Should You Try Intermittent Fasting in 2020?

Intermittent fasting is at an all-time high these days. If you are wondering how you can reap the benefits of this diet plan, then stay with us.


Before we can dive into the many advantages, let us discuss what this type of fasting really is. As the name suggests, intermittent fasting involves fasting for long intervals with eating for just a few over the span of one day, two days, or even weeks.


Which Intermittent Fasting Is Best for Weight Loss?

There are different types of intermittent fasting plans, which can all help with weight loss. The primary purpose of these fasts is to drink healthier fluids for easy digestion during the fasting window and avoid edible foods until the eating window. This allows individuals to squeeze in all their favourite healthy meals during the time they can eat and helps them practice self-discipline, so even while they are fasting, they can control their hunger pangs.


How long you prefer to fast be entirely your own decision, in the essence of which makes intermittent fasting schedules tailor-made. There are a total of six most popular intermittent fasting plans these include the following:


  • The 5:2 Fast Diet plan allows individuals to restrict their calorie intake between 500 to 600 for only two days a week. For the remainder of the week, you can eat as usual.
  • 16/8 Diet schedule enables the individual to fast between 14 to 16 hours throughout the week while giving an eating window of 8 to 10 hours.
  • Alternate-day fasting involves fasting full day, every other day.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat is a 24 hour fast done at least once or twice a week.
  • Mini-Fasting allows the individual to fast according to their will, spontaneously. This allows people to skip every other meal as per their choice.
  • Warrior Diet involves eating only small amounts of raw veggies and fruits throughout the day, while in the evening, you get to feast within a 4-hour eating window.


How Intermittent Fasting Works?

The science behind intermittent fasting is not at all complicated. Foods we consume break down into molecules that end up in our blood, which are fed to the cells present in the body. A portion of these molecules comprise of net carbohydrates, which are all carbs within the meal, excluding the fibre content. To use our cells as energy, the body turns these net carbohydrates into sugar. It is this sugar that is used for energy, but to be able to do so, we need the presence of insulin.


Insulin is produced within the pancreas every time you eat edibles rich in carbohydrates. Excess sugar not used is stored within the body in the form of fat. In the absence of sugar, it is this fat that is utilized by the body for energy.


Since intermittent fasting helps keep the body in a state of low insulin levels, it enables individuals to enter ketosis. The state of ketosis is when the body burns fat to generate energy rather than sugar, which leads to weight loss.


In order to avoid getting overweight and having an abundance of fat reserves, it is best to utilize the same amount of energy derived from food.


You can attain this in two ways, the first is by indulging in a lot of fat burning physical activities, for instance exercising, swimming, dancing and even playing sports. The second is by eating less food. The less you eat, the less you will need to burn off and this is why intermittent fasting benefits people to shed off unwanted pounds.


Why Intermittent Fasting Is Good for Your Health?

Below are some intermittent fasting health benefits:


Will Intermittent Fasting Burn Belly Fat?

Since most people get on board with intermittent fasting for fat loss, therefore, it is only fair to wonder if it really works. This fasting requires a limitation of meals consumed, which typically means less weight gain unless you binge during the eating window or gobble down unhealthy foods that would defy the whole purpose in the first place.


Intermittent fasting plans help break down body fat and bolster metabolic rate by reducing insulin levels, this improves norepinephrine and higher growth hormone levels. Therefore, intermittent fasting is not only good for losing belly fat but is also great for maintaining overall weight.


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Can Intermittent Fasting Help Diabetes?

Intermittent fasting for diabetes is an excellent choice! This technique not only helps lower insulin resistance but also reduces blood sugar levels. In a 2018 study, published in the journal BMJ Case Reports,  the authors randomly took three male participants ranging from ages 40 to 67. All men were diagnosed with insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes and were also suffering from high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol. These men were referred to the Intensive Dietary Management Clinic in Toronto, Canada.


For the experiment, all three men took an in-depth educational course on diabetes and intermittent fasting. One participant fasted for a full day thrice weekly, while the other two participants tried alternate-day fasting weekly. While fasting, all three men drank low-calorie beverages, for instance, broth, coffee, tea and water. During eating windows, they ate one low-calorie meal in the evening only. However, on days when participants were not fasting, they indulged in a low-carb diet.


Participants were observed twice a month by researchers, while their medication and insulin levels were adjusted accordingly. After just eighteen days, the three men reported to have lost 10 to 18 percent of their weight. Their waist also reduced and they no longer needed to take insulin. Two men went off medication completely, while the third participant reduced the intake of oral medication. Overall, for all three participants, blood sugar improved massively towards the end of the study, which aided the improvement of diabetes.


Though this experiment with Jason Fung and his colleagues was successful, more studies are needed for intermittent fasting to be recommended for diabetic patients.


What Intermittent Fasting Does to the Body and Brain?

Intermittent fasting is ideal for improving mental and physical health, which is probably the reason why it is widely popular among people of all age groups.


Does Intermittent Fasting Reduce Inflammation?

Most people are in the habit of gobbling down more food than is needed, which leads to inflammatory pathways. Therefore, with the presence of time-restrictions on intermittent fasting, it gives very little window for individuals to go overboard. This diet helps strike a balance and inculcates the habit of eating in moderation, which reduces inflammation.


Does Intermittent Fasting Reduce Oxidative Stress?

Fasting for oxidative stress reduction is one of the many reasons individuals stick to this diet. Intermittent fasting accelerates brain hormones called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The absence of this hormone is linked to the onset of brain problems such as depression. Intermittent fasting also protects the brain from damage and stimulates the growth of new neurons.


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