What is intermittent fasting ?
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT INTERMITTENT FASTING
What is intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting basically determines an individual’s pattern of eating that goes around a period of fasting and eating. It generally does not state a certain type of diet or food items that can be consumed instead it emphasis on the time during which a person can eat. In the modern era, it has gained a lot of recognition and it is considered as a healthy way of living.
Why has intermittent fasting gained popularity in the recent years?
Intermittent fasting has become one of the trending ways which is relatively easy to follow rather than the other diets because there is no restriction on the food items that are consumed which means a person is not refrained from eating carbohydrates or fats if time is properly managed.
People struggling with obesity tend to be attracted towards this lifestyle as it automatically reduces the calorie intake and hence it leads to reduction of weight overtime. Moreover, people also tend to be mesmerized by a eating pattern that they can sustain in the long-term and can benefit from it. Hence, intermittent fasting is now seen as a healthy pattern of eating rather than just a diet that enables a person to lose weight.
BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING OTHER THAN WEIGHT-LOSS:
Intermittent fasting not only has benefits related to weight loss but other health benefits such as reduction in inflammation. Inflammation generally helps the body in fighting with infections that might arise but too much inflammation can be alarming and is caused by frequent eating of meals. Hence, intermittent fasting can aid in reduction of such inflammation that might be in high in the body. Secondly, heart diseases can also be avoided. Since intermittent fasting promotes regular fasts, it reduces the cholesterol level in ones body. However, when there will be no access gaining of weight there will lower risk of diabetes and in turn reduction in heart diseases too. Other than this it also reduces the risks of brain diseases, anti-aging and possibly leads to a longer healthier life.
Types of fasts:
There are many different ways an individual can practice intermittent fasting as discussed below:
This is the most common one which most of the people find suitable. In this time bound a person is expected to fast for a span of 16 hours and can eat in the remaining 8 hours. This eating time is also referred to as the eating window. This pattern generally has to be followed on a daily basis by strictly managing the clock only. The time can be set according to a person preference. For example, if a person is a late riser they can set a eating window between 2pm to 10pm and fast for the remaining time.
This type of fasting is very similar to the one mentioned above. The only difference in this is that you get an eating window of only 4 hours which means that a person following this has to fast for 20 hours a day.
In this type of fasting pattern a person fasts for more than 24 hours or on alternative days. This generally means fasting from dinner to dinner. This means if eat breakfast one day then you will possibly have to skip lunch and dinner on that day and eat breakfast the next day after 24 hours.
Can intermittent fasting be done by everyone?
Though there has been an increase in popularity for intermittent fasting and has also got a very positive feedback, it certainly is not for every person. The people who are already underweight should definitely consult a nutritionist before trying out something like this. Moreover, it is also discovered that this diet has been more beneficial to men than it has been to women. This can be proven by the fact that the people who start intermittent fasting get results in form of improved insulin level but on the other hand; women can face reduction in their blood sugar level that can hamper their health. In addition to this women who are pregnant or are breast feeding should also avoid such eating pattern. Also there can be a number of side effects of this change in lifestyle. A person’s body might start to feel weak and not function up to the mark but this is possibly temporary and gets better as soon as the body gets immune.
Tips to Ace the intermittent fasting:
A person who has decided to follow this eating pattern should keep in mind that they might feel hungry in the initial stages but this problem gets better as time passes and the body gets used to of lower calorie intake. During the fasting period a number of zero calorie drinks can be taken such as green tea, black coffee, black tea which can help stimulate hunger for a short period of time. In addition to this, keep yourself busy with some work as boredom may result in your enemy. Most of the times you are not even hungry, it is just boredom that strikes and this will lead you to eat unnecessary calories. Also, to achieve a positive result a person should make sure that they do not binge on food during their eating window and eat wisely keeping track of the calories that they are consuming. Last but not the least, a person has to keep them self dedicated and motivated towards it and do not giveup!
Intermittent fasting is a newly emerged and healthy approach to lose weight. It means that the can eating in specified hours of day or to cut down calories in specified days of week.
When your body goes in fasting condition, it first consumes body carbs and then goes to body fat to gain energy to do daily work.
Is intermittent fasting helpful?
If for you, helpful diet means the one that will help you to quickly loose weight then you are wrong. Losing weight through a healthy approach requires patience and consistency. A person following fad diet to lose weight will soon regain it when coming back to normal diet
What is an eating window?
Eating window is the period of day when you can eat, or you break the fast. The food choices for eating window must be healthy, rich in fruits and vegetables, and a high protein complex carbohydrate diet
Is fasting hour different based on gender?
It is not a compulsion, but studies have shown that the different intermittent fasting hours have worked differently based on one’s gender
For women, a 14:10 plan is more effective where the female can eat from healthy food choices for 10 hours in a day. But, for men, the 16:8 plan has worked more effectively for them to lose weight
Is intermittent fasting a healthy choice for everyone?
The answer is no. no diet plan or lifestyle fits for all, that is for sure. A person goes through several stages of lifecycle during one life. In every stage, body requires different nutrient and calories for proper growth and development
Here are some life-stages and health conditions where intermittent fasting is not recommended
1. Pregnant and lactating women
The female who is pregnant or is breastfeeding needs a continuous supply of required nutrients to fulfil the nutrient needs of her body and the baby. Intermittent fasting can lead to child’s undergrowth and development
A person who is already underweight means that the person is taking deficient calories in his or her diet daily. Intermittent fasting will further lead to weight-loss and weakness that will ultimately lead to underweight complications like certain nutrients like vitamins or mineral deficiencies
Old people might consume less calories, but they require a continuous supply of energy to main their body weight and avoid weakness. Intermittent fasting is not at all recommended for older people
4.People suffering from illness
A person who is already suffering from a weakness requires special care. Each disease or illness has its own nutrient and dietary modification requirement. It is the duty of the nutritionist or dietitian to take of the body needs of the diseased person
Whereas intermittent fasting will lead to further nutrient deficiency that will result in accelerated disease and associated complications
What if I crave for food during fasting?
While following an intermittent diet plan, if one feels weakness or tired, they can consume less than 50 kcals to overcome the immediate body needs. In this way, the body remains in the fasting state, but the needs are met for a while.
Some preferred snack options are following but the quantity must be effectively monitored
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Bone broth
- Seeds like flaxseeds, chia seeds etc.
Are zero calorie drinks an option?
The simple answer to this question is yes, you can. There are a number of zero calorie drinks that can be consumed in addition to plain water during the fasting stage of your time. These zero caloric drinks are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals
- Green tea
- Black tea
- Black coffee
- Apple cider
- Lemon water
Can I binge eat to break the fast?
Many of you might think that fasting for several hours is reason enough to break your fast with all the fried, fatty, and sugary foods of the world. Well, I am sorry to break it to you, but it is a myth. If you have been following your intermittent fasting plan this way, you might have gained several pounds instead of loosing them
When one breaks fast, they must go for healthy options. One must consume foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals like fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates like whole wheat flour and high protein foods. The low-fat dairy, nuts and seeds and oils like olive oil must be preferred. You must fulfil your daily caloric requirement but with healthy meals
Types of intermittent fasting
There can be two ways of intermittent fasting
Based on hours
One must fast for several hours and then break by adding healthy food options in diet.
1. 14:10 fasting plan
This diet plan is found to be most effective in females. Females follow 16 hours of fasting and then they have an eating window of 8 hours, where they can consume healthy foods based on their caloric and nutrient needs
2. 16:8 fasting plan
This type of intermittent fasting plan is found to show positive results in male body. The male fasts for 16 hours followed by an eating window of 8 hours. The food consumed must be based on healthy food options recommended by the nutritionist according to their body and nutrient needs.
This plan is also proved to have additional health benefits other than weight loss. It lowers blood pressure and when combined with resistance training, it reduces body fat mass. But in women it has proved not to increase the muscle mass.
3.20:4 fasting plan
It is also called The Warrior Diet. This is an intense plan that has the shortest eating window of 4 hours. It is followed by people living a sedentary life or people looking for abrupt weight loss option. This is the least preferred option.
One can consume calories in the form of non-starchy raw vegetables and fruits, boiled eggs, and low-fat dairy in addition to zero caloric drinks. In the 4 hours window, the person can consume any large meal that fulfil his caloric needs of the day.
Based on days
The intermittent fasting is divided in days where you follow your normal eating plan for some days and consume limited number of calories in other days
1. 5:2 fasting plan
This is the plan where one continues eating normal for 5 days of a week and then they must consume limited calories for 2 days. The calories must be reduced to one-fourth of total caloric intake. The days are divided alternatively e.g. you consume normal for 2 days and they follow limited caloric intake for one day and so on.
This plan is specifically beneficial for people having type 2 diabetes mellitus
2. Alternative day fasting
This follows one on one off days of normal and restrictive food consumption. Studies have shown that combining the alternative day fasting with endurance exercise doubles the weight loss.
Intermittent fasting is a healthy weight loss plan for person who has no associated health risk. One can consume under 50 kcals foods during fasting in case of weakness, followed by healthy food choices to break the fast. You can get you customized diet plan according to your gender and body needs. If you are a patient person looking for a healthy way to shred the excess body weight, intermittent fasting can be the solution to your problem.
Losing weight by giving up on your favorite food is everyone’s dream, and intermittent fasting is the answer to that. It has helped many people in losing weight and also has proved beneficial in treating some diseases. In this article, we will see the correct ways of doing intermittent fasting and how a person can get maximum advantages from intermittent fasting by doing it in the right ways.
Intermittent fasting(IF) is the pattern of eating in which you control your eating timings by switching between fasting and eating on a regular schedule. It is not dieting, but it is a pattern of eating.
Intermittent fasting has many methods, and every method works out in different ways for different people. So the key is to determine which method will work best for you.
Methods of IF
Some various methods of intermittent fasting are:
1- The 16:8 Method/ Leangain:
This is considered as an easy method of intermittent fasting. In this method, you divide your day in a ratio of 16 and 8 hours, meaning you don’t eat in a period of 16 hours, adjust your eating window for a period of 8 hours. For example, if you eat at 8 P.M, you would be eating your next meal at 12 P.M. This is the easiest approach as you spent most of your fasting time sleeping. Many people who skip their breakfast are doing this type of intermittent fasting unintentionally
Although you have to be conscious of what you eat in the time span of your eating, it should primarily be nutritious enough to fulfill your dietary needs and not consist of large portions of junk food.
2- The 5:2 Method/The fast diet:
It is currently the most popular type of intermittent fasting that helps in weight loss as well as has some other possible but still unproven health benefits. Michael Mosley was the first person who introduced this method.
In this diet, you eat in a normal way for five days of a week, but on two days, you eat very limited calories about 25% of the usual calorie total i.e., 500 and 600 calories for women and men, respectively. The key is to choose your fasting days wisely, for example, choose the days in which you are busier this will keep your mind off food and make your fast easy.
3- Alternate day fasting/ Updayupdown:
Alternate day fasting, also known as feast and fast because you eat on one day and fast on the other day and repeat it until you achieve the desired weight loss. This is quite an extreme form of intermittent fasting, and most people find it difficult to stick with it. Mostly you have to starve on your fast day, but if you want to add something, you can take 25% calories your non-fast days.
In month-long research on Alternate day fasting(ADF), the participants in the study showed almost seven pounds of weight when they follow the ADF.
The question is whether the ADF is safe or not, due to its extreme nature. It is suggested that even the people who are going to opt the ADF for their weight loss should consult the doctor. This shows the seriousness of the ADF.
ADF can be especially harmful if you have some underlying health problems, and you are taking medicines for the treatment because taking certain medicines without eating can cause problems such as headaches or can upset your gastrointestinal tract.
So, in conclusion, if you are going to try ADF, do it with the guidance of a doctor. But ADF is not the best option for your weight loss solution. There are some healthy and less extreme ways, such as following a balanced diet and doing exercise that will also provide you benefits in long-term ways.
OMAD, abbreviation for one-meal-a-day, is the method of intermittent fasting in which you eat one meal a day of your choice. This type aims for 23:1 fasting ratio. Most people eat their meal between 4-7 p.m. because this window can give you time which allows you eat with your family and friends and enough time to digest your meal before going to bed.
OMAD can be hard in the beginning due to extreme fasting levels, but if you want to start slow, start by fasting for shorter periods of time, for example, start by fasting for 16-20 hours at a time, and then extend your fasting windows to 23 hours per day.
OMAD fasting has shown to help weight loss as well as other beneficial health effect such as prevention of chronic diseases, in some researches it has also shown regulation of blood glucose level, which is helpful for diabetic patient.
Unfortunately, OMAD diet is accompanied by some disadvantages, because you are not allowed to eat for the whole 23 hours, it will make you fell starved, and you will be more tempted to eat unhealthy food such as, pizza, burgers, etc., the food which is high in carbs and is not enough to fulfill your nutritional requirements.
5- The warriors diet:
Ori Hofmekeler introduced the warrior diet, for the first time in 2001. The base of this for is the eating pattern of ancient warriors, who used to eat very little during and then eat at night.
In this method of intermittent fasting, you fast for 20 hours a day and then during 4 hours of your eating window you can feast on whatever you want. Although during your fasting window your are allowed to take non- caloric fluids, as well as small amounts of dairy products, raw vegetables, fruits, and hard boil eggs.
Due to extreme fasting hours, people are prone to binge on the high caloric foods, but Hofmekeler suggested that your foods should consist of foods that contain healthy fats, large portion of proteins, such as dairy foods like cheese and yogurt.
The warriors diet has, in addition to weight loss, has many other advantages such as, the prevention of the problems that are caused by eating to many meals per day. It has also shown benefits in diabetes.
As the warriors diet is one of the extreme forms of intermittent fasting, it can lead to irrational eating habits during the non-fasting hours, and several side effects, for example fatigue, mood swings, anxiety, stress, etc. It also can cause problems such as nutritional imbalances.
6- Spontaneous meal skipping:
Spontaneous meal skipping is the easiest method of intermittent fasting and is perfect for you, if you are unable to stick to harder methods which include intensive fasting. Skipping meals when you are not feeling hungry is very healthy form of intermittent fasting. For example if you don’t feel like eating lunch then just simply don’t eat it.
But the key is not to over-eat when you eat your next meal. Because it would produce no benefits, can also cause some adverse effects to your metabolism.
Meal skipping, in addition to its weight loss benefits, has some very good health benefits, like it is helpful in reducing cholesterol levels, increases levels of antioxidants, improve asthma symptoms, and reduces the inflammation rate in the body.