What is intermittent fasting? What you should eat on intermittent fasting for weight loss? These are the two most surfed questions on the internet. This article is the ultimate beginner’s guide to intermittent fasting.
What is intermittent fasting?
Fasting has been a practice throughout evolution. In ancient times, there are no sources to store food. Sometimes they go long without eating. Fasting is very common and often done for religious reasons, including Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity.
Intermittent fasting is a health trend nowadays. It is one of the most practicing diets in the world. It can also be called intermittent energy restriction.
It is voluntary fasting over a while and having meals in a given non-fasting period. Recent studies claim that practicing this type of diet can cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, reduce the risk of diet-related diseases. You can have normal healthy foods in a specified time pattern.
Types of Intermittent fasting
There are three main ways to do intermittent fasting (simply IF). They are periodic fasting, alternate-day fasting, and time-restricted feeding.
Periodic intermittent fasting is an Eat-stop-eat method. It also called a 5:2 diet method.
This type of practice involves eating normally 5 days a week and fasting for 2 whole days on the alternate days or dropping the calories to 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men on these fasting days.
Alternate-day fasting involves fasting for 24 hours on alternate days and eating 25-30% less than the daily energy required on non-fasting days.
Most people follow this type of fasting method. This method involves eating only for a certain number of hours and fasting for the remaining hours in a day. This method can be followed in several variations like 16:8, 12:12, 18:6.
In this 16:8 type, you should be in a fasting state for 16 hours a day and only 8 hours are allowed to have your meals. No food or calorie-containing liquids are allowed to have in this fasting period.
In the same way, 12:12 is 12 hours of fasting followed by 12 hours of feeding time and similarly, 18:6 is 18 hours of fasting followed by 6 hours of feeding time.
Why is it good to go with intermittent fasting?
- Weight loss is a common reason for people to try this type of diet. Along with weight loss, it has several health benefits.
- The American Heart Association (AHA) clearly states that intermittent fasting may help in weight loss, reduce insulin resistance, and lower the risk of cardio-metabolic diseases.
- A 2019 study concluded that practicing this type of fasting may help with obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia (abnormal amount of lipids in the blood), hypertension, and inflammation. This type of diet is not food-restricted, rather the timings.
- When we are in the fasting period, we get a significant reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels. As a result, the Human Growth Hormone (HGH) increases drastically. This has benefits on fat loss and muscle gain.
- When the insulin levels in the blood decrease, insulin sensitivity improves and makes stored body fat more accessible.
- Intermittent fasting reduces the abnormal amount of lipids in the blood and directly reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) and improves heart health.
- Some studies even claim that intermittent fasting may prevent some types of cancers.
- Intermittent fasting also protects against Alzheimer’s disease by increasing the Brain hormone called BDNF.
- Intermittent fasting along with proper exercises (Either home workouts or in the gym) gives you a good physique.
What you should eat on intermittent fasting for weight loss:
Intermittent fasting is a time-restricted method that follows alternating cycles of fasting and eating to reduce calorie intake.
Generally, you can have normal healthy foods like fruits, dal, lentils, beans, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.
What to avoid on intermittent fasting for weight loss:
Fat rich foods, sugars, coke, soft drinks, alcohol, and All Processed foods. Avoid eating before going to bed. Maintain at least 2-3 hours gap prior to sleep.