Fitness has reached the next level of obsession these days. We all in our pursuit to look good and stay fit resort to different measures that seem logical to us. One of the fitness trends that has recently become extremely popular is intermittent fasting. People use intermittent fasting to achieve the following aims:
- Lose weight
- Improve their overall level of health
- Maintain general body fitness
Studies have proven that intermittent fasting also enhances brain capacity and reasoning.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern in which a person follows a cycle of fasting and eating. It does not restrict a person in regard to what foods they have to eat. During the eating period, you can eat whatever you like. There is no restriction of any kind upon the quantity of food intake also. So, basically, it is not a diet plan but a pattern of eating that is usually adopted by a lot of people with different goal plans in mind.
Common intermittent fasting technique encompasses a daily fasting period of approximately 16 hours or a fasting period for 24 hours, two times a week. The logic behind this form of eating is that ancient hunters did not have immediate sources of food. They would eat what they got and then would stay hungry for extended periods of time without any hassle.
Also, fasting has always been a way of life. In several religions across the world, fasting has been seen to offer positive outcomes on health. In fact, there are certain periods that are allocated especially to fasting such as Navratri, Ramzan, etc.. Even in religions such as Jainism and Buddhism fasting is done periodically.
Different Intermittent Fasting Methods
These are different methods of intermittent fasting. You can follow any one of them that you find suitable and easy.
- The 16/8 Diet– This is also known as the Leangains protocol. In this method, a person skips his/ her breakfast and restricts the daily eating span to just 8 hours. This can be between 1 PM to 9 PM. The next 16 hours are spent without eating anything. This 16/8 diet leading to tremendous weight and fat loss
- Eat-Stop-Eat– This encompasses fasting for a span of 24 hours. This is done once or twice in a week. So, basically, you stop eating from dinner one day and then eat dinner the next day.
- The 5:2 diet– In this method, you only consume around 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week. For the rest of the days of the week, you follow the normal eating pattern.
When you minimize your calorie intake by using any of these methods, it will lead to weight loss provided you do not compensate the calorie deficit by eating extra in the eating period. Most of the people find this 16/8 diet method, most sustainable, and convenient to follow.
Intermittent fasting benefits
There are several health benefits of intermittent fasting. Below we will enumerate them so that you are clear about why you should be going for it.
- Helps in weight loss and reduction of belly fat: Intermittent Fasting restricts the number of calories that your intake in a day. It boosts your metabolism and accelerated the weight loss process. It enhances the hormone in the body that facilitates rapid weight loss.
- Lower levels of insulin, higher growth hormone levels, and heightened amounts of norepinephrine in the body-all these help to breakdown body fat. This body fat is then broken into energy. So, as your metabolic rate increases, you burn more calories than normal. Usually, there is a rise of 3.6-14% in the basal metabolic rate of your body due to intermittent fasting.
- Improved blood sugar control: Intermittent fasting reduces fasting insulin levels by up to 31%. It lowers blood sugar by almost 3–6%. Thus, it minimizes your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Longer Life Span: A person tends to live longer due to intermittent fasting as the general health of the body is improved. Oxidative stress is the cause of aging and several chronic diseases. The unstable molecules known as free radicals react with other vital molecules and then damage them. Due to intermittent fasting, the resistance of the body to oxidative stress increases, and this is the reason why it enhances longevity.
- Positive Changes in Hormones and Cell Function– There are several changes that take place in the body due to intermittent fasting. Insulin levels in the body plummet and this causes a lot of fat burning. The level of growth hormone increases and as a result, you will have muscle gain. Also, the body undergoes significant cellular repair such as waste material is removed from the cells. Apart from this, there are so many changes that happen in genes and this offers protection against several diseases. So, in short, a wide array of good changes happen in both hormones and cell function of the body
Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
People follow several intermittent fasting diets for weight loss. For weight loss, intermittent fasting keto diets are extremely effective. This timed approach towards eating is actually doing wonders for people. When you set up your mind to do the intermittent diet decide what plan you want to follow such as alternate day fasting, 16/8 diet, or the eat stop diet. Follow one fasting method and check out if that works for you before shifting to another method.
Improves endurance levels of the body– Intermittent Fasting enhances the endurance levels of your body. It makes you stronger and improves your sleep cycle. Eating in accordance to your circadian rhythm leads to deep sleep.
Should you combine keto and intermittent fasting?
Both keto and intermittent fasting are the raging fitness trends. The question that crops up is that can you combine them.
The answer to this is that you can combine both without any problem. Alotof the people use the keto diet and intermittent fasting to control different health conditions and reduce their weight. Even though both have own advantages, combining both will lead to faster fast loss in the body. Intermittent Fasting can assist your body to reach ketosis much faster than that happens when you are on keto diet alone.
Keto diet is high fat and low carb diet that forces the body to depend on fat rather than on glucose for energy. This diet is known to have a positive impact on neurological disorders. It reduces the blood sugar levels, enhances insulin resistance, and lowers triglyceride levels in the body. So, in short it is a win-win situation for your body.
Just bear in mind that you must talk to your healthcare provider before you go on intermittent fasting. This particularly holds importance in case you have any medical condition. Do not stick to a certain type of food otherwise, it will lead to some deficiency in the body. Try all food groups so that your body gets all the necessary nutrients. Eat a balanced, high fiber and healthful diet so that you are able to get maximum advantage of following the intermittent fasting plan.
Note of Caution
Combining intermittent fasting and the keto diet is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women or those people that have a history of any kind of eating disorder. What’s more, if you suffer from conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, you must be wary before you combine both these forms of eating.