Intermittent fasting, also called IF, is pretty simple. Consume your food within a shorter span of hours, and then go without eating for the rest of the day. If you’re not eating right now, you’re fasting. If you continue to fast for a little bit longer, you can benefit from it.
If you want to know more about intermittent fasting, continue reading to discover how it operates, the changes it can make to your diet, and how to start immediately.
WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?
When you do intermittent fasting, you limit yourself to eating only within an 8-10 hour period. Here’s what that might look like:
- Skip breakfast.
- Around noon, break your fast and have your first meal.
- Eat dinner. Maybe treat yourself to dessert.
- Stop eating by 8 p.m.
- Repeat this schedule the next day.
What are the reasons why people abstain from eating for extended periods? Intermittent fasting can lead to weight management, but it is not purely a dieting technique. This kind of dietary regimen will reap great rewards in time, like managing your hormone insulin numbers, combating illnesses and, of course, aiding you with staying at an optimal weight.
This could oppose what you were previously informed regarding how often food is consumed. Refraining from eating will not cause your body to enter a state of starvation, nor will it negatively affect your ambitions to lose fat. Although consuming breakfast is acceptable, there are remarkable advantages to allowing your body a more extended pause between meals.
HOW DOES INTERMITTENT FASTING WORK?
We’re going to take a moment to discuss biology, after which we’ll explain its significance. When you eat, a lot happens in your body:
- Depending on what you’ve eaten, your blood glucose (sugar) levels may rise.
- Your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin.
- Insulin tells your cells to fuel up on glucose and tells your fat stores to stay in your fat cells.
- Your body releases hormones like cholecystokinin (CCK) and leptin, which signal when you’re full.
However, carbohydrates and sugar do not trigger the release of CCK as powerfully as proteins and fats, so your body will not be sending a ‘I am satiated!’ message as strongly. It is more likely that someone will eat often and in large amounts at a single meal. Your pancreas must labor harder to produce insulin and the added glucose from carbohydrates and sugar gets held as fat in your body. 
As time goes on, the likelihood of becoming overweight, developing resistance to insulin, and contracting type 2 diabetes and cancer will increase due to certain factors. Yikes.
Intermittent fasting gives your body time to reset. When you don’t have anything to eat between meals, your blood sugar will stay balanced, your insulin levels will decrease, and your body will have the opportunity to get rid of waste- all leading to positive outcomes such as being able to maintain a healthy weight and living longer.
TYPES OF INTERMITTENT FASTING SCHEDULES
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to intermittent fasting. Some opt for daily fasting. Some people opt to only abstain from eating on certain days of the week.
Let’s inspect several of the more well-known techniques, one of which prescribes an entire day of fasting.
You consume all of your daily calories within a short span (generally lasting between 6 to 8 hours) and abstain from food consumption for the remaining hours of the day. This type of fasting is ideal for people who don’t normally feel ravenous when they arise in the morning.
FASTING FOR 12 HOURS
Looking for a type of intermittent fasting for beginners? The 12:12 protocol is a great place to start. You don’t need to limit yourself as much as you would with other approaches, as you are only fasting for 12 hours each day and having the same amount of time to eat.
This plan of action designed by Brad Pilon requires you to take one or two days each week at random when you will fast for a whole day.
You eat normally five days a week. For the other two days, you should consume between 500-600 calories each day.
Fast on alternate days and consume your normal food intake on the days in between.
WEEKLY 24 HOUR FAST
A weekly 24-hour fast could be worth pursuing due to the great benefits attributed to intermittent fasting for long time periods. An option for spacing out your week is to designate one day to not eat, or alternatively pick a day that does not conflict with your routine and way of living.
You don’t have to eat three meals a day. As an option, you can choose to skip breakfast and not eat until later in the day. If lunchtime comes around and you don’t feel hungry, you can forgo that meal.
The Warrior Diet is comparable to consuming a single meal within twenty-four hours (OMAD). Go without food for 20 hours, then have an intense feast for your evening meal. You can have small helpings of some items during the time when you are fasting, such as fruits, vegetables, and broth.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH FASTING
Ready to change up your eating schedule? Intermittent fasting is very easy to blend into your routine.
You can either keep to the same diet every day, or you can opt to do intermittent fasting a few times throughout the week. You can adjust how long you go between meals, which is excellent if you only want to practice intermittent fasting sometimes. Be sure to consult with a healthcare provider prior to beginning intermittent fasting if you have any existing medical issues or are taking medications.
CHOOSING A TIME WINDOW
Allow yourself to research various fasting plans and pay attention to your body’s reactions. Do not hesitate to try out various approaches to fasting.
If you don’t want to give up having breakfast, just alter the period you fast. Consume an entire meal shortly after 8 o’clock in the morning and abstain from eating by 4 o’clock in the afternoon. The good news: This is still a 16-hour fast. The great thing is that you can adapt your fasting plans to fit your particular situation (while still enjoying breakfast).
CHOOSING A MEAL PLAN
It is not necessary to adhere to the ketogenic diet in order to get the advantages of fasting. One of the benefits of fasting on and off is that it assists in triggering the body’s fat-burning metabolism, ketosis. Continue fasting by consuming foods that are low in carbohydrates but high in fat when you end the fast. Many have reported that they have lesser urges to eat, along with decreased hunger levels, when following the ketogenic diet, making it the perfect combo for an intermittent fasting lifestyle.
During the times that you typically eat, if you become hungry between meals, try consuming low-carb items and avoid the rise and crash of sugar levels—good choices may include hard-boiled eggs, avocados, or coffee with butter or coconut oil.
If you’re not interested in controlling your weight, you may still end up eating fewer calories than what your body requires. In the immediate future, reducing the number of calories you consume above what is necessary may assist you in keeping your weight at a healthy level. A prolonged reduction in calorie intake can negatively affect your metabolic rate and endocrine system. It is not advisable to remain in a state of decreased caloric intake indefinitely. If you have been feeling tired and apathetic, you should speak to your doctor and look into utilizing a food-tracking application to guarantee you are eating enough to remain aroused and great.
Intermittent Fasting – Salient Points
Promising health results and enhancing life habits are a few of the attractive pledges made when you adhere to periodic fasting. In addition, it is simple to implement. Fasting claims benefits by simply changing mealtimes. However, several dietitians ask you to exercise caution. An attentive attitude to intermittent fasting could result in numerous advantages. The following are ten considerations while starting to do intermittent fasting.
1. Maintaining a controlled eating approach during non-fasting periods
It is vital to make wise dietary selections when not abstaining from food in order to gain the most advantages from intermittent fasting. You must pay attention to the quality of the meal.
Intermittent fasting ought to be done alongside a nutritious diet. Nutritionists and dieticians suggest incorporating whole grains, lean protein, food with lots of fiber, and veggies into one’s diet. You should also incorporate fruits with a low-glycemic rating that will not bring about a sharp rise in blood glucose levels. Maintaining a consistent blood sugar level is beneficial as it can prevent the feeling of hunger or cravings.
2. Maintaining a window of a minimum of 12-hours between meals
It can take up to 8 hours for a meal to be broken down, taken in, and incorporated into the body, depending on the size of the meal consumed. In a lot of situations, the body needs more than 8 hours to finish its processes. It is suggested by experts to wait at least a 12-hour period between meals so the body can successfully cleanse itself.
3. Being aware of boundaries and restrictions
People need to understand and be conscious of the limitations of intermittent fasting. Therefore, many should avoid such prolonged periods of fasting. People such as young adults, breastfeeding mothers, and pregnant women must not observe fasting protocols since they necessitate specific dietary needs.
Diabetic patients need to refrain from such fasting methods. Patients with diabetes need to take insulin regularly and are taught to eat frequent, smaller meals frequently instead of having huge meals to prevent dizziness and exhaustion. Fasting on and off for women can lead to hormone disruption, which can influence their emotions, ability to give birth, and their menstrual cycle. Therefore, consulting professionals is advisable before such regimens.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
Making sure to drink enough water: The body can mistake thirst for hunger. Hence, the body needs ample hydration during intermittent fasting.
5.. Listening to your body
It is necessary to listen to one’s body. Being mindful determines an individual’s health. For example, common indicators when first starting intermittent fasting include feelings of lethargy or exhaustion, irritability, unease, lightheadedness, and trouble focusing. They indicate that the body is undernourished and starved. Be sure to be vigilant and make the necessary adjustments to your fasting plan.
The body responds instinctively to the alterations caused by fasting. Therefore, specialists suggest tracking them and allowing the diet plan roughly seven days to return to the usual. However, suppose such symptoms persist for longer. It is strongly recommended that the diet be stopped and other methods to shed pounds be looked into.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting offers advantages in addition to just aiding in weight loss. Research has indicated that following a diet which limits the times that you eat may offer numerous advantages.
1. Weight Loss and Control on Obesity
Once the body adjusts to regular periods of fasting followed by not fasting, it will begin to consume less, leading to lower calorie consumption. So, it is an essential part of slimming down while intermittent fasting.
Additionally, it helps to shed pounds by improving hormone activity and increasing metabolic rates. Metabolism increases are linked to several changes in hormones such as insulin, norepinephrine, and HGH cholesterol. Your body burns extra calories with a high metabolic rate, leading to weight loss.
A research of intermittent fasting revealed a weight decrease of as much as 8% in between 6 and 24 weeks, a very desirable level of success. Results of the analysis showed a reduction in abdominal fat, with people involved in the study registering a decrease of 4-7% in size of the waist. An additional study underlined that fasting on and off causes less loss of muscle compared to always eating a reduced calorie diet.
2. Combating Type 2 Diabetes
It is estimated by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) that approximately 537 million people, between the ages of 20 and 79, have type 2 diabetes worldwide in 2021. This figure is projected to be 643 million in 2030 and 783 million by 2045. The amount spent on medical care related to diabetes in 2021 was an eye-watering US$ 966 billion.
Diabetes results in elevated blood sugar levels stemming from a rise in insulin resistance. Thus, performing any type of exercise, abstaining from food, or changing dietary habits in order to lessen insulin resistance can be helpful in treating diabetes. Research has also shown that intermittent fasting can be advantageous in increasing insulin sensitivity and helping reduce blood sugar levels. For example, within a period of 8-12 weeks, the study on prediabetes showed that intermittent fasting brought about a decrease of 3-6% in blood sugar when fasting.
3. Management of Heart Health
Hypertension is a common ailment affecting worldwide. The 2014 study found that the rate of high blood pressure in rural households in India was about 25%, and in urban households, it was roughly 33%. In 2010, this issue was the third most pressing issue in all of South Asia. It is a major cause for concern as it demonstrates a remarkably high incidence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and related healthcare costs in Asian nations.
Studies done on animals have shown that intermittent fasting may be effective in decreasing blood pressure. A survey that lasted over the course of one year, conducted by the Buchinger Wilhelmi clinic in Germany and involving 1422 participants, revealed findings that resembled the results of animal studies involving intermittent fasting. Further investigations into the practice of intermittent fasting suggest that it is of great importance in decreasing cholesterol levels and enhancing overall cardiovascular health.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to positively affect factors that affect your cardiovascular health, like reducing triglycerides, inflammation markers, and LDL cholesterol levels. However, the majority of research was on animals. Consequently, more research should be conducted on the impacts of intermittent fasting on human beings before any counsel is given.
The bottom line
Every individual has different nutritional requirements depending on aspects like their level of physical activity and physique. Your physical state should be taken into account when deciding if you should stick to an intermittent fasting plan; this method of eating might not be suitable for all individuals. That’s perfectly okay. It is essential that you are doing the things that make you feel at your peak each and every day.