With Ramadan about to end, you, like many others, must be eager to get on the weighing machines to see if you have achieved your ideal weight. Well, many might have lost some weight willingly or unwillingly, and many must have gained it. But how can one gain weight even while fasting? The answer is simple, by eating too much and not fasting the right way.
Fasting voluntarily and involuntarily can do wonders for your health. From weight loss to insulin control to better overall health, there is little that fasting can’t do. But how do you fast the right way to reap most of its benefits?
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a dietary approach that has gained popularity in recent years for its potential health benefits. It involves restricting food intake for a specific period, usually ranging from 16 hours to 24 hours, with the remaining hours of the day reserved for eating.
Studies have shown that IF can lead to weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced inflammation, all markers of better health. Furthermore, it decreases the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
There are various methods of intermittent fasting, including the popular 16/8 method, which involves fasting for 16 hours and eating during an 8-hour window each day. Another method is alternate-day fasting, which involves fasting for 24 hours every other day.
It’s worth noting that IF is not suitable for everyone, particularly those with a history of eating disorders or certain medical conditions. However, for those who are able to try it, it can be a useful tool for achieving health goals and improving overall well-being.
What Is The Science Behind Intermittent Fasting?
When you fast, your body undergoes several changes at the cellular and molecular level. Firstly, when you don’t eat for an extended period, your insulin levels drop, and your body starts to break down stored fat for energy. This leads to weight loss and a reduction in body fat. Additionally, research proves that fasting has been shown to increase autophagy, a process in which the body breaks down and recycles old or damaged cells. This can improve cellular health and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Furthermore, while fasting, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. In this state, the body produces ketones as an alternative energy source when glucose levels are low. According to research, this metabolic switch has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Studies have also found that IF can improve insulin sensitivity, which is the body’s ability to respond to insulin and regulate blood sugar levels. This can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Additionally, fasting has been shown to reduce oxidative stress, a type of damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. Oxidative stress can contribute to ageing and chronic diseases, so reducing it can positively affect overall health.
What Are The Ways Intermittent Fast?
There are many ways in which you can opt for intermittent fasting. You can choose the best one for yourself depending on your health goals, routine, current health and feasibility.
1. The 16:8 Method
One of the most popular methods is the 16/8 method, also known as the Leangains method. This involves fasting for 16 hours and eating during an 8-hour window. This method can be done daily or a few times a week.
2. The 5:2 Method
Another popular method is the 5:2 diet, which involves eating normally for five days of the week and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories for two non-consecutive days of the week.
The alternate-day fasting method involves fasting every other day or restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories on fasting days. This method can be challenging for some people, but studies have shown that it can be effective for weight loss and overall health.
4. Time Restricted Eating
One newer method is the time-restricted eating (TRE) approach, which involves eating all meals within a specific time window, such as 12 hours or less. This method can be easier to follow for some people and has been shown to have similar benefits to other intermittent fasting methods.
Whether you choose the 16/8 method, the 5:2 diet, alternate day fasting, or time-restricted eating, intermittent fasting can improve overall health and well-being.
What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting?
1. Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting has been shown to promote weight loss by reducing calorie intake and increasing metabolism. When you fast, your body switches from using glucose for energy to using stored fat. This results in a reduction in body weight and fat mass.
Research shows that intermittent fasting can lead to a 3-8% reduction in body weight over 3-24 weeks. Moreover, intermittent fasting has been proven to be more effective for weight loss than normal calorie-restricted diets.
2. Improved Metabolic Health And Insulin Sensitivity
Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve several markers of metabolic health, including insulin sensitivity, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. This can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Research proves that intermittent fasting leads to significant improvements in insulin sensitivity. IF also reduces blood sugar levels and improves pancreatic function.
3. Reduced Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is linked to several health issues, including heart disease and cancer. Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce markers of inflammation in the body. According to research, IF reduces the levels of the inflammatory marker IL-6 by up to 50% and CRP by up to 32%.
4. Improved Brain Function
IF has been shown to improve cognitive function, memory, and brain health. It may also reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Intermittent fasting improves cognitive function and reduces the risk of age-related cognitive decline. IF also reduces the accumulation of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Increased Lifespan
Animal studies have shown that intermittent fasting can increase lifespan and delay the onset of age-related diseases. IF is found to have increased lifespan by up to 83%. Similarly, IF delays the onset of age-related diseases in fruit flies.
Who Should Avoid Intermittent Fasting?
While intermittent fasting can benefit many people, it may not suit everyone.
- Individuals who are underweight or have a history of disordered eating should avoid IF.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women should also avoid IF, as they require a consistent intake of nutrients to support the health of their babies.
- People with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, low blood pressure, or a history of ulcers, should consult with their healthcare provider before trying IF.
- Those who take medications that require food intake or have a condition that requires regular food intake should not practice IF without first consulting with their doctor.
- IF may not be appropriate for children and adolescents, as they have different nutritional needs for growth and development.
There is no denying that IF has innumerable health benefits but it is important that you dont let your nutrition stores deplete. Eating less doesnt mean you have to bear nutrition deficiencies. Route2Health supplements can help you get all the nutrients that your body needs.