Intermittent Fasting


The fasting periods were often called “cleanses” or “detoxification”, the idea is the same– to abstain from eating food for a certain period of time.


Intermittent fasting (IF) involves alternating cycles of abstaining from food and eating

it. For intermittent fasting the focus is not exactly on quality or quantity of food butrather just the time frame that you’re eating in.


Two most popular intermittent fasting protocols:


1] Window of eating Period: It involves eating during a restricted window period for few designated hours. The most common are 12/12, 16/8, 20/4.


12/12: Fasting for 12 hours and eating within the remaining 12 hours. This is fairly easy and more realistic one. E.g. first meal at 8 am and last meal at 8 am.


16/8: Fasting for 16 hours and then only eating within a specific 8-hour window. You can adjust this window to make it work for you, e.g. If you start eating at: 11AM, stop eating and start fasting at 7pm or If you start eating at: 2PM, stop eating and start fasting at 10pm


20/4: Fasting for 20 hours and eating within 4 hours window. E.g. If you start eating at 5pm, stop eating at 9pm.


2] 5:2 Method: This involves eating normally 5 days a week, then restricting your calorie intake to 500-600 calories on the other 2 days. To follow this diet safely, you should reduce how much you eat, rather than not eating anything.


For normal eating days follow the recommended daily intake of calories depending on BMI and physical activity.


Your body needs time to acclimate to any extreme changes. Calories still count, and food quality is still absolutely crucial.


Guideline to follow for Intermittent Fasting:


1] It’s important to make sure you’re getting lots of nutrients and goodness from your meals (essential proteins, vitamins and minerals) to help you stay healthy.


2] Avoid binging the day after fasting, over indulgence of calories will defeat the health

benefits and may prevent weight loss.


3] IF diet does not restrict water intake and participants are encouraged to drink plenty of water and tea on fasting days/period. Coffee and other non-caloric beverages are allowed.


4] To prevent muscle loss it is important to lift weights/exercise and to include quality protein in your diet.


5] Listen to your body, try to keep your day as relaxed as possible and exert the least amount of energy for initial phase of intermittent fasting.


Benefits of Intermittent Fasting:

Some research studies have shown that intermittent fasting may help with weight loss and improved metabolism, this eating pattern has also been researched for its impact on insulin resistance, as well as for its potential to decrease inflammation, enhance cell repair, and support a healthy gastrointestinal tract.


Intermittent fasting is not recommended for the following:

Diabetics: Diabetic individual’s especially insulin-dependent diabetes should likely avoid radical fasting regimens. Sugar spikes and dips that can be life-threatening for diabetics if not controlled.

Underweight

Eating disorder:

  •   Pregnancy (or women who are breast-feeding)

  •   People who take medications for blood pressure or heart disease also may be more prone to electrolyte abnormalities from fasting.

Drawbacks of Intermittent Fasting:

1] Regain of weight in future.

2] Many people experience heartburn, because the body is used to old eating pattern, so it

releases acids at certain times.

3] Headaches are a common occurrence during fasting. Most complain of mild headaches

every now and then, while others experience them throughout.

4] Some women who try Intermittent Fasting claim to experience missed periods, metabolic

disturbances and early-onset menopause.

5] Low level of energy first couple of weeks. 6] Fasting causes stress that leads to unhealthy cortisol rhythm.

if you feel good when fasting and find it to be a sustainable way of eating, intermittent fasting is a convenient way to restrict calories without consciously trying to eat less.


Eating real food, exercising and taking care of your sleep are still the most important factors to focus on.


Like all diets, it might work for one person but fail miserably for another. Most of the

studies we do have are on animals, and our human trials are generally very small. Also, the

long-term effects of IF have not been studied. Considering the benefits and risk before

embarking on intermittent fasting is important. Listen to your body, if you feel good when fasting and find it to be a sustainable way of eating, intermittent fasting is a convenient way

to restrict calories without consciously trying to eat less.


The main goal should be to develop a healthy eating pattern that is sustainable and can

support health motives over time.


Eating real food, exercising and taking care of your sleep are still the most important factors to focus on.


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