Intermittent fasting (or IF) is rapidly becoming the most widespread fitness and health trend. Many people are using IF to lead a better lifestyle, improve health, and lose weight. There are several studies that have demonstrated the powerful effects that occur on the brain and body due to intermittent fasting. Some studies have even shown that IF can help you live longer.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It does not say anything about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them. There are several different intermittent fasting methods, all of which split the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods.
Intermittent fasting is a popular method that people use to:
- simplify their life
- lose weight
- improve their overall health and well-being, such as minimizing the effects of aging
Popular methods to do IF
There are several ways to perform intermittent fasting. Some of them are:
- 16:8 Method
The 16:8 diet is a type of time-restricted fasting done to achieve better health or lose weight.
On the 16:8 diet, you spend 16 hours of each day consuming nothing but unsweetened beverages like water, coffee, and tea. The remaining eight-hour window is when you eat all of your meals and snacks. Most people do this by starting a fast at night, skipping breakfast, and eating their first meal in the middle of the day.
- 5:2 Method
The 5:2 diet is a popular intermittent fasting method that involves reducing your food intake on two days of the week. Also this eating program allows you to eat normally for five days, then on two days of your choice, you significantly restrict calories.
This diet is appealing to many people who are trying to slim down or improve their health.
In this method, all you need to do is fast for 24 hours once or twice a week. This form of Intermittent Fasting will help you lose body fat and inches because it ensures a calorie shortfall over the course of the week.
Eat-Stop-Eat is somewhat similar to the 5:2 method of intermittent fasting, where you eat normally five days a week and the other two days you can eat 500 calories. Eat-Stop-Eat is more difficult since it is free from any diet. It is always recommended that if you want to try intermittent fasting meal plan Eat-Stop-Eat method, talk with your doctor or nutritionist first, then try one day a week and see how it goes and consult to know how often should you do Eat-Stop-Eat intermittent fasting.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
The benefits have been demonstrated in humans with powerful positive effects in weight control, brain and body health. In addition, intermittent fasting can also help in living a longer life.
Some health benefits are listed below:
1. Insulin Resistance
This Fasting reduces insulin resistance and helps lower blood sugar levels by 3-6%. Fasting insulin levels are reduced by up to 20-31%. And this provides significant protection from type 2 diabetes.
Fasting supercharges metabolism, making the body more efficient at breaking down nutrients and burning calories. It also slows down the degradation of DNA, which is what occurs when we age, and accelerates DNA repair, thus slowing down the aging process.
3. Brain Health
Intermittent fasting seems to keep our brains staying younger. It may even protect against Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.
4. Heart Health
Regular fasting can decrease your low-density bad cholesterol. It’s also thought that fasting can improve the way your body metabolizes sugar. This can reduce your risk of gaining weight and developing diabetes as they are both risk factors for heart disease.
5. Weight Loss
While examining the rate of weight loss, intermittent fasting may produce weight loss at a rate of approximately 0.55 to 1.65 pounds (0.25–0.75 kg) per week. People also experienced a 4–7% reduction in waist circumference and indicating that they lost belly fat.