Intermittent Fasting: What Is It And How Does It Work?

Intermittent Fasting: What Is It And How Does It Work?
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This should be a question ringing in the hearts of many at the moment!

Recently, there has been lots of talk on fasting and intermittent fasting. How that, they can help one lose weight, and still look fit and healthy.

While this is true, it is important to understand what Intermittent fasting truly is, the various types, and what method works best.

To find out all you need to know about this subject, keep reading till the end.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a phenomenon that describes the process of skipping meals for several hours at a stretch for various reasons. This is done consistently, to the point that it becomes a regular eating pattern.

The major reason people are involved in this is to reduce body weight. Other reasons include reducing the number of calories consumed, decreasing the rate of aging, decreasing the risk of terminal diseases, etc.

There are different types of intermittent fasting. They include:

The 5:2 Method.

This method involves eating the usual three square meals every day, for five days a week. The other days are days when attention will be given to the number of calories consumed. On the other two days, calories consumed should be within 500 to 600.

After these days are chosen, they should be followed consistently.

The 16:8 Method.

In this method, a 14 to 16 hour fast is observed at night and there’s an 8-hour interval during the day when food can be eaten. It is usually done between 10 AM to 6 PM or 9 AM to 5 PM.

The Overnight Fasting Method.

This method involves strictly observing a 12-hour overnight fast. It could be from 8 PM to 8 AM and it could be from 7 PM to 7 AM. In this method, one can eat during the day.

The Eat-Stop-Eat Method.

This is a method described by Brad Pilon, as an efficient way to lose weight. It involves going on a complete fast for 24 hours or 48 hours a week. But thereafter, one must resist the temptation of going into binge eating, and eat normally or responsibly.

This method also reduces the number of calories consumed in a week.

  1. The Whole day Fasting Method.

This method involves eating once a day or engaging in 24-hour fasting. Eating only breakfast, or only lunch or only dinner every day.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Bring About Weight Loss?

Source: Pexels

The main principle via which intermittent fasting works is by reducing the number of calories consumed. This ultimately leads to weight loss.

For this principle to work, it is important to ensure that one does not engage in binge eating or eating too much when he or she eats.

Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

Apart from helping in weight loss, there are other benefits of Intermittent fasting. According to fasting apps round-up on Healthinsider.news, these include reduction in the natural aging process and prevention of diseases such as diabetes, amongst others.

  • Weight Loss.

As explained earlier, Intermittent Fasting helps in weight loss by reducing the number of calories consumed by the body. It also does this by introducing the state of ketosis.

  • Reduction in Aging.

Research has shown that reduction of calorie intake by the body leads to healthier DNA and decreases cellular damage. Inflamed cells as seen with high body calories and overworked mitochondria are processes that enhance aging.

  • Prevention of Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by decreased cellular sensitivity to Insulin. In intermittent fasting, there’s increased sensitivity to insulin, hence a reduction in the risk for type 2 diabetes.

However, for patients already diagnosed as diabetic and are on diabetic drugs, intermittent fasting is contraindicated, as it can lead to hypoglycemia.

Other benefits include:

  • Reduction of Systolic blood pressure in hypertensive patients.
  • Improvement in memory functions.
  • Reduction in belly fats.

How Safe Is Intermittent Fasting?

This is a very important aspect of this article. Having known what Intermittent Fasting is and its benefits, it is best to know if it is entirely safe or not, if everybody can engage in it, or if certain people shouldn’t.

Before engaging in intermittent fasting, it is best to discuss with the medical doctor. After a general body test, he or she will be in the best position to determine if one is to go into the fast and what fasting method to apply, or if one should not.

However, it is not safe for certain individuals to engage in Intermittent Fasting. They include:

  • Lactating mothers.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Diabetic patients, especially those already on antidiabetic drugs.
  • Children and Teenagers
  • People on medications.
  • People with a Body Mass Index of less than 18.5 Kg/m^2

Fasting and Supplements

Dietary supplements are designed to provide our body with an adequate amount of essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

These supplements are helpful for pretty much anyone, but those who don’t or aren’t capable of consuming a nutritious and varied diet are the ones that should use them the most.

Although certain supplements like protein bars can generate a feeling of satiety, which can be really helpful for people when dieting, there’s no scientific evidence that suggests this dietary supplement (or any other) can help consumers with weight loss.

However, overall it’s good to take dietary supplements as long as you take them in proper amounts and according to the directions on the label; nonetheless, you should always ask your doctor before starting to use them.
Benefits of supplements when dieting:

  1. It helps to provide some nutrients which you may be opting out of due to your diet.
  2. It provides you with the necessary energy required.
  3. It promotes your immune system.
  4. Some supplements help to keep the brain active and focused.
  5. They support general body health.

Conclusion

Intermittent fasting is a type of eating pattern that restricts food intake for some time intervals consistently. It has been shown to have several benefits, both on health and physique. It is practically safe, except for certain categories of people.

Intermittent fasting comes in various types that allow beginners to start easy and extend fasting hours when they feel comfortable about it.

Choose to stay healthy!


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Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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