Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern in which you maintain a cycle between periods of eating and fasting.
It does not say anything about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them.
There are several different intermittent fasting methods, all of which split the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods.
According to some researchers, fasting for 10–16 hours can cause the body to turn its fat stores into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream. This encourages weight loss.
What are the different methods of intermittent fasting?
There are seven ways to do intermittent fasting.
- Fasting for 12 hours a day.
- Fasting for 16 hours.
- Fasting for 2 days a week.
- Alternate day fasting.
- A weekly 24-hour fast.
- Meal skipping.
The least successful variation of fasting is known as the 1:1 method or alternate day fasting.
It is not a diet, it is just a pattern of eating that reduces your eating window each day to restricted hours.
Keep in mind that the initial weight lost on a fast is primarily fluid or water weight, not fat.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting helps you lose weight, that is a given. But it may also have added benefits such as diabetes prevention, as it can help weight loss and potentially influence other factors linked to an increased risk of diabetes.
Intermittent fasting could improve brain health. It can suppress inflammation in the brain, which has links to neurological conditions. It reduces the risk of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers have also found that intermittent fasting could improve aspects of cardiovascular health.
Ageing occurs deeper at a cellular level and scientists have found that eating less can slow this cellular process. The researchers found that when ribosomes (the cell’s protein makers) slow down, the ageing process simultaneously slows down as well.
How can you manage intermittent fasting safely?
Fasting may not suit certain people. You need to be sure about being able to maintain the fast without feeling sick. If you have a condition that requires you to eat on time, then do not attempt intermittent fasting.
Practice the following:
- Keep fasting periods short.
- There is no single way to fast, meaning that the duration of your fast is up to you.
- Eat a small amount.
- Stay hydrated.
- Go for walks or meditate.
- Don’t break fasts with a feast.
- Stop fasting if you feel unwell.
- Eat enough protein.
- Eat plenty of whole foods on non-Fasting days.
Make sure you are doing all of the above. Do not starve yourself to lose weight. Starving yourself may in fact have adverse effects.
Are there any side-effects of intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting isn’t risk-free. This is how it can make you feel throughout the day. Even though the long-term effects are unknown.
- You’ll feel hungry which means you might overeat later.
- You might get dehydrated.
- You might feel tired throughout the day.
- You might feel irritable all the time.
Make sure you do not reduce your water intake. This fast does not consist of avoiding water.
As for having coffee or tea during your fast — you should be just fine. As a general rule of thumb, if you drink something with less than 50 calories, then your body will remain in the fasted state. So, your coffee with a splash of milk or cream is just fine. Tea should be no problem either.
However, it is important to note that during fasting days you should be careful not to over exert your body.
Taking supplements is generally allowed while fasting, as long as there are no calories in them.
The key is to stop eating a few hours before bed. The food you eat before bed doesn’t have a chance to be used as energy so not only does it promote fat storage, it interferes with the body’s cleansing process.
It may also be easier to stick to than traditional methods of weight loss, such as calorie restrictions. However, intermittent diet may be trendy these days, but it is no better for weight loss than traditional diets. The two diets are equally great for weight loss.