An eating strategy is known as intermittent fasting alternates between periods of fasting and scheduled meals. According to research, intermittent fasting can help you control your weight and perhaps stop or reverse some types of the disease. But how do you go about it? Is it secure, too?
Table of Contents
What is Intermittent Fasting?
While many diets concentrate on what to eat, intermittent fasting only considers when to eat.
You only eat during the allotted hours when you practice intermittent fasting. Your body can burn fat if you fast for a set period of time each day or consume only one meal on specific days of the week. Additionally, there are some health benefits, according to scientific findings.
Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins, has been researching intermittent fasting for 25 years. According to him, our bodies have evolved to be able to survive for several hours, or possibly several days or more, without eating. Prior to learning how to cultivate crops, early humans were hunters and gatherers who developed the ability to live for extended periods of time without food. They had to: Hunting wildlife and gathering nuts and berries required a lot of time and effort.
It was simpler to maintain a healthy weight even 50 years ago. Christie Williams, M.S., R.D.N., a nutritionist at Johns Hopkins, explains: “There were no computers, and TV programs ended at 11 p.m.; people stopped eating because they went to bed. There were much lesser portions. In general, more people exercised and worked and played outside.
TV, the internet, and other forms of entertainment are readily available right now. To watch our favorite programs, play games, and chat online, we stay up later. We spend most of the day and night lounging around and munching.
A higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other ailments can result from consuming more calories and being less active. According to scientific research, intermittent fasting might be able to buck these tendencies.
How does intermittent fasting work?
There are many various approaches to intermittent fasting, but they all start with deciding on a regular eating and fasting window of time. You may, for instance, try eating only for eight hours each day and fasting the other sixteen. Or you could decide to only eat one meal each day for two days per week. There are numerous variations of intermittent fasting plans.
According to Mattson, the body runs out of sugar after several hours without eating and begins to burn fat. This is referred to as metabolic switching by him.
“Intermittent fasting contrasts with the typical American eating habit, which involves eating throughout the day,” claims Mattson. “If a person is eating three meals a day plus snacks and isn’t exercising, they are burning off their fat storage instead of burning those calories every time they eat.”
By extending the time until your body has burnt through the calories from your most recent meal and starts burning fat, intermittent fasting works.
Intermittent Fasting Plans
It’s crucial to see your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting regimen. Once you have their approval, the actual practice is easy. You can choose a daily strategy that limits daily meals to one six- to eight-hour window each day. Consider attempting the 16/8 fast, which involves eating for eight hours and fasting for sixteen. Williams is an advocate of the daily routine, claiming that most people find it simple to maintain this pattern over time.
One more is the “5:2 strategy,” which calls for eating consistently five days a week. You restrict yourself to one 500–600 calorie meal on the other two days. For instance, if you decided to eat normally every day of the week except Mondays and Thursdays—which would be your one-meal days—you might choose to do so.
Fasting for longer lengths of time—such as 24, 36, 48, and 72 hours—is not always beneficial for you and may even be harmful. If you go too long without eating, your body may begin storing extra fat as a defense against famine.
According to Mattson’s studies, it can take the body two to four weeks to adjust to intermittent fasting. As you get adjusted to the new pattern, you can feel hungry or irritable. However, he notes that research participants who make it through the adjustment stage typically remain with the plan because they become aware of how much better they feel.
What can I eat while intermittent Fasting?
Water and zero-calorie drinks like black coffee and tea are OK while you aren’t eating.
Additionally, “eating properly” at your eating times does not include bingeing. If you fill your mealtimes with high-calorie junk food, enormously big fried foods, and desserts, you won’t likely lose weight or get healthy.
Williams appreciates that intermittent fasting permits a variety of foods to be consumed and savored. She explains, “We want people to be conscious and enjoy eating delicious, nutritious cuisine. She continues by stating that dining with friends and enjoying meals together increases enjoyment and promotes excellent health.
Williams agrees with the majority of nutrition experts in that whether you choose to practice intermittent fasting or not, the Mediterranean diet serves as a solid example of how to eat. When you choose complex, unprocessed carbohydrates like whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats, and lean protein, you almost never go wrong.
Is intermittent fasting safe?
Some people experiment with intermittent fasting in an effort to lose weight, while others utilize the technique to treat long-term illnesses including irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol, or arthritis. But not everyone should practice intermittent fasting.
Williams emphasizes that you should consult with your primary care physician first before attempting intermittent fasting (or any diet). Some individuals should refrain from attempting intermittent fasting:
➾Under-18 kids and teenagers
➾Women who are breastfeeding or pregnant.
➾Those suffering from diabetes or blood sugar issues.
➾Those who have a background with eating disorders.
However, according to Williams, those who are not in these groups and who can safely practice intermittent fasting can keep up the routine indefinitely. It can be a beneficial shift in lifestyle, she explains.
Remember that different people may respond differently to intermittent fasting. If you begin to experience unexplained anxiety, headaches, nausea, or other symptoms after beginning intermittent fasting, speak with your doctor.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
Intermittent fasting causes a number of physiological changes that can shield the body’s organs from chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, age-related cognitive disorders, even inflammatory bowel disease, and many malignancies.
Here are some advantages of intermittent fasting that science has so far identified:
- Combining memory and thought: According to studies, intermittent fasting improves verbal memory in adult people and working memory in animals.
- Heart wellness: Blood pressure, resting heart rates, and other heart-related parameters were all improved by intermittent fasting.
- Physical activity: 16-hour fasting young males demonstrated fat reduction while retaining muscular mass. Mice that were fed on different days displayed greater running endurance.
- Obesity and diabetes: Intermittent fasting prevented obesity in animal trials. Additionally, obese adult adults lost weight by intermittent fasting in six brief experiments.
- Tissue wellness: Intermittent fasting decreased tissue damage during surgery and enhanced outcomes in rats.