignored.
Yes you can try intermittent fasting, if you find this helpful and suitable for you. Calorie intake is different for different individual, hence depending on you need and lifestyle, you should take your diet which should keep yourself naturally fit.
So, please give your feedback in comment box and provide topic for my next article.