Intermittent fasting: Is it For You?
Another new way of losing weight has arrived and it sounds a little too good to be true. Let’s investigate.
Have you heard of ‘Intermittent Fasting’? Celebrities such as Terry Crews, Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lopez all have one thing in common and that’s being in super good shape and that they all practice intermittent fasting.
It is a method that doesn’t dictate the types of food you should eat but rather, the time frame to eat them. Thus, it’s not a diet and more an eating pattern. Common methods include daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours twice a week.
Fasting is already in practice due to evolution because sometimes, in the past, there wasn’t any food to hunt or gather and thus, humans needed to go without food (fast). It is also done for religious or spiritual reasons.
There are a few approaches to intermittent fasting and it all involves splitting your day or week into eating and fasting periods. When you are fasting, you eat either very little amounts of food or nothing at all. Here are the popular methods of intermittent fasting.
The 16/8 method is where you skip breakfast and restrict your daily eating times to eight hours. For example, 2pm to 10pm. Then, you fast for 16 hours in between.
Eat-Stop-Eat is where you fast for 24 hours, once or twice a week.
The 5:2 diet is where you consume only 500 to 600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week but eat normally the other days.
Depending on your lifestyle, these methods should help you lose weight due to less calorie intake. However, to ensure that it works, please make an effort to not eat much more during your ‘eating periods’. The easiest method is the 16/8 method since it’s the most sustainable to stick to and incidentally, it is also the most popular.
Sure, you might think, “Oh that means I can eat whatever I want as long as it’s within the eight hour period,” but if your diet is made up of junk food and other unhealthy items, sure you’re eating less calories but it wouldn’t do much for your health. Do incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables, reduce your intake of salt and processed food and stay hydrated!
WHY THIS METHOD
The most common reason for people to try intermittent fasting is weight loss. By eating fewer meals, it leads to a reduction in calorie intake. It also changes hormone levels in your body which may even increase your metabolic rate.
The most important thing to take away from this method is that you will eat fewer calories but do ensure that you are still regularly exercising. Keep in mind that intermittent fasting makes you eat less calories but if you binge eat during your eating periods, the weight will not come off at all.
MORE REASONS TO TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING
Other than weight loss, other benefits of intermittent fasting include:
- It could help reduce insulin resistance, lowering your blood sugar and fasting insulin levels which could help protect against type 2 diabetes.
- Reduction in inflammation markers which is good because inflammation is the key cause of many chronic diseases.
- Could help reduce LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein)-bad cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood sugar and insulin resistance which are all risk factors of heart disease.
A few things to note is that intermittent fasting is definitely not for everyone. If you are underweight or have had an eating disorder, you shouldn’t fast without checking with a healthcare professional first. Additionally, the main side effect of intermittent fasting is hunger and it’s possible to feel weak and your brain may not perform at its optimal level as per usual. If in doubt, do check with a certified medical professional before you start any method of fasting to ensure that it will not impact your lifestyle negatively. Good luck!