Intermittent Fasting has been reigning in the wellness and fitness industry for the past few years and it’s still an ongoing trend.
Wellness enthusiasts who fall into the ‘kind of lazy’ or the ‘busy’ part of the spectrum have adopted Intermittent Fasting to shred some weight, improve their health and simplify their lives. Perhaps, you are one of those people too who can benefit well from Intermittent Fasting but let’s not assume rather check for yourself-
You Should Be Careful or Avoid Intermittent Fasting If-
We must start learning about IF by first knowing who it is not for, as Intermittent Fasting is surely not for everyone.
You must be careful or avoid Intermittent Fasting if-
- you are underweight
- you have a history of eating disorders
- you have health complications which make you get hungry frequently, for example, diabetes.
A study in 2005 showed that Intermittent Fasting can not be as beneficial for women as it is for men.
Although there haven’t been any human studies on this topic, a study on rats has shown that changes in the eating pattern caused female rats to lose their fertility, and be emaciated and masculinised.
Women have also reported that they started missing their periods while intermittent fasting but the cycle became regularised when they went back to their normal eating patterns.
So, consulting with your doctor before adopting Intermittent Fasting is highly recommended, and if you notice anything out of order in your body while intermittent fasting, you must stop and understand what caused that issue.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting is not a diet, in a traditional sense at least, it is an eating pattern in which you eat and then fast for some time.
It doesn’t specify what you need to eat or how much you need to eat, it rather focuses on when you need to eat.
The most common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, twice per week.
You may wonder exactly how fasting for some time helps improve your health? Well, multiple changes occur in our body when we are fasting and the magic when our body is trying to adapt to those changes. Let’s briefly understand them.
Exactly How Does Intermittent Fasting Help and what is Gene Expression??
Various things happen in your body at a cellular and molecular level when you fast. One of them is that your hormone levels get adjusted so that the stored body fat becomes more accessible and can be utilised by your body as a source of energy.
Here are the key factors which cause Intermittent Fasting to be beneficial-
- Human Growth Hormone: The level of your growth hormones spike up when you fast for long hours and this significantly helps in fat loss and muscle gain.
- Insulin: Insulin sensitivity improves and levels of insulin drop dramatically. Lower insulin levels make stored body fat more accessible.
- Autophagy: When you fast for a long period, your cells start to digest and remove the old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells.
- Gene Expression: Even the functions of genes related to longevity and protection against pathogens develop and improve when you fast.
Methods of Intermittent Fasting
There are multiple methods of Intermittent Fasting that are widely accepted and implemented by practitioners. Some of the most popular methods are the 16/8 Method, Eat-Stop-Eat, the 5:2 Method and Alternate Day Fasting. You have to figure out for yourself which one works the best for you.
- The 16/8 Method: In this method, you fix an eating period of 8 hours. During the eating period, you can eat as much as you feel like. The remaining 16 hours of the day become your fasting period. During a fasting period, you eat little to no food.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: This method involves you having a fasting period of 24 hours once or twice a week.
- 5:2 Method: This method is quite similar to the Eat-Stop-Eat Method but the only difference being you consume only 500-600 calories on 2 non-consecutive days of the week and eat normally on the other 5 days.
- Alternate Day Fasting: In this method, you limit your food intake every alternate day and eat normally the rest.
Popular Myths about Intermittent Fasting
Myth#1 Intermittent Fasting = Weight Loss
I hate to break it to you but weight loss won’t take place until and unless you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning.
If you practice intermittent fasting and consume four pizzas and two bottles of beer, weight loss will not happen.
Myth#2 you need to limit your water intake too during fasting
NO! A big no! Please don’t buy this idea of needing to restrict water consumption as a part of your diet. Stay hydrated.
Myth#3 you should eat anything during the eating window
Well, you technically can depend on the kind of results you are working for. If it’s weight loss, then you mustn’t eat just anything you desire. And regardless of your goal, you must consume a healthy and balanced diet. Period.
Ps. Also drink water.
Some FAQs on Intermittent Fasting
- How long should you do intermittent fasting?
From around 14-24 hours depending on your comfort will work effectively.
- Can I eat anything during intermittent fasting?
Yes, you surely will have to stay hydrated and also, you are allowed to eat a little here and there but not eating anything at all will earn better results.
- Is intermittent fasting good for weight loss?
Yes, it is but it is good to note that the results will be slow to show.
- How long should we continue Intermittent Fasting?
Experts suggest that it’d take around at least 10 weeks for intermittent fasting to show its effect on one’s body.
Intermittent Fasting is a great way to improve your health and spend less time thinking about what to cook simultaneously. I think that it’s a steal deal. It may get difficult at times to fast that long, especially if you are in a social setting but you know right that it’s for your good and well, a cheat day or two won’t hurt that bad, will it?
We hope this article gave you a quick description of intermittent fasting. Stay tuned for more informative articles, and remember to take care of yourself and prioritize yourself. Eat what makes you happy, do what makes you happy, and ignore what society says; it’s your body and your choice. Don’t let societal norms make you feel insecure; instead, create your own norms for your own good.