Summer is here and you cannot waste any more time to get that summer body you have always wanted.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is currently one of the world’s most popular fitness and health trends. You may have heard of this once or twice. But do you know what it is? What are its benefits? Who should practice this? And how should be your approach towards Intermittent fasting? Let’s find out.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is basically a cycle of fasting and eating periods. While diets focus on what you eat, intermittent fasting or IF focuses on when you eat. The length of fasting and eating periods can be determined as per the person’s will, capability, and previous eating habits. Some people fast for 10 to 16 hours in one day. Some fast for 20 hours and have just one meal in a day. And there are people who do fasts of 24 hours, one to two days a week. So, there’s something for everyone and it should be followed as per your capabilities.
Which plan is the best?
Intermittent fasting plans are of multiple types as mentioned above and there is no plan that is best and can give you better results than others. But generally, for beginners, it is advised that they start with the 16:8 plan. In this plan, you fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours every day. With practice, you can extend your fasting periods to 18 hours. And if you get comfortable with 18 hours you could go on to fast for 20 hours. Long fasting periods such as 24, 36, 49, or 72 hours might do you more harm than good and should be avoided. It might take your body 2 to 4 weeks to get accustomed to this change but you will be able to feel the change in as soon as two weeks.
What to eat during IF?
What is allowed during IF is highly debated. But during the fasting period, zero-calorie drinks like black coffee, water, and tea without milk are allowed. You can pretty much eat anything during your eating hours. But it is recommended not to go too crazy and have unhealthy meals such as junk food and super-sized fried items. To get the most out of the intermittent fasting program it is recommended that people try to eat as healthy as they can. You can have some light snacks like nuts and cashews during the first week of fasting since your body may not be accustomed to longer fasting periods.
What are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
There are a huge number of benefits that have been cited on the internet and elsewhere but here is a list of the benefits that actual scientific research has revealed so far.
- Thinking and memory. Scientists have discovered that intermittent fasting boosts working memory in animals and verbal memory in adult humans.
- Heart health. Intermittent fasting improves blood pressure and heart rates as well as other heart-related measurements.
- Physical performance. Young men who fasted around 16 hours showed fat loss while maintaining muscle mass. So, if you are not overdoing it, you won’t lose your hard-earned muscle mass.
- Diabetes and obesity. In animal studies, intermittent fasting prevented obesity. And in six brief studies, obese adult humans lost weight through intermittent fasting which can also help control diabetes.
- Tissue health. In animals, intermittent fasting reduced tissue damage in surgery and improved results. Results in human subjects have been scarce, but scientists have positively connected it with fasting habits.
There have been a number of studies that have pointed out that Intermittent Fasting is a viable way to lose weight. Weight loss is primarily caused by a reduction in calorie intake but it also makes some hormones come into play that helps lose weight. Intermittent fasting on its own may not help you lose a lot of weight and should be coupled with physical exercise. But it is far less complex than coming up with a proper customized diet plan. That said intermittent fasting is not for everyone and you should consult your doctor before you go ahead with that. This is especially for people who have health problems like hypertension, diabetes, or thyroid.
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