You have probably heard of a new diet technique called Intermittent Fasting or 'IF' for short. In this article we will go into detail the various benefits and types of intermittent fasting that is available.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
In short, IF is setting a period of time during a day that you do not eat or 'fast' and a period in which you eat. There are several different eating patterns that we will detail a bit later. It doesn't set what you should eat or not just when you should eat or not eat.
Sample intermittent fasting patterns
- 16/8 - 16hr fast /8hr feeding window. This is also called the Leangains protocol. This is the most common and simplest form of IF. A sample pattern would be to stop eating at 8pm and not eat again until 12pm the next day. You would just skip 1 meal(breakfast). Most of the fasting window is during you normal sleep hrs.
- You can also do more variations of the 16/8. For example 18/6, 20/4 etc. Most people start with 16/8 and work their way up to the longer fasts. You can also experiment with varying lengths from time to time. It is recommended to not vary them too much if you want to stay on a more normal schedule as you will then be starting and ending fasts at different times of the day. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 3 hrs fasting before bedtime.
- Eat-Stop-Eat - This is a 24 hr fast 1 or 2 days a week, it isn't recommended any more days that that. With this method you fast from one meal to the same meal the next day. Lunch to lunch for example.
- 5:2 Method - This method involves fasting for 2 non consecutive days a week and eating the other 5 days. You consume ~500 calories on the the fasting days and eat normally the other 5 days.
What happens during intermittent fasting?
A few of the benefits that can be obtained when intermittent fasting are listed below.
Improved Insulin Sensitivity- this helps your body better utilize stored fat
- Cell Repair - The longer you fast the more your body repairs its cells and removes waste. This process is called autophagy.
- HGH (human growth hormone) Increase- Studies show that fasting can increase HGH release by as much as 5 fold. HGH is vital for building lean muscle mass among other health benefits.
- Weight Loss - Of course this is one of the biggest reasons people try IF. With the reprogramming of the body and the extended fast periods, your body starts to utilize store fat and burn it. In addition the shorter eating windows helps lower overall calorie intake as well.
- Inflammation - Studies also show lower inflammation when intermittent fasting
- Anti-aging - Studies on rats suggest IF can slow the aging process
- More benefits are being discovered all the time.
Can I lose weight?
You sure can! Along with the reasons stated above, varying and experimenting with the fasting periods can provide better results.
Conclusion: As you can see intermittent fasting can have many benefits and could be a good fit for most anyone. If starting out it is suggested to start with the 16/8 method and monitor results and adjust as needed.
Always consult a doctor before starting any new diet as intermittent fasting is not for everyone.