You may have already heard about intermittent fasting as it grows in popularity as a dieting method. This technique schedules out your eating patterns to promote health and weight loss, and many people swear by its benefits.
What is intermittent fasting?
Just as its name suggests, intermittent fasting means alternating between periods of eating and periods of fasting. In this case, fasting does not mean abstaining from all foods and drinks for multiple days at a time. Dieters tend to take one of three typical approaches. First, the 16/8 Method means eating during an eight-hour period each day and fasting for the remaining sixteen hours. Second, the Eat-Stop-Eat Method requires fasting for a full twenty-four hours once or twice a week. Third, the 5:2 Diet consists of five days per week of typical eating and two days of eating about 25% of your normal caloric intake. For example, if you generally consume about 2,000 calories a day, you’ll only eat about 500 calories for this day or two.
How should I eat and exercise during this diet?
The intermittent fasting diet is based on the idea that the human body can handle both feasting and fasting. During periods when you’re not fasting—your feast days—you should eat as you normally would. Fill up on fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Be careful not to gorge yourself on processed foods and excessive sugar during this time.
Intermittent fasters steer clear of snacking so that there is enough time for their insulin levels to go down, allowing their bodies to use energy from stored sugar rather than converting it into fat. While fasting, you should not restrict your drink intake. Drink water, coffee, tea, and other beverages as you wish.
You’re free to exercise while intermittent fasting, but remember to take care of yourself. If you’re feeling sluggish during a fasting period, opt to work out when you have food in your system again. Some people take branched-chain amino acid supplements (BCAAs) before exercising during a fast.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting helps promote weight loss because it gives the body time to decrease insulin levels, which helps burn fat. This eating style can also help lower blood pressure and increase appetite control. In some studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to decrease inflammation, improve heart health, and help grow new nerve cells in the brain.
Is it safe?
With any new diet, you should always consult with your doctor before proceeding. If you’re already underweight or nutrition has been a problem for you in the past, intermittent fasting will likely have a negative impact on your health. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, trying to conceive a child, have diabetes, have low blood pressure, or take prescription medication regularly, this diet is probably not for you.
Even if your doctor determines that intermittent fasting is safe for you, studies haven’t yet determined all of the long-term effects of intermittent fasting. This method might not be sustainable in the long run, but could serve as a helpful way to begin your weight loss or healthy living journey.
If I’m not ready to fully commit to intermittent fasting, what can I learn from this eating style?
If you don’t want to fast for multiple hours a day or for an entire day or two each week, you can still incorporate principles from intermittent fasting into your lifestyle. Stay mindful of when you’re eating and try to eat meals when you’re truly hungry rather than unconsciously snacking all day. Take note of how much time you spend eating, and avoiding eating constantly.
Depending on your health and fitness goals, intermittent fasting could serve as a useful tool to incorporate into your routine. However, it’s important to make sure you aren’t depriving your body of essential nutrients, which could leave you feeling weak and fatigued. Take precautions when starting this diet or any alternative eating style.
For more nutrition advice, visit http://starthealthy.com/food.