The Growing Craze of Intermittent Fasting: Is it Good for You?

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Intermittent Fasting has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years, especially among the youth. People wanting to manage their weight and practice a healthy lifestyle have been adopting this style of eating habit all around the world. Intermittent fasting involves eating between a scheduled timetable and then fasting for a particular period. There are various ways to practice intermittent fasting and one can choose the style that suits them the best. Various research has proven that fasting for a certain period of time can have huge health benefits, especially related to the person’s physique. That is why intermittent fasting is presently one of the most famous health trends.

However, intermittent fasting (IF) doesn’t specify which type of food you should eat, it only describes an eating pattern. Also, fasting is not a new phenomenon as it has been a practice throughout human evolution. This practice is also common in various religions, especially Hinduism.

Different Ways of Intermittent Fasting

There are numerous ways of practicing intermittent fasting and most of them involve dividing your day or whole week between eating and fasting periods. Some of the most popular fasting methods include:

  • The 16/8 method: In this method, the person is allowed to eat during a window of 8 hours and remain fasted for the next 16 hours.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat- In this method, you fast for 24 hours, just once or twice a week.
  • The 5:2 method: Here, you are allowed to consume only 500 to 600 calories during two days of a week and eat normally for the rest five days.

All the above methods reduce the total amount of calories that you usually intake and thereby help in reducing weight.

What Happens to Your Body When You Do Intermittent Fasting?

On molecular and cellular levels, there are various changes that take place in your body when you practice intermittent fasting. Your body begins to use the stored fat, cells show signs of improvement and regeneration. Your Human Growth Hormone increases drastically which s

  • Help in Weight loss: This method helps in weight loss because when you fast for a longer period, your body begins to use the existing fat and hence helps in fat reduction.
  • Reduce insulin resistance: When you begin to practice intermittent fasting, you give your body a chance to lower blood sugar by 3 to 6 percent.
  • Help reduce inflammation in the body.
  • It has also been observed that intermittent fasting can prevent various types of cancers.
  • Anti-aging technique: When intermittent fasting was observed in rats, it was found that their lifespan increased by 30-80 percent.

Who Should Be Careful?

People who have certain medical conditions or diseases must check with their doctors to determine if they are the right candidates or not.  Moreover, people who are already underweight should also be extra careful. Also, it has been seen that intermittent fasting is more effective for men in comparison to women. There are certain old studies related to intermittent fasting that were conducted on rats and it was observed that intermittent fasting could make female rats masculinized, infertile and cause irregular cycles.

It has also been seen that women who began practicing intermittent fasting but began missing their periods, got their regular periods once they began eating normally. Hence, it is advised that women should begin and practice intermittent fasting under the guidance of an expert.

What to Eat During Intermittent Fasting?

During the period of your fasting, you can go for zero-calorie drinks such as black coffee, water, etc. And when your eating window opens, eat healthy and nutrient-rich food items. If you continue to eat high-calorie junk food that is deep fried, you won’t lose weight or get healthy. Make sure to include green leafy vegetables, healthy fats, lean protein sources, whole grains, etc. in your diet.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

There are numerous benefits of intermittent fasting and some of them are listed below:

  • Boost thinking capacity and memory
  • It also improves your blood pressure and resting heart rates.
  • Athletic performance gets enhanced as the person loses extra weight.
  • Prevents obesity and helps keep Type 2 diabetes in check.

Is Intermittent Fasting a Safe Process?

There are various reasons for people practicing intermittent fasting. Some of them want to lose weight while others try to manage their chronic health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol, etc. However, it must be noted that intermittent fasting is not for everyone and you must consult a professional before starting intermittent fasting. Moreover, the following people should avoid intermittent fasting:

  • Children below the age of 18
  • Pregnant women
  • People with Type 1 diabetes who are dependent on insulin
  • People with a history of eating disorders

People not falling in the above categories safely continue their intermittent fasting as it can be a life-changing decision. However, you must understand that the results of intermittent fasting may from person to person and you must not get demotivated if your results are delayed. Apart from weight loss, there are numerous other benefits of intermittent fasting as well.

Disclaimer

This blog has been written after performing in-depth secondary research related to the topic from various articles, blogs, and journals with expertise in writing for healthcare. The content on this page should not be considered a substitute for medical expertise.

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