BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
Improve biomarkers for disease
Reduce oxidative stress
Preserve learning and memory function
Lowered blood cholesterol
Reversal of type 2 diabetes
Improved fat burning
Maintain Triglycerides at Healthy Levels
Maintain Blood Pressure at Healthy Levels
Maintain Healthy Levels of Bone Density
Decrease Visceral Fat
Maintain Insulin Resistance at Healthy Levels
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, rather a dieting pattern where you consume your calories during a specific window of the day and choose to not consume food for a length of time depending from person to person. It is important to note that Intermittent fasting is not starving yourself. It is however about control and listening to your body. Starvation is the involuntary absence of food. Fasting is the voluntary withholding of food for spiritual, health, weightloss, and other reasons.
At its very core, fasting simply allows the body to burn off excess body fat. It is normal to realize humans have been evolved to fast without detrimental health consequences. The body fat is merely food energy that has been stored away and if you don’t eat your body will simply eat its own fat for energy. Culturally, fasting has been a primal part of human kind. Hypocrites once said, “Let food be thy medicine” “To eat when you are sick, is to feed your sickness”. Fundamentally the body is designed to fast. All animals have the same ability to do so.
Benjamin Franklin once said the best of all medicines is resting and fasting. He was considered to be one of the smartest people of all time. Mahatma Gandhi said that a genuine fast cleanses the mind, the body and soul. Buddhist monks practice fasting on a daily ritual. The muslim faith believes that, the prophet Mohamed said that fasting brings us to the door of his palace. The religious holiday of Ramadan, a fast is practiced from sunrise to sundown for an entire month.
Although there are many religious principles and practices when it comes to fasting, fasting does not have to be religious at all but a means to simply help heal and cleanse the body. You decide!
Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are different popular variations of fasting trends being recommended by various authors and health experts. One of the most popular ways to fast is the 16/8 method where you fast for 16 hours each day while restricting your eating window to 8-10 hours. Within this eating window you eat 2-3 or more meals. The 16/8 method was popularized by fitness expert Martin Berkhan.
For example: If you finish your last meal at 8pm you do not generally eat until 12pm the next day. That way you have fasted a full 16 hours. During this fast you are allowed to have water and coffee. Again, if you are starving you should always listen to your body. Fasting may take time to build up an adjustment. Having some RIPE Broth (Bone or Vegan) would not break a fast either as it contains very little calories per serving, as little as 15-20 calories/ cup.
The 5:2 diet- fast for 2 days/ week. Involves eating 500-600 calories for two days of the week, eating “normally” the other 5.
Eat-Stop-Eat: Do a 24 hour fast, once or twice a week.
Alternate day fasting: Fast every other day. Eating only up to a few hundred calories on alternate “fast” days.
The warrior diet: Fast during the day and eat a huge meal at night. Only consuming small amounts of fruits and vegetables during the day, then eating a huge meal at night.
Meal skipping: skipping meals when convenient. When not hungry try skipping a meal or two especially when you don’t have time to eat.
One Psychiatry study conducted towards fasting and mood disorders based on Intermittent Fasting, clinicians have found that fasting was frequently accompanied by an increased level of vigilance and mood improvement, a subjective feeling of well-being and sometimes of euphoria. Observations relate an early effect between just day 2 and 7 - the effect of fasting on depressive symptoms with an improvement in mood, alertness and a sense of tranquility reported by patients.
Many studies conducted on lab rats have shown Intermittent fasting helps with weight loss, lower blood pressure, lowered cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
Growing research shows that the timing of the fast is key, if it is realistic, sustainable and effective it can be a great approach for weight loss. Intermitting fasting has also been shown to prevent diabetes and reverse type 2 diabetes.
When you don’t eat for 10-16 hours, your body will go to its fat stores for energy, and fatty acids called ketones. These ketones will be released into the bloodstream, in turn this has been shown to protect memory and learning functionality , as well as slow disease processes in the brain.
How does intermitting fasting help with weight loss?
When food enters our mouths and travels down into our stomach, the food is broken down into enzymes in our gut and eventually becomes molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly refined grains are broken down into sugar which our cells use for energy. If our cells do not use these sugars for energy, they will get stored as fat. Sugar however can only enter the cells with insulin, hormone made by the pancreas. Insulin then brings sugar into fat cells and keeps it there.
In between meals, when we do not snack, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar to use for energy. This is where the weightless happens, when we allow our bodies insulin levels to go down.
The body only exists in two states - the fed state (insulin high) and the fasted state (insulin low). Either we are storing food energy or we are burning it. It is one or the other. If we are eating and fasting then there is no net weight gain.
Top tips/ recommendations for intermittent fasting !
Choose a regime that works for you and your lifestyle
Work out in the morning fasted
First meal should be health conscious and low sugar
Give yourself a few days to adjust to the new habit
Drink lots of water! Add lemon for some natural Vitamin C
Fasting may just not for you, and that’s okay !
You are used to working out early and don’t have enough energy until lunchtime.
You start your workday early and feel sluggish if you don’t eat something.
Your work or workouts are high intensity/stress
You don’t feel good going long periods without food (low blood pressure or low blood glucose).
If you have any medical condition you should always consult with your health care professional before making any dietary changes.
It is also important to be aware that some believe intermittent fasting is not as beneficial for women as it is for men, and it may also be a poor choice for people who are prone to eating disorders. If you are already a restrictive eater this may encourage binging or purging and is not recommended.
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