Intermittent fasting(IF) is one of the most popular health term nowadays.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a diet but it is an eating pattern. This eating pattern has cycles of eating and fasting states. You prevent yourself from eating during fasting state and consume what you like in the eating state.
It doesn’t focus on what you eat but its primary focus is on when you eat.
Research has shown that intermittent fasting is helpful in weight loss, better body build ,increasing life expectancy, reducing chances of cancer and reversing many severe disease.
IF was popularized by BBC journalist Michael Mosley after BBC2 television Horizon documentary Eat, Fast and Live Longer.
This article will help you understand the basics of intermittent fasting.
Table Of Contents
Is fasting Natural?
Before we talk about intermittent fasting let’s figure out whether fasting is natural or not.
Our human ancestors were hunters and gatherers. They had evolved and survived to fast without food for several hours to even days. They had no other choice. Before the practice of agriculture, process of gathering food and hunting was an energy draining task. So in order to save energy , our ancestor did extensive fasting .
We can see that we have evolved alongside fasting. Our body is designed in a way to help us survive without food for several hours to several days.
Thus, we can conclude that fasting is natural.
How does Intermittent fasting work ?
When we eat , glucose goes into our body. This glucose is stored in the form of glycogen .
When you stop eating (fasting) ,the body will start to use the glucose that is stored in the glycogen. If fasting is prolonged, these glucose store will be consumed and the body will use fat as its energy source which will lead to weight loss.
Thus fasting will convert you from glucose burning machine to a fat burning machine.
Usually ,we eat three to four meals a day . Our body is always filled with enough glucose and glycogen .As a result , fat are not used for energy that can make us obese.
Intermittent fasting increase release of growth hormone. It also reduces insulin insensitivity which helps to combat diabetes .
Why Intermittent Fasting ?
Weight loss is only one of the benefits of fasting.
Intermittent fasting makes our life simpler. Rather than planning and working for a 3 meal day we can just plan for two meals per day which will save our time and make life simpler.
Research has shown that fasting reduces the chances of cancer and cardiovascular disease .
Also read : 17 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting makes our life longer . Various research primarily on rat have shown that intermittent fasting is associated with longer life. We can use logical sense to justify it. If you are starving, your body will find new ways to keep you alive.
If you are looking to try IF then you will find intermittent Fasting easier than dieting.
Intermittent Fasting Plans
If you are trying to give intermittent fasting a shot, then you can use any of these popular approach:
16/8 Method : It is also know as Lean-gains protocol. People eat for eight hours and do fasting for the remaining 16 hours. They usually skip breakfast. This is the most popular , simplest intermittent fasting plan and many people have been able to stick with this pattern over a long time.
5:2 Method: In this method, you eat regularly for five days in a week . In the remaining two non consecutive days, you eat a low calorie single meal (500-600 calorie). An example could be if you choose to eat normally on every day of the week except Tuesday and Thursday, where you would have single meal .
You need to remember that everyone has his own comfort zone for fasting schedule. You can try any of the above approaches and implement those which suits you the most.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe For Everyone?
Intermediate fasting cannot be and should not be followed by everyone . The following people should consult their dietitian before trying intermittent fasting :
- diabetic patient
- woman suffering from amenorrhea
- breastfeeding woman
- pregnant women
- women who is trying to get pregnant
- individuals with history of eating disorder
- children and teen below the age of 18
Take Home Message
Intermittent fasting is a healthy ,simple and sustainable eating pattern which will make our life simpler and healthier.
It is an easy way to lose fat and improve the overall metabolic health .
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Sachet Subedi is 3rd year medical student from Institute Of Medicine, Maharajgunj . He writes on health, diet, wellness and science. He likes cricket and loves to study books and research paper on productivity, diet , health and wellness.