Intermitting Fasting: Is It Right for Your Life and Your Goals?
People are always looking for the best ways to lose weight, look better, and feel better about themselves. If the solution is straightforward and easy to accomplish, people get very enthusiastic very quickly.
Of all the weight loss options circulating, intermittent fasting seems to be the one garnering the most consideration and popularity. People who have only recently even heard of the technique are swearing by the different approach to eating and the outcomes it produces.
Although intermittent fasting is not new, much of the process is mysterious and unclear.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Fasting is a general term that implies the person is not eating foods. In some cases, fasting means people are consuming zero calories and only drinking water. In other cases, it means people are not eating calories, but drinking small amounts of them is acceptable.
Intermittent fasting is a strategy people have been employing for ages to accomplish varied goals. Most notably, people are interested in intermittent fasting as a weight-loss system.
The association between fasting and weight loss makes sense because restrictive or reduced caloric intake usually accompanies fasting. So, if a person is eating fewer calories during the day, they are more likely to lose weight.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
Though the idea of intermittent fasting seems clear, there are many variations of the program. Types of intermittent fasting include:
- Time-restricted eating – The practice of consuming all meals within a limited window of time during the day, often between six and eight hours, and then eating nothing outside of this time.
- Alternate-day eating – One day the person is free to eat without restriction and will fast on the next day with an intake of no or very low calories.
- 5:2 pattern – During the seven-day week, the person will eat freely for five days and then fast for the other two.
- Periodic fasting – Periodic fasting offers longer periods of consecutive fasting days during a month. For example, a person may eat as they typically would for 25 days and fast for the last five days.
Depending on your viewpoint, these alternatives could seem quite manageable or very impossible. Those interested in pursuing intermittent fasting should explore a number of alternatives while being honest with themselves about their desired outcomes and abilities.
Intermittent Fasting and Weight Loss
The current wave of interest in intermittent fasting has a lot to do with weight loss, but does it work? There are plenty of examples where changing when a person eats does not change how much they weigh. After all, isn’t it more important what you eat than when you eat?
In fact, the evidence shows that intermittent fasting can help with weight loss. When people eat food, the body does a great job of breaking it down into molecules in the bloodstream.
Sugars and anything the body turns into sugars, like carbohydrates, get stored as fat if the body does not use them immediately. A suitable supply of insulin is needed to store and maintain the fat cells.
Changing up your lifestyle and diet approach? Check out our four healthy eating tips for advice on how to make smart, healthy choices.
Whenever there is no food entering the body, the level of insulin decreases. Without the necessary amount of insulin to keep the fat cells regulated, they release the sugar, which the body uses for energy.
This process is the precise goal of intermittent fasting. As the person reduces their food intake, insulin lowers in the body and releases fat and sugar. With less stored fat in the body, the person will note lower weight, and hopefully, improved health.
The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Certainly, people would prefer to see a lower number on the scale, but the truly remarkable benefits of intermittent fasting are much more profound than weight loss. It is possible it could lead to:
- Increased energy
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Lower risk of diabetes
- Less risk of developing cancer
- Lower occurrence of diseases associated with old age like dementia
- Extended lifespans
That’s right. Intermittent fasting could help someone be much healthier and live longer.
The most helpful aspect of intermittent fasting could be calorie restriction. Animal studies have shown time and again that lowering the number of calories consumed each day can help improve health.
No one is encouraging a radical crash diet or drastic caloric restriction, but it does seem like lowering the intake will produce desirable effects. If you are interested in restricting your calorie intake, always consult with a nutritionist to ensure your diet is meeting your needs.
Making Intermittent Fasting Work for You
If you are convinced intermittent fasting is worth a try, consider starting slowly with a plan of only eating during an eight-hour period. Since nighttime eating is linked to higher rates of obesity, make sure the eight hours are during the day, and you finish eating by sundown.
Fasting might seem intimidating, but studies of people using this eight-hour window indicate low levels of hunger and lower levels of insulin throughout the day.
This type of fasting could be a path to improved health and longevity.