What is Intermittent Fasting?

 

By Reading This Article you Will Get the Following:

  • What is Intermittent Fasting? 
  • What are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting? 
  • 3 Different ways of Intermittent Fasting

What is Intermittent Fasting? 

Intermittent Fasting

 

 

 

 

 

Intermittent fasting -  I'm sure you've heard of the term by now. But what exactly is it? Intermittent fasting is currently one of the world's most popular health and fitness trends. It involves entirely or partially abstaining from eating for a specific amount of time, before eating regularly again.

 

In this article, we discuss the research behind the most popular types of intermittent fasting and provide tips on how to maintain this type of diet.

 

What are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

Some studies suggest that this way of eating may offer health benefits such as fat loss and increased life expectancy. Proponents claim that an intermittent fasting program is easier to maintain than traditional, calorie-controlled diets.

People are using it in hopes to lose weight, improve their health and increase their longevity. Many studies show that it can also have powerful effects on your body and brain. 

 

At a Cellular Level

Intermittent Fasting Burns Fat.

 

 

 

 

 

The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains (think white flours and rice), are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells don’t use it all, we store it in our fat cells as, you guessed it, fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone that is made in the pancreas. Insulin brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there.

Between meals, as long as we don’t snack, our insulin levels decline and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be burned as energy for the body. We burn fat if we let our insulin levels go down. The entire idea of intermittent fasting is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our body's stored fat.

Combined With a Plant Based Diet

New research is suggesting that not all intermittent fasting approaches are the same, and some are actually very reasonable, effective, and sustainable, especially when combined with a nutritious plant-based diet. Further research is required but the evidence is not surprising. Eating natural food that comes from the earth will help you live a happier, healthier life. 

Here's a video on what you CAN eat while intermittent fasting:

Timing of Your Diet 

The human body has evolved to be in sync with the day/night cycle. Our metabolism has adapted to daytime food, nighttime sleep. Nighttime eating is well associated with a higher risk of obesity, as well as diabetes. 

Think back to our hunter gatherer days. It is not natural for the human body to have access to snacks at any time of the day. Find a time to regularly eat dinner and do not eat after that time until the next morning. 

3 Different ways to try Intermittent Fasting

There are many different methods of intermittent fasting. The methods vary in the number of fast days and the calorie allowances. Each person's experience of intermittent fasting is individual, and different styles will suit different people.

It is recommended that you start with the time restricted method and work your way towards more extreme forms of intermittent fasting should you choose to do so. 

 

1. Time Restricted Method: 

Intermittent Fasting Time Frame

 

 

 

 

 

 

This method is the most popular form of intermittent fasting.

In this option, you have set strict fasting and eating time frames.

  • For example, you plan to fast for 16 hours of the day and are able to eat for the other 8 hours of the day.
  • The hours you choose are flexible but the idea is that you are not eating after dinner until the next day.

It’s convenient as you can extend the overnight fast by skipping breakfast and not eating until lunch. Here are some of the most common fasting schedules:

  • 16/8 method: Only eating between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. or noon and 8 p.m.
  • 14/10 method: Only eating between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.  

This method of intermittent fasting can be repeated as often as you’d like or even done once or twice a week. We suggest you try out different schedules and find what works best for you. 

Finding the right eating and fasting windows for this method might take a few days to figure out, especially if you’re very active or if you wake up hungry for breakfast. For example, this may be difficult for athletes or those who like to exercise heavily. This group of people tends to need more calories and it is important to make note of your caloric intake. 

The time restricted form of intermittent fasting is a safer way for people who are interested in trying intermittent fasting for the first time.

2. Twice a Week Method: 

What is intermittent fasting?

 

 

 

 

This approach to intermittent fasting focuses on limiting your calories to 500 for two days a week. During the other five days of the week, you maintain a healthy and normal diet.

On days that you fast, this approach usually includes a 200 and a 300-calorie meal.

  • It’s important to focus on high-fiber and high-protein foods to help fill you up, but to also keep calories low when fasting. 
  • Meals like chicken and vegetables tend to work well with this high protein, low calorie requirement.  

You can choose whichever two fasting days of the week you would like as long as there is a non-fasting day between them. Be sure to eat the same amount of food you normally would on non-fasting days.

3. The 24 Hour Fast: 

24 hour intermittent fast

 

 

 

 

Take caution with this approach, as it is the most extreme method of intermittent fasting. 

This method involves fasting completely for a full 24 hours. Often times, it’s only done once or twice a week.

  • Most people fast from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch.
  • With this version of intermittent fasting, the side effects can be severe, such as fatigue, headaches, irritability, hunger and low energy.

This type of fasting is not recommended for those who burn excess calories such as athletes or marathon runners. The 24 hour fast should be approached with caution. 

If you follow this method, you should return to a normal, healthy diet on your non-fasting days.

Summary:

Consider a simple approach to intermittent fasting if you're starting out. The long term research is not clear on this method, however recent literature suggests that intermittent fasting can have health benefits. As with any diet, proper nutrition and healthy eating is vital to the success of the diet.

*Consult you doctor or nutritionist before trying intermittent fasting.

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