The general idea behind weight management is to keep active and be mindful of what you eat. However, people are slowly starting to realise that when you eat may be just as significant as what you eat.
Fasting or restricting your daily eating time can be more beneficial to your weight loss goal and your overall health. This method is known as intermittent fasting and there are many studies to back this, proving that intermittent fasting is effective in addressing obesity and other diseases while also benefitting your well-being.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not just a diet trend – it is a time-restricted eating plan that alternates between fasting and eating on a regular schedule. The highlight of this type of diet is that the duration of each intermittent fast can differ and be tailored to suit your needs and health goals, especially when it is part of reversing type 2 diabetes without medication.
The most popular schedules include:
- The 16/8 fast where you have a window of eight hours to eat and then fast for the other 16 hours.
- The Eat-Stop-Eat diet in which you fast for 24-hours once or twice a week.
- The 5/2 approach, which is similar to the 16/8 fast, whereby you are allowed to eat as usual for five days a week but limit yourself to lower carb foods for two non-consecutive days.
As mentioned, there are no hard and fast rules to intermittent fasting, you can consume whatever you want during your unrestricted eating period. filmefy However, it is best to maintain a healthy and well-rounded diet for optimum results.
How does intermittent fasting work?
When you eat regularly, your body will constantly produce insulin – a hormone that facilitates glucose’s entry into your cells, converting that to energy. Because of the steady flux of glucose coming in, the high insulin levels will prevent you from using up your stored energy. Instead, the insulin will use up the incoming energy and not burn any calories.
By contrast, intermittent fasting works by using up the insulin in your body, allowing your body to access the energy stored in your fat tissues. Your body immediately taps into that reserve when it realises that less glucose is coming in, converting the fuel source to ketones.
Your body works this way due to the lifestyle of your ancient forefathers, who were mostly hunter-gatherers that frequently went for days without food thedocweb. They ate intermittently, depending on what was available. It is also a way to ensure their bodies would have sufficient energy stockpiles when there is little food or during a famine.
Although many of us no longer face famine or food shortages as food is readily and easily available in most developed countries – it is still essential to follow this pattern of dieting if you are looking to lose weight or be healthy. Eating small regular meals every day and reducing overall calorie intake may not yield the results you want because of how your body responds to insulin levels.
Benefits beyond weight loss
Intermittent fasting is known to improve your metabolism and lower your blood sugar, remedying a wide range of health problems. Researchers have also found that intermittent fasting preserves lean muscle proving that the resulting weight loss is more likely to be from fat than muscle. More recently, a 2021 study found that this fasting approach can be used effectively in the treatment for type 2 diabetes in Australia to reverse the disease without medication.
Due to the decades worth of research highlighting intermittent fasting’s positive effects on people’s bodies and overall wellbeing, it is currently being studied as a potential treatment for many diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and even certain cancers.
Tips to fast better
While it may be easier to restrict your eating time than count calories, intermittent fasting can still sound daunting to some, as it requires a significant adjustment. Your body can take two to four weeks to become accustomed to your new eating habit. In that time, it is normal to feel hungry or moody. Here is how you can ease your way into intermittent fasting:
- Check with your doctor before starting this journey to find out how intermittent fasting can be tailored to your needs and health history.
- Make sure to be active throughout the day to ensure your fat is burned. Even walking in your house doing daily chores will help.
- Do not fast too long or deprive yourself of water and other zero-calorie drinks such as tea and black coffee, during fasting. Your body may think it is in starvation mode and start storing fat instead of burning it.
- Attempt to fix your eating window earlier in the day and not in the evening before bed so that your food has time to digest and your body burns those calories.
Listen to your body
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people and you should consult your doctor or nutrition expert beforehand or immediately if you start experiencing unusual symptoms after fasting. The bottom line is no matter what your reason is for wanting to intermittent fast, whether it is for weight loss or because you are looking to remedy a health problem, it is important to eat healthily and maintain a balanced diet to set yourself up for success.