What is Intermittent Fasting?
You may have heard about this new diet amongst your colleagues, friends or siblings. Intermittent fasting focuses on changing up cycles between consuming food and fasting. Many people believe that intermittent fasting means starving yourself, which is a completely wrong notion. To put it in simple terms, intermittent fasting is allotting yourself a certain number of hours in a day or days in a week to eat healthy and fasting during the rest. It is said that humans are no strangers to fasting and it also has certain health benefits. There are different types of intermittent fasting that one can follow basis of their comfort.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
- Twice-a-week or 5:2: This approach focuses on fasting two days a week, while capping your calories at 500-600 calories for that day. The rest of the day you can continue with your regular diet.
- Alternate days: This is a modified approach to twice-a-week fasting where one can follow a similar diet and cap their calories at 500-600 calories a day on alternate days of the week.
- Time restricted (16:8 or 14:10): In this method, you set either 8 hours or 10 hours of your day to eat and 16 hours or 14 hours to fasting. This type is usually followed every day.
- 24-hour fast once a week: As the name suggests, this refers to fasting completely for one day. This is usually followed only once a week.
Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Helps You Lose Weight
Most of them opt for intermittent fasting to lose weight. During this diet, not only are you taking in fewer calories given the time, but your body also lowers insulin levels. When your body breaks down carbohydrates, insulin helps it to turn to glucose to convert into fat. With lower insulin levels, your fat storage reduces and causes cells to release their glucose stores as energy. This leads to weight loss.
Lowers Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Intermittent fasting can help reduce insulin resistance, hence lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a leading concern in today’s day and age. Being overweight puts you on the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Intermittent fasting lowers insulin levels and cuts down fat storages.
Beneficial for Heart Health
Intermittent fasting is known to reduce many health risk factors which are directly related to heart disorders. Intermittent fasting is known to improve blood pressure, avert type 2 diabetes, cholesterol, inflammation and obesity. Hence, intermittent fasting helps improve your overall cardiovascular health.
Foster Cellular Repair Processes
While Intermittent fasting, cells in our body initiate a cellular waste rejection process called autophagy. This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing flawed proteins that are build up inside cells over time. Increased autophagy provides protection against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Good for Brain Health
Intermittent fasting enhances different metabolic features known to be vital for brain health. Intermittent fasting reduces inflammation, regulates blood sugar levels, build insulin resistance and curbs oxidative stress, which are keys to keep the brain healthy. Many studies in animals have shown that intermittent fasting could also escalate the growth of nerve cells and brain hormones, thus improving focus, memory and concentration.
Who Should NOT Fast?
- If you have an eating disorder or are underweight
- If you are pregnant
- If you are breastfeeding
- If you are below 18-years old
- If you are undergoing any medical condition or disorder