You've likely heard of fasting, especially for religious reasons. But have you heard of fasting for healthy reasons? To help you lose weight? Or better yet, have you heard of fasting to prevent diseases? I'm talking about Intermittent Fasting.
If you don't know what it is, stick around to learn more. If you do know, stick around, too! You'll never know what new information you can come across on the world wide web.
For those of you who don't know what IF is, this post is going to break it down for you. We'll talk about what it is, why you should consider it, and how you can carry it out.
Before we get started: Remember this is not to serve as medical advice. We're here to inform, on the ups and downs, so you can make the best decision.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting, or IF, is an approach where you change your calorie intake. It isn't a diet. You don't change what you eat, but rather, when you eat. So if you're vegan/vegetarian, you're already on a paleo or keto diet, you can still give IF a try.
Humans adopted fasting for religious purposes centuries ago, as means of spiritual purification. Religious fasting are present, but not limited to:
- The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints
- Orthodox Christianity
- and Buddhism
IF became popular in the UK in 2012, after the television documentary Eat, Fast and Live Longer. In the United States, it has become a trend among Silicon Valley companies. Interest led some companies to commercialize expensive dieting products and services. This has caused controversy as these products and services aren't backed by science.
Why is Intermittent Fasting Important?
IF is a popular trend for some good reasons. You could adopt it to improve your health, lose weight and, simplify your lifestyle.
It helps obese people on weight loss: Reducing caloric intake 1-6 days a week over at least 12 weeks proved effective for reducing weight on an average of 15 lb.
It may help you live longer: Studies suggest that usage of alternate energetic sources besides glucose (a molecule that acts as our main energetic source), such as ketonic bodies and fatty acids (which your body begins using when you're fasting) may actually protect your cells and reduce their aging.
It improves your brain and how it works: Fasting may increase neuronal network activity in brain regions involved in cognition and it may increase your stress tolerance. Besides, it enhances creation of new brain cells, and protects your brain from neuronal degeneration.
It has some other good effects on your body: In humans, 12 to 24 hours of fasting tipically results in a 20% or greater decrease in serum glucose. It also reduces insulin resistance on cells, which relates to type 2 diabetes.
It may have a positive effects in cancer prevention and treatment: Experiments related to fasting have shown a positive effect on reduction of some types of cancer such as lymphomas on rats.
It also causes a intolerance of various types of cancerous cells to chemo treatment, since it fosters an extreme environment in combination with the stress conditions caused by chemotherapy.
It may help in prevention and fight off other diseases: Since fasting puts your body under a mild stress, scientists think that the process of responding to this stress straightens your cells ability to deal with general stress and fight off some diseases.
Simplify your days!: Skipping meals means less meals to plan, less meals to make, and more time for other things to do! It's simpler than dieting, since dieting implies buying specific and, sometimes, expensive food. Way to save some money!
Types and Variants of Intermittent Fasting
If you're thinking about getting started on IF, then you might consider choosing a specific type that fits with you.
That's right! There are different methods of IF where you can choose from.
Alternate Day Fasting (ADF): It's the strictest form of IF. It involves 24-hours complete fasting, followed by a 24-hours non-fasting period.
Whole-Day Fasting (WDF): Involves regular one or two fasting days per week. During the fasting days, it allows approximately 25% of regular caloric intake.
Time Restricted Feeding (TRF): Involves eating during a certain number of hours each day. An example can be 16:8 diet, which advocates 16 fasting hours, cycled by 8 non-fasting hours.
Tips and Reminders
- Remember that healthy lifestyle also includes some workout!
- Choose a specific method that fits with your daily routine.
- Don't push your body to the limit! Although IF is about skipping meals, remember eating a balanced diet and having the right caloric intake according to you and your lifestyle.
- Always check if there's a negative effect on your health during IF and consider modifying your method and your diet.
- Keep a record of your fasting and non-fasting periods, so you can make sure that you're going according to your plan.
- There aren't IF studies in children, the elderly and underweight people.
IF is an interesting method for improving health that you should give a try! It may be the type of routine that you were looking for!
Did you miss our previous article? You can check it out here, so you can learn all about the benefits of dark chocolate.
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