What is being talked about?
Many people across the world have increasingly become conscious about their health and fitness. People try different kinds of diet and food habits to lose weight, but not every diet is correct for everyone. Often, people end up leaving their chosen diet because they probably find them too restricting. Many also give up their diet because they eat significantly less than is required for their sustenance, which is a wrong way to maintain a diet. Intermittent Fasting is for weight loss focusing on when you eat. So, here are some steps in the method of Intermittent Fasting, which don’t entirely restrict the amount one eats; instead, they restrain the time in which one eats. Limiting the hours in which one eats makes people more mindful of their food habits without being too restrictive. So, intermittent fasting simplifies diet patterns, helping people lose weight and maintain overall health and fitness.
What does Intermittent Fasting mean?
Intermittent fasting means a diet that talks more about when one should eat than what one should eat. Thus, this diet regulates your eating period in a cycle of fasting and eating. This diet is currently in vogue, especially among the current generation. Most people have considered intermittent fasting a way for fast weight loss. As this diet involves short fasting periods at regular intervals and eating as the person wants in the non-fasting period, it becomes easy to stick to such a diet and lose weight easily. Also, it helps to keep your insulin level lower during the fasting period. And having a lower insulin level helps a lot in burning fat. It definitely allows one to consume fewer calories unless one compensates by eating a considerable amount of food or junk in the eating window. It also keeps the metabolic rate high which aids to fast weight loss.
Types of Intermittent Fasting Diet Plans
There are primarily five types of intermittent fasting diet plans:
- 16/8 Method: This allows one to fast for 16 out of 24 hours in a day and eat freely for the rest 8 hours.
- 5:2 Method: It allows you to have a regular diet for 5 days a week and have calorie-restricted meals for the rest 2 days. For example, suppose a person consumes 1300 calories normally for 5 days. In that case, that person needs to consume about only 500 calories for the remaining two days.
- Alternate-day fasting Method: In this type of intermittent fasting, you have to eat and not eat on alternate days. Another version of this method is where you can eat up to 500 calories on fasting days. It makes this diet method easier because fasting for one whole day might lead to extreme hunger and cravings, hindering one from following the diet plan and giving up.
- Overnight Fasting Method: This method involves fasting for 12 hours and eating for the next 12 hours. For example, suppose one finishes dinner at 9 pm. In that case, the person can eat again only after 9 am, and this cycle continues. This is one of the easiest methods of intermittent fasting as everyone automatically goes into a fasting state when sleeping. This method simply requires extending this fasting period for a few more hours.
- The Warrior diet Method: This method is more extreme than the 16/8 plan. It involves eating for only 4 hours a day and fasting for the rest 20 hours. But in this diet plan, during the fasting hours, a minimal amount of calorie consumption is allowed, only from certain food types like small quantities of dairy products and raw fruits and vegetables.
Foods Recommended for Getting the Best Results out of Intermittent Fasting
Just because you are eating in restricted eating windows in a day or week does not mean that you can eat any amount without counting calories. Of course, calories still count even if you are eating in restricted hours. The type of food you eat also matters a lot in helping you stick to the diet and getting the best results out of intermittent fasting. One should try to eat whole grains, good fats, protein, vegetables, and most importantly, fruits. Try to not eat junks like fried food, pizza, sugary candies, etc. Strictly avoid refined carbs and sugary items. Even if you measure their calories and eat, these items drastically increase your blood sugar level, making you feel hungrier in no time. This can lead to overeating and withholding from your diet plan.
Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting has many benefits. Some of them are discussed here:
Intermittent fasting is potentially good for weight loss. This process has become very popular with the current generation, especially among youngsters, for losing weight faster. There are several reasons why intermittent fasting helps in weight loss. The main reason it works is that it allows you to consume fewer calories in smaller food hours. Generally, intermittent fasting does not require a calorie count very strictly unless you eat substantial calorie meals in the eating hours. Also, there are hormonal changes when fasting intermittently, which change one’s metabolic rate, helping one lose weight faster. There are also changes in insulin levels. When you eat, your insulin level increases, and when you fast, your insulin level decreases acutely. And lower levels of insulin help and increase fat burning.
Norepinephrine is another hormone that is sent to the fat cells by the nervous system. It is broken down into three fatty acids, which can be burned for getting energy. So even when fasting, one can still get energy from these 3 fatty acids. This helps to lose weight. Many pieces of research have shown that some weeks of intermittent fasting can reduce one’s waist circumference by 4-7%. It indicates loss of belly fat and hence weight loss. Also, exercise is crucial with intermittent fasting. They go hand in hand. Proper mindful eating and doing lots of cardio exercises enhance the process of weight loss.
What can you Consume during the Fasting Window?
The fasting period can break with the consumption of very few calories. But during the fasting period, we often feel the urge to eat or drink something to suppress hunger. So, we can have some zero-calorie drinks. Consider the following examples:
- Black coffee
- Black tea (or any tea without sugar and milk)
- Diet coke (they are of zero calories)
- Other zero-calorie drinks
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- Intermittent fasting helps to lose weight by allowing you to consume fewer calories, increasing your metabolic rate, and decreasing your insulin level.
- Many studies have shown that blood triglycerides, blood pressure levels, blood sugar levels, LDL cholesterol are reduced by intermittent fasting. So, it keeps the risk factors for heart diseases at bay.
- It helps to protect us from the damage of free radicals.
- It helps to avoid diabetes of type two since it reduces insulin level and keeps the blood sugar level low.
- Intermittent fasting helps to cleanse our body by autophagy, a process of removing damaged cells from the body by the body itself. Autophagy starts when the insulin level in the body drops significantly. Intermittent fasting reduces the insulin level in the body noticeably and triggers autophagy.
Intermittent fasting is a diet system that mainly emphasizes when to eat rather than what to eat. It is effective for weight loss and also has other benefits which keep the body system healthy. With exercise, avoiding junk, and indulging in healthy, mindful eating, intermittent fasting can be made utterly successful for maintaining overall fitness.