by Surela Chakraborty | 16 July 2018
What is it?
Intermittent Fasting is the latest global fitness trend truly backed by scientific evidence. This trend is not just about fasting but balancing the fasting period with healthy eating. This trend doesn't focus on what foods to eat but when you should eat them. Basically, it is an eating pattern or a fixed schedule where you alternate between eating and fasting.
There are different methods of fasting from which one can choose what suits best for their body. The most followed and feasible methods are-
The 16/8 Method: one has to fast for sixteen hours each day by eating a meal in the noon and complete their dinner by 8 pm. Martin Berkhan of Leangains, the man behind this popular trend recommends this method since it is very practical and easy to stick to. For instance, if you are not hungry in the morning, then have a meal directly at noon and then eat your supper or dinner between 6-9 pm. This way you can maintain the gap between meals.
Eat-Stop-Eat- Just once or twice a week, one should keep a fast between previous day's dinner and the dinner next day. It is a twenty four fast.
The 5:2 Diet : One has to consume just 500-600 calories twice a week.
Busting The Myth
Here, one might ask that breakfast being the most important meal for the day, how can I miss it? Expert nutritionists point out that if you have a filling dinner the previous day you will not feel hungry naturally next morning. There will be enough energy in your body that can last you till 1pm in the noon. Where you can have a heavy nutritious brunch. Just make sure you eat a healthy balanced meal.Then complete your dinner by 8pm so that your stomach gets enough time to digest the food.
Many of us believe that fasting for long hours can make you fall sick. This discourages many people to fast and they just keep overeating. But intermittent fasting is methodical and scientifically proven to show positive results.
What Do You Gain?
Here is why intermittent fasting is just not a health fad
Fasting triggers a lot of change in the body, for instance, it kickstarts cell repair process and body releases hormones to release the stored fat. The insulin levels drop down which helps in burning fat. The levels of human growth hormone increases which facilitates fat burning and muscle gain.
Intermittent fasting also helps in removing waste materials from cells.
It boosts immunity and increases life span.
When you eat a heavy meal to compensate for one meal that you skipped in a day will help you take less calories, thus helping in weight loss. The low insulin levels, high growth hormone levels and secretion of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) helps to breakdown body fat and convert it into energy.
Short span of fasting has double benefits- it reduces calorie intake and increases the metabolic rate thus enabling to lose weight and stubborn fat around your waist. Intermittent fasting caused less muscle loss than dieting.
Studies have proved that intermittent fasting has helped to reduce blood sugar levels by 3-6% while fasting insulin has reduced by 20-31%. So it helps to fight Type 2 Diabetes and all the complications that arise from it like kidney damage. But the results may differ according to gender, so it is advisable to consult a doctor before starting intermittent fasting.
IF* helps to build body's immunity against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress happen when free radicals react with the DNA and other protein molecules and damage them. This causes aging and chronic diseases.
IF* can also help reduce inflammation of any kind that triggers other diseases.
IF* can help reduce blood pressure levels, total and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar level and inflammation, all the risk factors that leads to heart diseases.
Fasting improves the metabolic rate and this prevents cancer. In cancer patients it can reduce side effects of chemotherapy.
IF* helps in the growth of new nerve cells in the brain. It increases the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and protect against brain damage caused due to strokes.
These short fasts helps to prevent Alzheimer's symptoms in the long run. It also protects you against neurodegenerative diasorders like Parkinson's and Huntington's disease. Though more research is required in this field.
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