Intermittent fasting is one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends. Even though it's technically not a diet, some people do use it to control their weight and improve their health and lifestyle.
Some studies have shown that Intermittent fasting can has powerful effects on your body and can even lengthen your lifespan. Again, intermittent fasting diet is not a diet but more of an eating pattern in which you switch between periods on fasting and eating.
There are no specific rules to what you can eat or can’t, but rather when you can eat and can’t. Some common methods involve daily fasting anywhere from 10-18 hours. The most popular is the 16/8 protocol - fasting for 16 hours and having an eating 'window' of 8 hours. During the fasting periods you eat nothing (zero calories), but can drink black coffee, water, sugar and calorie free beverages. 16/8 is easier for most to follow because it typically starts a fast in the evening (8:00pm for example), skip breakfast in the morning and have your first meal at 12:00pm. Another popular method is the 5/2 - eating your normal calories for 5 days and then limiting your calories to about 500 per day for 2 days per week.
The reason why many people find that this helps them to lose weight is quite simple. It limits how much you eat, creating a calorie deficit just by limiting how much time you have to eat. If you are following a strict diet/macro plan already but try to split it up over 6 smaller meals per day, intermittent fasting may be a way for you to eat 3 larger meals instead of 6 small meals. Personally, it's a great tool for me when I'm in prep for a bikini show because my calories do get lower and intermittent fasting allows me to eat larger, more satisfying meals and still be at the calorie/macro levels I need for fat loss.
What are the Benefits?
When you start fasting, several things can happen to your body on a cellular level.
Weight loss: Fasting reduces the amount of calories you consume, which again, leads to weight loss. In addition, although not full proven scientifically yet, your body may adjust its hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. This also leads to weight loss.
Cellular repair (autophagy): When fasting consecutively, your cells start digesting old and dysfunctional proteins in them and remove old dead cells. They also repair themselves, which leads to a boosted immune system and may even help with aging.
Insulin: Insulin sensitivity can improve and your insulin level may drop. Lower insulin levels make stored body fat more readily accessible.
Better brain health: Fasting may increase the brain hormone “BDNF” and aids the growth of new nerve cells which may protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Many IF (Intermittent Fasting) followers find an increased level of focus during their fasting period.
Who can do Intermittent fasting?
Fasting is commonly considered safe, however may not for be everyone. If someone is underweight or has an eating disorder, diabetes or low blood pressure, they should not fast without consulting a health professional. Fasting is also not ideal for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
So again, Intermittent Fasting is not a diet, but a eating protocol that limits the time of day that you eat. If you are struggling with an eating plan that works for you, it may be something worth trying.
Until next time