There’s no doubt that intermittent fasting is causing a stir in the world of dietary regimens. It’s among the most talked about diets on most weight loss platforms. And it’s not just ordinary folks who are into it. Celebrities, including Beyonce and Terry Crews, have revealed that they have either tried or are following this dietary approach.
If you are straddling the fence wondering whether intermittent fasting is for you, this post is yours. Let’s delve into what intermittent fasting is, how it works, what you are allowed to eat, and its good and bad sides.
How Intermittent Fasting Works
Intermittent fasting is a type of diet that divides your days into eating and fasting windows. You eat normally during your eating windows and consume zero or reduced calories when fasting.
Fans of intermittent fasting swear by its weight loss abilities. Intermittent fasting has a threefold approach to helping you achieve your weight loss goals.
First, intermittent fasting works against American eating habits, which involve consuming too many calories, trans fats, saturated fats, and added sugars. Intermittent fasting shortens your eating window, making it somewhat difficult (not impossible) to consume excess calories. An intermittent fasting schedule like 16:8 and OMAD creates a calorie deficit, where you are burning more calories than you are consuming. When your body is in a calorie deficit state, it burns stored fat for energy, and this may lead to weight loss.
Second, intermittent fasting prolongs the period between meals forcing the body to tap into its fat stores after depleting the calories from the previous meal.
There is evidence that intermittent fasting boosts metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Both of these have been found to help bring down the number on the scale.
Why Intermittent Fasting is Popular
Intermittent fasting is not the only route to a slimmer body. A healthy, low-carb diet may be an effective alternative, especially if you prefer not to skip meals. But intermittent fasting’s greatest appeal is in its non-restrictive approach.
Because its focus is on when you eat, intermittent fasting does not restrict you from consuming any food groups. In other words, intermittent fasting is a sort of eat-what-you-want diet. While you can eat anything when intermittent fasting, don’t be prompted to binge on unhealthy ultra-processed food, especially if you are doing IF to lose weight. Doing this negates the weight loss benefits of intermittent fasting.
Another reason most people choose IF is that it’s more affordable than restrictive diets and sustainable. Intermittent fasting is also one of the best diets for losing weight fast. Most people lose about two kilograms of body weight doing OMAD for one week. But it’s possible to lose more than this if you combine it with regular physical activities.
Top 5 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Aids in Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting the right way may help you lose weight fast. And there are lots of studies to support this. A review of 41 articles on the impact of intermittent fasting in overweight and obese Canadians found a decrease in body weight by up to 13% in 2-26 weeks. While the studies were short-term, the results are promising if you want to lose weight quickly.
Lowers the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
The major cause of type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when the cells in your muscles and liver ignore signals from the hormone insulin to take glucose from the blood and use it for energy. This results in high blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia. Preliminary findings suggest that intermittent fasting and Alternate-Day Fasting may help slow the progression of prediabetes to diabetes 2.
Improved Brain Health
Who knew that abstaining from food for prolonged periods could improve brain function? Intermittent fasting benefits our brain by enhancing the release of the Human Growth Hormone (HGH). HGH stimulates fat burning and spares proteins, which can be used for cell repair and improved brain cell functioning. Intermittent fasting also reduces inflammation, leading to better brain function.
May Help Reduce the Risk of Cancer
There’s still a lot to learn on the subject of intermittent fasting and cancer prevention and treatment. However, preliminary studies have shown that intermittent fasting may act as a cancer growth blocker in the following ways;
A Longer Lifespan
Intermittent fasting has the potential to promote longevity by enabling the body to maintain a healthy weight. Intermittent fasting stops round-the-clock grazing, which has been linked to excessive weight gain. The benefits of intermittent fasting in managing weight may also increase life expectancy among overweight and obese individuals. Other ways intermittent fasting might help you live a longer, healthier life include;
10 Potential Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has many benefits. But it’s tough and requires strong willpower to push through until you achieve your weight loss goals. Intermittent fasting side effects vary, depending on your experience level in fasting and the IF method.
Here are the most common intermittent fasting side effects people experience:
Who Should Not Do Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a safe way of losing weight and achieving the health benefits mentioned above. But not everybody should consider it. It’s always advisable to engage your doctor before intermittent fasting. But people in the following groups should steer clear of intermittent fasting: