Intermittent Fasting – Methods and Benefits
Countless techniques are followed by today’s generation to lose weight or to keep them disease free. Dieting is also the part of these techniques, some of which give positive impact, but most of the time proves as a failure method. This failure demotivates the individual regarding dieting techniques in improvement of his health. But one of the most successful fasting or dieting techniques to be found is intermittent fasting. This fasting technique is now in trend among the population worldwide who desires to live a disease free life and want a proper body shape. Today we will study about intermittent fasting and how one can bring it in use.
Intermittent fasting is a technique of feeding your body in particular hours and staying hungry for the rest hours. For example, eat food between 12PM and 8 PM (i.e. 8 hours), but stay hungry from 8 PM to 12 PM the following day (fasting for 16 hours). Basic principle of intermittent fasting is to restrict the intake of calories during a prescribed period of time and it can be performed by an individual as many times he wants according to his age, lifestyle, body type and health condition.
Methods of Intermittent Fasting
There are various methods of intermittent fasting, choose a suitable one according to your age, lifestyle, body type and health condition. As we know a person suffering from some serious health issues or living a busy lifestyle is not able do hard type of fasting. Same case is for small and old aged persons; they can’t stay hungry throughout the day as their body mechanisms don’t support this. So, read various methods and choose any of them accordingly.
- Intermittent fasting with calories restriction: This is the most common method of intermittent fasting. It includes fasting on one day and eating on the next day. When on the fasting, food consumption is very minor; mainly liquids are added in diet. But eating or feast days give permission to eat food with no restriction of calories.
- Intermittent fasting without caloric restriction: This method is close to the previous method but the only difference in this method is feast days include diet intake with restriction of calories i.e. up to 400 to 500 calories per day.
- Time-restricted feeding: In this type of intermittent fasting, eating should be done in restricted hours of the day (6 to 8 hours) and prevent eating in rest hours of the day. Practitioner can decide diet with or without calories restriction according to his will.
- Periodic fasting: In this method of intermittent fasting, an individual practices fasting occasionally in a week or a month and consume food during the remaining days. Make sure to maintain a moderate pattern of eating.
- 5:2 diet: One undergoing this method of intermittent fasting will do fasting for 2 days of week but can eat during rest 5 days of week. Calories intake limit should not be increased from 500 to 600 calories per day. You can include healthy food in your diet on feast days for better results.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Here is a list of various benefits of intermittent fasting:
1. Cellular Cleaning
Cellular cleanup is the base of some wonderful benefits of intermittent fasting. When you put yourself on intermittent fasting, your cells start the process of excreting waste material from themselves; this phenomenon is termed as Autophagy. This process makes the cell more efficient for their work such as fat burning mechanism and energy generation.
2. Restore the Health of Gut
As we know it’s necessary to give rest to muscles after gym so that they can repair themselves. In the same way, intermittent fasting helps the gut to repair and restoring their health. When you are on fasting, food intake decreases which further decreases the workload of your gut. Constant or bad eating habits don’t provide enough time to the gut for healing process, so intermittent fasting is important and beneficial for gut health.
3. Maintain Healthy Mitochondria
Maintain the mitochondria’s health by practicing intermittent fasting. Mitochondria are membrane bound organelles playing a crucial role in energy production. Eating down the whole day or feeding the body with processed carbs, high proteins can disturb the normal working of these organelles because they are not good for using as fuel. Abnormal working of mitochondria decreases the energy level of an individual and gives the feeling of being tired. By doing intermittent fasting, it becomes easy for mitochondria to regain its health and feel more energetic.
4. Excrete Out Harmful Bacteria
With the help of intermittent fasting, the body flows out all the harmful bacteria from the body. Giving less time for rest to your gut will turn off an essential pathway i.e. Migrating Motor Complex (MMC). This pathway flushes out toxins, unabsorbed food and bacteria from the body and maintains healthy blood flow. Constant or excess consumption of food turns off this beneficial pathway which may lead to the accumulation of waste material in the small intestine and development of bacteria, increase pressure on stomach and bloating also. So, intermittent fasting protects the body from harmful bacteria.
5. Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin sensitivity is important in pre-diabetics, diabetics as well as for overall health. Practicing intermittent improves insulin sensitivity, and thus providing normal level of blood pressure, lower down oxidative stress, post prandial insulin.
6. Improve Growth Hormone
Growth hormone helps the body to grow, give protection to body muscles from breaking and increase mechanisms of fat burn. This hormone is also known as Anti-aging hormone. Undergoing intermittent fasting will help you in enhancement of the growth hormone.
7. Cut Down Sugar Cravings
When an individual is on intermittent fasting, his body begins to utilize its own fat storage as a fuel source. Body didn’t depend anymore on glucose for its fueling. This result in a balance in glucose level and decrease the cravings of sugar.
8. Enhance Sleep Quality
Normal mitochondria will help you in getting more energy, but how does it impact your sleep? When you brace intermittent fasting with good nutrient timing, you start to balance your hormones and natural rhythm of circadian. This supports in reduction of stress hormone (cortisols) and enhances sleep hormone (melatonin) at night which provide you good quality sleep.
9. Lower Down Hunger Hormones
When the body becomes persistent to utilize body fat as a fuel source, then it is generating the energy required from that instead of eating food every hour. Induced fat burning will help to decrease hunger causing hormone (ghrelin). That is the reason you feel a reduced level of hunger when you are on intermittent fasting.
10. Support in Reducing Body Weight
Intermittent fasting has a positive impact on shedding fat mass from the body and thus helps in decreasing kilogram numbers of weight. Your body turned itself into fat burning mode during intermittent fasting.
11. Provide Longevity
Intermittent fasting is believed as the factor to give a boost in longevity of an individual. Intermittent fasting stretches the longevity as well as lower downs the risk of various life-threatening conditions, for example cancer.
As we studied intermittent fasting, you should perform this and enjoy its various health benefits. You should do it according to your body type, weight, age, lifestyle, and health condition. This will work as an effective preventable measure regarding various diseases.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan
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