The internet has made it easier than ever to stay up to date about what is hot in the world of health and fitness, and one trend that has been gaining strong traction among enthusiasts is intermittent fasting.
While many people think of intermittent fasting as a diet, it should be noted that this pattern of eating is more about the eating schedule one follows than it is about what is actually eaten – although meals should still be balanced and healthy.
According to its proponents, intermittent fasting promotes weight loss and overall metabolic health.
Intermittent fasting in a nutshell
Intermittent fasting can be done in a number of ways, but always requires a person to fast for a certain period of time, allowing for so-called “fed” and “fasted” states.
During the fed state, which lasts for three to five hours after eating, the body digests and absorbs food, but fat-burning is low due to insulin levels being higher.
The fasted state is entered about eight to 12 hours after a meal has been eaten, and lower insulin levels in the body allow it to then burn fat more efficiently.
Here are six popular methods of intermittent fasting:
- The 16/8 method: Restricts the daily eating window to eight to 10 hours, with 14 to 16 hours of fasting in between.
- The 5:2 diet: Eat normally for five days of the week, but restrict calorie intake to 500 to 600 calories on two days.
- Eat-stop-eat: Include a 24-hour fast, once or twice a week.
- Alternate-day fasting: Fast every other day.
- The Warrior Diet: Eat small amounts of raw vegetables during the day, and eat a very big meal at night.
- Spontaneous meal skipping: Skip meals when you don’t feel hungry or don’t have time to eat.
When trying out intermittent fasting, it is important to remember that the meals you do eat should be filled with fresh and healthy quality ingredients, and should still be healthy and balanced. Even though you aren’t allowed to eat during fasting periods, you are allowed to drink water, coffee and other non-caloric beverages.
It is important to note that this will not be an efficient weight-loss tool for everyone, and is not recommended for people with a history of eating disorders. Also, periods of fasting often lead to instances of overeating, and may negatively impact immunity, digestion, hormone balance and sleep patterns.
Still, many health and fitness gurus swear by the benefits they’ve reaped from intermittent fasting. If you have tried everything, speak to your doctor or nutritionist about how you can make intermittent fasting a part of your lifestyle.