What is Intermittent Fasting – All You Need to Know
Intermittent Fasting is today the world’s most popular health trend and fitness fad. People all around have questions like what is intermittent fasting, how it should be done and what could be the benefits of intermittent fasting etc.
If strenuous workouts and strict diet plans are not your forte, you can go ahead and try intermittent fasting to see visible weight loss results that have been escaping you for months now.
People worldwide are using it to lose weight, burn fat, and get health benefits. Current sedentary lifestyles and on-the-go style of living have contributed tremendously towards increase in obesity and related conditions. Large numbers of people are flocking to gyms and health centers today to seek advice and practice ways to get back in shape and health.
This method of Fasting has been shown to have powerful effects on your body and brain. Research has shown that it can even help you live longer. Let us explore what is Intermittent Fasting and how it works.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
As is evident from the name, Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern that consists of cycles of eating and fasting for periods. Fasting from time to time has been a ritual in many cultures and is more natural than eating 3–4 meals a day. It is more of an eating pattern rather than a diet plan, as many people think. This means that this method does not specify what you should eat for weight loss or which foods you should consume; instead, it tells you when the food should be eaten to get the best results.
Intermittent Fasting is a healthy way of losing weight and is easy and convenient for the user at the same time. Common methods for intermittent Fasting involve daily 16-24 hours fasts, twice per week. This cycle of Fasting can be repeated from once or twice a week to any number of days, depending upon the user’s preference and requirement. Now that we know what is intermittent fasting, lets move to the next common question, which is types of intermittent fasting.
What are the types of Intermittent Fasting?
There could be various types of intermittent fasting, depending upon the type of eating pattern selected by the follower of the pattern. The individual has to decide which one works the best for one, based on the body and health requirements.
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There are 6 popular types of intermittent Fasting that are prevalent in health regimens.
Below are the various types of intermittent fasting listed and explained in details:
Daily Fasting or the 16/8 Method
This intermittent Fasting method involves an eating plan where the practicing individual will fast for 16 hours a day and consume all of their calories during the remaining 8 hours. This type of Fasting restricts eating by time. Some people believe that this method supports the body’s natural internal clock or the circadian rhythm, which gets disturbed by wishful eating and sedentary lifestyles.
All those people who follow the 16:8 plan of intermittent Fasting, stay away from food at night and for part of the morning and evening. They take up their daily intake of calories during the middle of the day to make up for food loss.
Fasting Every Alternate Day
As the name suggests, this method of intermittent Fasting employs Fasting on alternate days. This means that you eat one day and take your calories s per requirement, and then you fast completely the next day, and then so on. This method of Fasting is not preferable for beginners, as fasting every other day may seem extreme. Although this method may give some quick results, it is not a very preferred method as it is difficult to follow for the long time.
This can be the simplest method of intermittent Fasting and the one which anyone interested can follow. It does not follow any set pattern or a timetable for eating or fasting. An individual has the freedom to abstain from eating from time to time during a week, say when one is not hungry or is busy to cook and eat. This fasting method is based on the concept that the human body can withstand long periods of food abstinence without losing muscle. When following this type of Fasting, care has to be taken to eat a healthy and nutritious diet when eating, and not resort to binge eating or crash diets.
This method of intermittent Fasting involves an eating pattern that includes regularly eating for 5 days a week and then fasting for the remaining 2 days. Fasting here does not mean eating nothing but eating in significantly less quantities. The aim is to eat to consume only 25% of the daily calories on the fasting days that one would take on an otherwise regular day of eating. A point to note here is that two fasting days should not be consecutive to avoid starvation and weakness.
Eat Stop Eat
This type of intermittent Fasting involves a 24 hour fast once or twice a week. People can fast from dinner time one day to the dinner time of the next day. This might seem complicated for beginners for whom a full 24 hours fast can sound challenging. In such cases, people may fast for 14-16 hours and slowly pick up with time as their bodies get adjusted to the schedule.
This type of diet involves eating one full meal at night and eating raw fruits and vegetables during the day, or mostly whole, unprocessed foods. The person on this type of diet can eat anything in the one meal window without targeting any number of calories. It focuses on an eating pattern that is high on proteins and low in carbs.
What are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
- It initiates the fat burning process in the body, with insulin levels going down.
- It helps you avoid over-eating or binge –eating, thereby preventing unnecessary weight gain.
- Short term intermittent fasting boosts your metabolic rate.
- It helps to burn and lose fat, rather than losing muscle mass.
- Intermittent Fasting is known to improve total and LDL Cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
- It improves your heart health and reduces inflammation in the body.
- It boosts brain health, reduces stress levels and helps in providing you a better quality of sleep.
With so much to offer, intermittent Fasting can prove to be very beneficial if practiced regularly and correctly. Expecting overnight results with a few hours of Fasting is not sensible, and the whole process needs patience and consistency to show the right results. Intermittent fasting with a healthy diet and exercise can really be an effective weight loss technique, especially for people with diabetes.
I hope this article has answered the questions like what is intermittent fasting, types of intermittent fasting and benefits of intermittent fasting in details. Please do let is know in comments if you feel we have missed out something in this article.