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Fasting has been observed by the greater masses as a deliberate self-denial of food and drink for a period of time as a religious or ethical practice, today it is equally associated with promoting good health. whether it be factual or by placebo, it works.
Now, this is where intermittent fasting comes in, a practice observed by many to see rapid weight loss, it doesn’t change what you eat just when you eat. On IF, You’ll get to stay hungry for at least 14-20 hours and then eat two meals or less, just enough to get as much calories to repeat the cycle but not enough to get to satisfaction. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that structures around when one eats without being strict on what they eat and can be tailor made for each individual.
The most basic form of Intermittent fasting gives allowance for water, juice and some kind of laxative concotion. Some allow some few solid foods but are still called fast as they provide so few calories.
Is Intermittent Fasting Dangerous?
Fasting for weight loss
To understand how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss we first need to comprehend the difference between the fed state and the fasted state.
One of the main reasons why people take on the exercise of intermittent fasting is to lose overall body fat, you may wonder how exactly that happens. From the moment you eat food, the body starts to digest and absorb it for up to about 5 hours. This period is called fed state or Absorptive state, during which the body converts digested food into glucose or sugar.
A hormone called Insulin aids the entrance of glucose into cells where it is converted to useful body energy. At this point, the body finds it hard to consume fat because its insulin levels are still high so excess glucose and sugars are stored by the liver in form of more body fat or glycogen attached to the skeletal muscles.
Then there comes a fasted state or post-Absorptive state, a period lasting for between 8 to 12 hours where the body is not absorbing any food and the digested tract may be empty so no food is processed. The fasted state makes the body’s ability to burn fat very easy because during this time insulin levels are quite low.
Fasting puts the body in a fat burning state that is rare during the usual eating routine. The benefits of intermittent fasting include increased muscle mass over time, decreased body fat and potentially increased energy levels even while eating less food than usual. With intermittent fasting, the good news is that you do not have to spend too much time exercising, so the body needs less time for training considering that less food is consumed and more energy is being reserved. People who practice intermittent fasting become stronger, leaner without losing muscle tone, and they are more energized and productive despite reduced gym time and more restricted eating.
For unanticipated weight lost due to a fast, It is often advised to maintain a light diet when off the fast because your body adjust to slow metabolism so any extra food than it currently needs will be converted immediately to fats and you’re basically back on the band wagon where you left off.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Repair of damaged body stem cells
A study in the June 5 issue of the Cell Stem Cell shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage — a major side effect of chemotherapy — but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.
when you do not eat for a while the body reduces production of white blood cells and switches into a regenerative state which starts to repair stem cells, immune system, and changes hormonal levels.
The body is forced to access stored fat, glucose and ketones in breaking down white blood cells which are usually old and damaged. It does this by reducing the enzyme PKA – which is the key ingredient in cells that prolong cell life and extend it’s longetivity. This effect causes the cells to enter a regenerative mode to create new cells and protect the body immune system.
Kill Food/ sugar cravings
Thanks to a chemical compound called Ghrelin, a hunger hormone which is responsible for our appetite; once on a fast, ghrelin levels are at their lowest giving you less appetite for food or sugary items.
Intermittent Fasting increases your metabolism
when on intermittent fasting, your body will produce HGH – Human Growth Hormone which rapidly burn fat stored in the skeletal muscle and in-between muscles. Human growth hormone is natural testosterone and plays a vital role in cell regeneration, growth and maintaining healthy human tissue, including that of the brain and various vital organs.
Intermittent Fasting prolongs life
Your body is like a machine. The more active work it entails, the faster it depreciates. We all need a little maintenance period once in a while to reduce wear and tear. Our bodies have the magical ability to restore most of it’s organs back to healthy working state and the fastest way to get this re-generative process going is through fasting.
However, no one wants to starve for the sake of living longer. Isn’t it!
Here is one study which revealed that the Intermittent fasting has led to longer lifespans.
Intermittent Fasting improves Insulin levels
Insulin levels drop during a fast which causes fat to burn while the human growth hormones may increase up to 5 times more facilitating fat burning and muscle growth. Cells get repaired and in this process the waste within them is removed, and several genes which relate to longevity and safety from sickness are altered to their benefit. Additionally intermittent fasting helps shrink belly fat, a problem area so many weight watchers complain about as the fast generally makes you eat less and less eating equals lesser calories consumed. In addition to lesser calories consumed, more are burned, so there is a double benefit to this boosting the ability to lose a huge amount of weight from intermittent fasting, including around the waist area where destructive belly fat is found.
If you just can’t let go of your wine, chocolate and cookies and want to be able to lose weight while being able to order a pizza at the weekend, perhaps intermittent fasting is for you. With varied plans such as eating only 500 calories once or twice weekly or fasting for 12 to 18 hours a day, you have the liberty to pick or design a plan most suitable for you. You may like to use the Leangains approach which uses a 16 hour thereafter having an 8 hour earing period. This method was made famous by Martin Bekhan. It is also up to you what time you start your 8 hours of eating, whether from 7am to 3pm or from 9am to 5pm.
Who should avoid Intermittent Fasting
- If you are on any kind of medication particularly Insulin supplements, please consult a doctor for the kind of fasting you can practice.
- Growing children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women should not do longer fasting periods, as they have bigger need of nutrients
Types of Intermittent fasting
Daily Intermittent Fasting:
Weekly Intermittent fasting
Alternative Day Intermittent fasting
Intermittent Fasting and Muscle Loss (Myth or fact?)
Once you start a fast, initial weight lost is primarily fluid or “water weight”, not fat. After 24+ hours, your body begins to use up stored fats and ketones converting them to glycogen for energy. Prolonged fast or a dehydrated body can cause the body to fall back on converting muscles for energy. This is usually not advisable as when you get off your fast, it is quite unlikely you will gain back lost muscle without revisiting the gym.
FAQs about Intermittent Fasting
- What can i drink during the fasting period?
- Can I do any workouts during Intermittent fasting?
- Aren’t we supposed to eat many small meals throughtout the day?