Intermittent fasting is a way of eating that repeats itself between periods of eating and not eating/fasting over a specific period of time. It is a term in which many diets are included. It does not generally include a particular diet plan in which one dictates what to eat, on the contrary, it instructs us to take our meals after a specific period of time. In this article, you will be fully informed of each and every aspect of intermittent fasting.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting includes a diet time table than a diet plan. It dates as back as to ancient stone age times, where people used to fast due to their religious obligations, e.g. Muslims, Christians, Jews, or simply because they had nothing to eat. People did not use to have constant access to food as there were no supermarkets and processed, organic food back then, so they had to willingly or unwillingly fast on and off.
So in this way, intermittent fasting is more natural than a normal teenager munching on a bag of chips all day long. It is not surprising, that intermittent fasting is very famous in today’s health circles and fitness training centres. It is actually easier than it sounds, you just have to not eat anything or eat very less for an extended period of time, say 14 to 36 hours. The choice is yours to make.
All of us unconsciously fast during the time we are sleeping, add few more hours to this, and you will be making a good step towards improving your health or losing all those extra pounds, but first before taking this step, or starting any sort of diet, we must weigh its pros and cons, should be fully informed whether it is good for us, and then decide which method is best for us.
Why intermittent fasting is right for you?
Intermittent fasting is very beneficial to you, as reducing your calorie consumption can increase your life span by 1/3rd, reduces the risk of so many diseases, and detoxifies your body of all the harmful toxins and substances found in your body.
Given below are some amazing benefits you can get from intermittent fasting, and following them can help you move into the path of healthy life permanently.
Intermittent Fasting and Weight loss
This is one of the reasons why most of the people fast intermittently. As you decrease the amount and number of meals, you automatically reduce the total calorie intake, and this leads to weight loss.
It also changes the hormonal balance in the body which also helps reduction in the weight. When you are fasting, the hormone noradrenaline is released, which is actually a fat-burning hormone and cuts down all those stored reserves of fats in the body. It also increases the metabolic rate, thus, the body automatically keeps on burning the calories and burning the fat. In this way, you are eating less (taking fewer calories) and losing more (more calories burned), this leads to weight loss.
Studies have shown that through intermittent fasting, people have lost have more weight than all the other diets and reduced the waist line which is actually the harmful fat stored around the vital organs of the body. When you are continuously compromising on the total calorie intake, you also lose muscle mass in addition to fat loss, but in intermittent fasting, there is little muscle loss which is way healthier and without any side effects.
Intermittent fasting can be a very good treatment for type 2 diabetes, as it lowers blood glucose levels by reducing the resistance to insulin.
It strengthens the heart greatly by reducing the blood glucose level, reducing insulin resistance, controlling blood low-density lipoprotein and blood triglyceride levels.
It can also help reduce the risk of cancer. It can greatly reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and this is the reason doctors recommend the patients who are about to undergo chemotherapy, to fast on alternate days or fast intermittently.
Intermittent fasting has shown to reduce the inflammation in the body which leads to many other diseases.
It also helps improve brain health by increasing the production of a hormone which stimulates the production of new nerve cells.
As intermittent fasting has shown to increase the lifespan of a person, it also slows down the ageing process of a person.
Do’s and don’ts during fasting
There are many do’s and don’ts you should consider while doing intermittent fasting. So here are all the guidelines you should apply to your fasting routine, know what kinds of food you can have and not have during the fast, and what kind of workout routine would be better to follow during the fast.
- You can have any type of drink, as long as it is 0 – 50 calorie in range. It can be tea, coffee, or any other healthy beverage. If taking tea or coffee, try not to add sugar although milk and a dash of cream would be fine. Coffee is very much preferred as it can kill all those hunger pangs
- Try to drink as much water as possible as it will help in the detoxification of the body and also keep you hydrated.
- Skipping breakfast is a good idea but as long as it does not make you eat piles of food during lunchtime. My advice would be to take your breakfast at 1 pm, and also make it healthy and fill it with foods you like so you would not feel cranky the whole day.
- You can also take your supplements during fasting without any hesitation. However, keep in mind that some of the supplements you are taking are fat-soluble, that is they can be absorbed only in a fat-loving environment so it will be better to take these supplements during the non-fasting period.
- You should not be ingesting processed foods, inorganic foods, fries or deep-fried foods, bakery stuff with high sugar level, meat, butter and most of the dairy.
- When you are doing alternate day fasting, you can have coffee, tea, and 0 calorie beverages like green tea, of course without sugar but on the non-fasting days you can eat anything you like but that too in a moderate amount.
- Opt for small meals during the first few days of the fasting routine
Intermittent Fasting Tips For Training Or Working out
If you are training or working out early in the morning in a fasted day, it is recommended to take one big cup of coffee so that you can kick start it, and in lunch and dinner, you need to add a large portion of protein to make up for the lost muscle and energy resources. During dinner time take about half of the total protein, as after that you are going to have to start a big period of fasting. Along with that, add raw vegetables to also provide you with fibre and a whole nutritious diet.
If your workout session or training session is in between lunch and dinner, it is recommended that During lunch you need to keep the amount of fat low and maybe go a little high on protein and carbs. Taking a piece of meat with some bread and some fruit afterwards would not hurt. Also, you need to take your lunch about 2 – 3 hours before working out. During dinner time you need to add fats so, your body can slowly digest it overnight. You can have pasta, rice or whatever healthy fats of your liking.
Working out after dinner time probably suits most of the people as they are free to anything after this time. So add the most amount of proteins and carbs during dinner time so you have enough energy for your workout/training and also you are able to burn off the calories you have consumed throughout the day.