Fasting is not a new concept. All cultures, religions and countries practice different kinds of fasting at different seasons from centuries. From couple of years, intermittent fasting is gaining tremendous popularity throughout the world. Intermittent fasting is ‘manipulating an individual’s eating pattern’. It is cycling between periods of eating and fasting with intent to improve health. Read on to understand how it works.
Introduction to Intermittent Fasting
Fasting means complete removal of foods from that window period. Sufficient amount of water is allowed to flush out the toxins. Intermittent fasting boosts metabolic rate. It also reduces the amount of food consumed per day. Throughout the day, 70-75% of body’s energy is being used for digestion and metabolism. This energy gets saved while fasting. During this period BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) works more efficiently.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Fasting has the power to heal and has got several health benefits. A few are listed below
- There is decrease in insulin and increase in glucagon levels which encourages fat burning. This helps in reduction in the fat around internal organs especially visceral fat or abdominal fat.
- Decreased risk of diabetes, heart disease and blood pressure as there is reduction in insulin resistance.
- Rise in good cholesterol i.e. HDL level as it is needed to transport fats to fuel the body.
- Increase in human growth hormone production which encourages fat burning and protects muscle break down for glucose.
- Intermittent fasting helps body acquire resistance against oxidative damage. It also helps fight against inflammation and premature ageing.
- Inhibits the uncontrolled growth of unwanted cells which is particularly seen in different types of cancers.
- Induces autophagy i.e. over a period of time dysfunctional tissue protein gets built up inside the cells. During intermittent fasting, through cellular waste removal process, it gets broken down and metabolised to release energy.
Many people fail to achieve their health target even after following different fasting methods. Here we have shared generic information but one has to understand which one works best for them.
Factors to be considered before starting Intermittent Fasting
- If someone is underweight and have some history of eating disorders then they should not do it without consulting a health professional.
- Intermittent fasting may be not safe for women who are amenorrhoeic and who have fertility problems. It is not recommended for pregnant and lactating mothers.
- Not recommended for people who have problems with blood sugar regulation, low blood pressure and who are under regular medication.
- People with a busy lifestyle and which demands high energy levels throughout the day.
- It is not recommended for children and teenagers who are in fast growing stage.
- People with high stress level and psychological health problems must take guidance from a health professional before starting intermittent fasting.
There are many variations and approaches to follow intermittent fasting. These methods split a day or week into eating and fasting period. Most popular intermittent fasting methods are:
- Fasting for 2 consecutive days of the week and restrict calorie intake to 400 Kcal to 500 Kcal per day. One can have regular healthy diet on other days.
- Keeping 16 hours fast, and eating 3 meals within 8 hours window period every day. One should base these 8 hours on when food is needed for energy.
- One meal per day (typically dinner) for 8 weeks.
- Fast on Alternate days. Food is consumed for 24 hours and then restricted for next 24 hours every 2 days.
Hunger is the primary side effect here, which may lead to weakness and tiredness. Increased hunger may also lead to bingeing on days you do not fast, resulting in negative health effects. Since nutrients are not consumed while fasting, they are extremely important while breaking the fast. Hence, one has to seek professional assistance to monitor symptoms and adjust the diet to avoid negative and undesirable side effects.
Have you tried intermittent fasting before? Talk to our Experts at BucketList Dreams to know more about this.