Intermittent Fasting Explained
Whether you’re a wellness enthusiast or not, you’re bound to have come across the term intermittent fasting and know people who follow it. Among the most popular health and fitness trends right now, it refers to a consumption pattern rather than a diet – as the name suggests, intermittent fasting simply describes periods of eating and not, with no guidelines on what to eat apart from encouraging a nutritious, balanced diet.
So why do people follow intermittent fasting? Get the details below and decide if it’s right for you.
Improve several aspects of health
Some people claim that the potential benefits of intermittent fasting on the body are not exaggerated. It’s claimed that fasting kickstarts hormonal and cellular repair, consequently encouraging positive change in many bodily functions and organs. The thinking is that this advances overall health, and can give those who fast better protection against inflammation, diseases and ageing as well as improved opportunities for staying fit.
A powerful choice for weight watchers
There’s a reason why the fitness-focused crowd can’t get enough of intermittent fasting – they love it for its acclaimed weight loss and muscle gain. Essentially the daily caloric intake of those who fast tends to be lower, as they eat fewer meals (given they don’t go overboard with the eating part, of course). Also, fasting is said to lower insulin, which in turn increases the metabolic rate, thereby facilitating weight loss. In short, intermittent fasters believe they have a double advantage when it comes to shedding pounds and building muscle.
Fasting has been practised for centuries by different communities around the world and is embraced for its physical as well as spiritual merits. It adds simplicity to life; there’s less of a hassle with buying and preparing food and cleaning up after, giving those who follow it more time to focus on priorities and a better resolve, as they learn to control consumption habits.
Choose your fasting style
There are many ways to follow intermittent fasting, for example:
- The 16:8 method:
- The most well-followed is a per-day fasting cycle in which you eat during an eight-hours window and fast for the remaining 16 hours. Usually the 16 hours covers sleep time, so adherents tend to start meals with a late breakfast or lunch and eat until early dinner. For example, people will eat from 10am to 6pm, 12pm to 8pm and so forth, depending on what best suits them.
- The 5:2 diet:
- Using this weekly format, fasters eat normally for five days and fast for two non-consecutive days. On fast days, they chose to eat 500 to 600 calories in total, usually covered in two small meals.
A few words of caution
While intermittent fasting is generally considered safe, there are precautions to keep in mind. It could increase hormonal complications in some women if practised intensely and isn’t ideal for soon-to-be or new mums. Anyone with medical conditions, further questions or concerns – particularly those on medication – should consult their doctor before considering any form of fasting.
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