Intermittent Fasting Explained: How it works, types, pros and cons and much more – Lose Weight Fast

Intermittent Fasting Explained: How it works, types, pros and cons and much more

All of us practise intermittent (IF) fasting every night while we sleep. However we don’t name it intermittent fasting. Our sleeping hours constitute our daily fasting phase which is well-aligned with our body’s circadian rhythm. A 2012 documentary by BBC known as Eat Fast and Live Longer is often attributed the credit of popularizing intermittent fasting. This dietary pattern has long been associated with reducing the risk of many serious health conditions like breast cancer heart disease diabetes and cognitive decline. In fact research has proved that restricted calorie intake adds years to your life.
IF requires you to embrace fasting for long durations intermittently. The duration could be for weeks or days. The basic principle is calorie restriction during stipulated time periods. There are different formats of this dietary pattern. Various scientific studies have been conducted on animals. But more human studies are required to fathom its impact on human health. Popularly it is believed to promote weight loss and boost longevity.
There are no recommended foods for intermittent fasting nor is there any elimination. Here the theory is calorie restriction for restricted time periods. While there is limit on food intake during the fast days or times you can eat whatever you wish to on the days you aren’t fasting. This is what is known as “Ad libtum”. This Latin term means as much as necessary or desired.
What makes this dietary pattern stand apart is the importance it associates with food timing. There are more than one ways of practising intermittent fasting. The basic principle is dividing a day or week into eating and fasting periods. During the fasting periods you either in low proportions or skip meals altogether. Each method of intermittent fasting comes with its own set of rules and regulations. These are the most popular ones:
Intermittent fasting with no calorie restriction
Being easy to follow this is the most popular form of intermittent fasting. The basic principle you fast on one day and feast on the next. On the days of fasting food intake is minimal focussed mainly towards liquids while on the feast days there’s no calorie restriction. Research is going on about the health impact of this kind of fasting.
Intermittent fasting with calorie restriction       
This is quite similar to the previous format with a little difference. In Intermittent fasting with calorie restriction your food intake on fasting days is limited to only water herbal teas and black tea/coffee with no sugar. Also on feasting days you have to watch your calorie intake.
Time-restricted feeding              
In this form the practitioners eat only during restricted hours of the day. While their food intake is restricted for 6 to 8 hours of the day the rest no-food window lasts for the rest of the day. They may or may not restrict calories during the eating hours. Research suggests that this eating pattern is optimal for metabolic health.
5:2 Diet
If you want to follow this type of dietary pattern then you are allowed to eat for five days a week and fast for 2 days. On the fasting days you need to limit your calorie intake to 500 to 600 calories and on the feasting days you are allowed to eat normally with no restriction in mind.
Periodic fasting               
In this method you fast occasionally during a week or a month and eat during the rest of the days. During the non-fasting days you need to maintain a moderate eating pattern.

This dietary pattern is known for very many health benefits it has. However scientists suggest that more research is required to validate the preliminary evidences and popular beliefs. Here we guide you on some of the ways intermittent fasting may help you stay healthier.
No major nutrient is eliminated
Many diets impose ban on macronutrients like carbs fat or protein which are essential for your body. Moreover those eating patterns require you to substitute many of your favourite foods with the healthier versions. Intermittent fasting doesn’t necessitate any of these. However in this eating style you have to cut down portions in fasting and non-fasting days too.
Helps you shed those extra kilos
Studies have revealed that IF has significant impact on the loss of fat mass. That is why it may be effective in promoting weight loss. However experts are of the opinion that it is as effective as other diets while it comes to shedding extra kilos. IF may not have additional benefits in this regard. But more research is required to reach a definitive conclusion. A 2018 study published in the journal Nutrition also revealed that IF reduced body mass in the younger population (20 years) while among the older population (50 years) no such evidence was found.
May add years to your life
Intermittent fasting is popularly believed to boost longevity. A mice-model study by the National Institute on Aging observes that intermittent fasting extended the longevity of rodents and reduced their risk of life-threatening conditions especially cancer. However more research is required to draw a definite conclusion.
Though intermittent fasting isn’t a new practice research on its benefits is still at a nascent stage. Some studies have however observed that this dietary pattern comes with its own set of limitations too. For example you may feel extremely weak fatigued and cranky on the fast days. Talk to your physician and a nutritionist before embracing this plan. Here is a low-down on some of the side challenges that you may face while following this plan.
You may experience frequent hunger pangs
This is a common complaint among those who follow intermittent fasting. You may feel severe hunger pangs while on fast as no or very low food intake is allowed.
Food choice doesn’t matter
Intermittent fasting doesn’t teach you how to make the right choice of foods because it focusses only on mealtimes and calorie count. So you don’t learn healthy eating skills. However for long-term health benefits you need to master the art of mindful eating.
Physical activity isn’t prioritized
Intermittent fasting doesn’t talk about or recommend physical activity. So if you are following this dietary pattern you are likely to neglect your daily requirement of physical activities.
Taking medications may be difficult
Practising intermittent fasting may be particularly challenging if you are taking medications that necessitate you to have meals at definite time frames. Speak to your physician if you want to take up this diet while on medications.

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