A Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting: Types, Benefits and Effects

Fasting has been a long time ritual and a natural part of people’s life. Fasting is nothing new. Our ancestors did it either in the process to follow religious rituals or when they don’t have enough access to food. They just stay without eating either in the search of food or not enough sources to eat. Moreover, countless religious ceremonies revolve around various dietary fasting in Hindus as well as a month long Ramadan in Islam. But today, it has taken a new form; people are more conscious about health and regulating calories and fat in their body.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

People incorporate fasting but not as a measure of any enlightening or spiritual experience, rather a simple way to restrict calories and lose weight. Intermittent fasting is just a unique way of fasting in which you need not stay without eating for long like for 24 hours or a month it just involves eating and not eating during some intervals of time. Intermittent fasting involves alternating cycles of eating with cycles of not eating. It’s something more structured than just deciding to eat and to stop. As this popular weight loss diet doesn’t dictate which foods to eat or even how much to consume.

So, once you are on IF, during the fasting period, no food should grace your lips except water, tea or coffee, including some non-caloric drinks. Nowadays, IF has been adopted by numerous health gurus, dieticians and they do suggest for the same too.

Types of Intermittent Fasting:

12/12 way: This is the most simplest IF regimen and most of the people are doing it without knowing about it. They restrict their eating window to 12 hours and fasting window to 12 hours.

16/8 way: In this method, people fast for 16 hours and restrict their eating window to 8 hours. That means people squeeze their eating to two meals a day, by most probably skipping breakfast and taking other two accordingly.

20/4 way: Here, you are getting more intense by restricting your eating window to 4 hours with a continuous 20 hours fasting.
There are many other types too including 5:2 diets where you fast for 2 days in a week and eat for rest of the five days. Moreover you can go for a 24 hour day fast in a week.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Sharpen Brain: Intermittent Fasting helps a lot in sharpening brain and increasing memory power. It works positive on brain cells. IF mixed with Ketogenic diet is a perfect combination that helps increasing brain power and healing damaged brain cells if any.

Promotes Lesser Eating: Most probably we incorporate IF for weight loss, but does it really work. The answer is a big YES! As we restrict our eating window and you will probably eat lesser meals, assuming you don’t binge your fasting window, you could lose weight.

Slows Aging Process: If assists in slowing down the aging process, one way is it mimic calorie restriction which is the most appropriate way of increasing life span. Fasting gives your body cells the ability to detox and recycle, which results in slow down aging process and mitigating age related diseases.

Reduces Risk Of Diabetes: It is noticeable that fasting diet cycles help restore insulin secretion and promote growth of new insulin helpful for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Maintains Healthy Heart: Intermittent Fasting helps in reducing the risks of heart failure as it leads to decline in body cholesterol making your heart healthier.

Helps Fighting Cancer: Studies shows that IF might help fighting cancel by killing cancer causing cells and boosting immune system.

Drawbacks of Intermittent Fasting

Inspite of its numerous health benefits, IF might lead to some concerns too. Let us recall them:

• Infertility
• Not realistic in long run
• Hamper the performance of athletes
• Results in disordered eating
• Headaches

Who Should Avoid Intermittent Fasting?

While early research proposes that fasting may have a few advantages on blood sugar control, people with insulin-dependent diabetes should certainly maintain a strategic distance from radical fasting regimens. Enjoying regular, healthy meals can help counteract sugar spikes that can be perilous for diabetics if not controlled. It might also not be perfect for novice or expert athletes who rely upon superbly coordinated fuel before and after every activity for athletic execution and recovery.

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