Fasting has been a practice throughout human evolution. The ancient hunter-gatherers had no supermarkets, refrigerators, or food available all year round. Sometimes they couldn't find anything to eat. As a result, humans have evolved to be able to function without food for a long time. Fasting now and then is more natural than always eating 3-4 (or more) meals a day.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is currently one of the most common phenomena in health and fitness in the world. People use it to lose weight, improve their health, and make their lifestyles simpler. It is an eating pattern in which you alternate between periods of eating and fasting. It says nothing about what foods to eat, but when you should eat them. There are several different methods of fasting, all of which divide the day or week into periods of feeding and periods of fasting. Despite what you would say, it is pretty easy to do. Many people say that they feel better and have more energy in a rush. Hunger is not usually such a big problem, although it can be a problem at first, as your body gets used to not eating for long periods. Food is not allowed during fasting time, but you can drink water, coffee, tea, and other non-caloric drinks. Some forms of fasting allow small amounts of low-calorie food during the fasting period. Supplements are generally allowed during fasting as long as they are calorie-free.
Methods Of Intermittent Fasting
There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting, all of which involve dividing the day or week into periods of feeding and fasting. During periods of fasting, you eat very little or nothing at all. These are the most popular methods
The 16/8 Method
Fasting for 16 hours, consuming for 8 hours a day. People do this mainly by eliminating breakfast or dinner from their food intake; start eating around 10 am and stop eating around 6 pm. This type of fast can help improve heart health and regulate weight.
Once or twice a week, eat nothing from dinner one day to dinner the next day (a 24-hour fast).
Eat about 1⁄4 (quarter) of your total daily caloric needs on the next two days of the week. Eat the next five days of the week as usual. Research has shown that this diet may help regulate weight and reduce the number of molecules that trigger hunger.
Alternate Day Fasting
Eat as much as you need one day and fast the next day drinking only calorie-restricted liquids. Research has shown that this can help you achieve a healthy weight, regulate insulin and blood sugar, and reduce inflammation in the body.
There have been many studies on intermittent fasting, both in animals and humans. These studies have shown that it can have powerful benefits for weight management and the health of your body and brain. It can also lead you to live longer. Here are the main health benefits:
- Weight Loss: As described above, it will help you shed weight and belly fat, without actively reducing your calories.
- Insulin Resistance: Fasting can reduce insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar by 3% to 6% and fasting insulin levels by 20% to 31%, which should protect against type 2 diabetes.
- Inflammation: Some studies show reductions in inflammation markers, a key factor in many chronic diseases.
- Heart Health: It can lower "bad" LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood sugar, and insulin resistance, all risk factors for heart disease.
- Cancer: Some studies have shown that alternate-day fasting can reduce the risk of cancer by slowing the development of lymphoma, limiting tumor survival, and slowing the spread of cancer cells.
- Brain Health: Fasting increases the BDNF hormone in the brain and can help the growth of new nerve cells. It can also protect against Alzheimer's disease
- Anti-Aging: Fasting can extend the lifespan of rats. Studies showed that fasted rats lived 36% to 83% longer.
Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting is easy, flexible, and convenient to follow. Studies in animals and humans suggest that it can increase weight loss and improve health. Weight loss is the most common reason people try to fast on an intermittent basis. By making you eat less food, it can lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake. There are several things to keep in mind if you want to lose weight:
Food Quality: The food you eat is still important. Try to eat mostly whole, single-ingredient food.
Consistency: As with any other weight-loss method, you need to keep using it for a long period if you want it to work.
Patience: It may take your body some time to adjust to the protocol. Try to be consistent with your meal schedule and it will be easier.
Also, it changes hormone levels to make weight loss easier. In addition to lowering insulin levels and increasing growth hormone levels, the release of the fat-burning hormone norepinephrine is increased (norepinephrine). Due to these changes in hormones, short-term fasting can increase your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%. By helping you eat less and burn more calories, intermittent fasting causes weight loss by changing the calorie equation on both sides. However, keep in mind that the main reason for your success is that it helps you eat fewer calories overall. If you binge and eat large amounts during your feeding periods, you may not lose weight at all.
Intermittent Fasting And Thyroid
Limiting your food window often results in a lower calorie intake. While this can be helpful for weight loss, restricting calories has a significant impact on your thyroid.
- After fasting, people are affected by the recovery of thyroid hormones.
- Those who ate pure carbohydrates saw their T3 return to normal.
- Those who ate mixed fat, carbohydrate, and protein meals saw their T3 return to normal.
- Those who ate only protein still had lower T3.
- Those who ate only fat still had lower T3.
Despite these results, several studies have shown that thyroid hormones return to pre-fast values after a short break with a meal, suggesting that extended fasting may not be detrimental to humans.
Intermittent Fasting And Heart
Perhaps. Researchers are not sure why, but it appears that fasting severely restricts eating and drinking for a certain period and can potentially improve some of the risk factors associated with eating and drinking heart health. It's difficult to know what effect regular fasting has on your heart health because many people who fast routinely do so for religious or health reasons. These people generally tend not to smoke, which can also reduce the risk of heart disease. However, some studies have indicated that people who follow a fasting diet may have better heart health than people who do not fast.
Daily fasting and better heart health can also be linked to the way your body metabolizes cholesterol and sugar. Regular fasting can lower low-density lipoproteins or "bad" cholesterol. It is also believed that fasting can improve the way your body metabolizes sugar. This can lower your risk of gaining weight and developing diabetes, which are both risk factors for heart disease.
The effects of fasting on heart health appear promising, but more studies are needed to determine whether regular fasting can reduce the risk of heart disease. Keep in mind that a heart-healthy diet and regular exercise can also improve your heart health.
Pros And Cons Of Intermittent Fasting
|Easy to follow||Side effects on fasting days|
|No calorie counting||May reduce physical activity|
|No macronutrient limitations||May cause severe hunger|
|Unrestricted eating allowed||Concerns for those on medications|
|Might boost longevity||Does not encourage nutritious eating|
|Promotes weight loss||May promote overeating|
|May help with glucose control||It May is not advisable long-term|