What is Intermittent Fasting and How Can it Benefit You?

What is intermittent fasting?

One of the most popular trends observed for losing weight is intermittent fasting. It is an eating pattern that switches between periods of fasting and eating. Shortened to “IF”, intermittent fasting is a popular practice that could give amazing results if you are consistent and if you combine the practice with a healthy, nutritious, and balanced diet and exercise

There are many different types of intermittent fasting, such as the 16/8 or 14/10, with 12 hours fasting period as the bare minimum since fat burning typically begins after approximately 12 hours of not eating anything. The 16/8 method is most popularly followed while doing IF. It gives you an eating window of about 8-10 hours which automatically restricts your overall calorie consumption in a day.

intermittent fasting

One must drink plenty of water and ensure proper fluid intake during the fasting period. Ideally, caffeinated beverages should be avoided. However, this practice is not for people who are diabetic, those with eating disorders, or those who are pregnant/ breastfeeding. Consult with a health professional before moving forward with this practice.

Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

For individuals struggling to lose weight, Intermittent fasting works wonders if followed to a tee. Most people out there try intermittent fasting to shed those extra kilos. Intermittent fasting makes you eat fewer meals, so quite automatically you’ll be consuming fewer calories; and when teamed up with regular exercise and a good diet, it leads to weight loss.

In a typical IF, the body can use fat stored in the cells as fuel. This means that the fat is getting consumed instead of getting stored. Also, intermittent fasting enhances hormone function to speed up the weight loss process. When you don’t eat for a while, several changes occur in your body, for example, insulin levels drop significantly, facilitating fat burning.

intermittent fasting

During a period of prolonged fasting like IF, cells release stored glucose as energy as a result of the decreasing insulin levels. Repeating this process at regular intervals (usage of stored glucose) ultimately leads to weight loss. Also the level of Human growth hormone rises which again facilitates fat burning and muscle gain.

In this manner, short-term fasting boosts your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%, causing increased fat loss and less muscle loss. When you fast, insulin levels drop, and the human growth hormone increases. Our body cells also begin important cellular repair processes which impact the expression of our genes. All things considered, intermittent fasting can help boost metabolism and become an effective weight-loss tool.

intermittent fasting

IF aids in tackling diseases

In human studies on intermittent fasting, it has been proved to have major benefits for insulin resistance and leads to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels, proving that fasting may be highly beneficial for people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a disease which has become incredibly common over the decades. This type of fasting can help lower cholesterol, reduce liver fat and improve blood pressure, hence increasing people’s overall lifespan.

Harvard research has revealed that intermittent fasting might slow down the aging process in terms of weight loss, maintain blood pressure and reduce bad cholesterol. Further studies have revealed that intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body which works against ageing.

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When a person fasts, the cells in their body undergo a cellular “waste removal” process called autophagy. This is a process where the cells break down while metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins. It has been observed that increased levels of autophagy provide protection against several diseases, including cancer (uncontrolled growth of cells ).

Although human studies are needed, there is evidence that shows how intermittent fasting helps prevent cancer by reducing tumor growth and even prevent recurrences of breast cancer. Studies have shown that practicing IF diligently might even reduce side effects caused by chemotherapy. Animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting may protect against other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease.

Further reading:

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Shreya Paul
Moody, Floaty, Fire & DESIRE!

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