Intermittent fasting may seem like just another food fad, but the concept of fasting has been around for centuries.
Its popularity has increased in recent years, thanks to the fitness and nutrition industry with claims that intermittent fasting can do everything from burning fat and building muscle to cleansing the body and enhancing longevity.
So does intermittent fasting fulfill any (or all) of these claims?
Read on for details on intermittent fasting and its benefits,
What is intermittent fasting?
“Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term for three different diets: alternate day fasting (ADF), 5: 2 diet, and time restricted eating (TRE)” Dr.. Christa A. Faraday, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago and co-author of “The Every Other Day Diet.”
Faraday has been researching alternate day fasting for 15 years and has authored 70 papers on the topic.
Many IF plans make you stop eating for a certain period of time, usually anywhere from 16 to 24 hours.
But other plans are ditching abstinence in favor of cutting calories too low.
This is the case with the ADF, which generally requires people to eat only 500 calories each day.
Types of intermittent fasting
As Faraday explains, there are multiple forms of intermittent fasting. The simplest of them is Time Restricted Eating (TRE).
If you follow this type of fasting, you limit the amount of time you eat in the day to a certain number of hours.
Most people start their fast after dinner, so that they only have two hours left to fast after they wake up.
Someone on the 8/16 fast, for example, can stop eating at 8 PM and start eating again at noon the next day. An alternate day fasting requires eating a reduced amount of calories every day. On alternate days, eat as you normally would.
The 5: 2 diet, sometimes referred to as the “fast diet,” is a form of alternate day fasting.
Following this IF model requires restricting calories to 500-600 two days a week. The other five days of the week are regular eating days.
The benefits of intermittent fasting
First things first: There are a lot of alleged health claims associated with intermittent fasting, but not all of them are rooted in science or have been verified at this point.
over there Be Benefits of this eating style are proven. “[Research shows that] If it can help reduce diabetes and Heart disease riskFaraday adds.
But you will have to give this new style of eating for longer than a month to see these results.
But Nutrition Director Krista Maguire, RD, CSSD and Beachbody stresses that “just because you reduced the number of hours that you actually eat, does not necessarily mean that you have caused a daily calorie deficit that is required to lose weight.”
So some calorie counting might still be needed if you are using some form of intermittent fasting as a weight-loss tool.
At the end of the day, the best weight loss plan for you is one that you can stick to consistently and for the long term.
How to start intermittent fasting
“First and foremost, I recommend checking with your healthcare provider to make sure that intermittent fasting is right for you,” Maguire advises.
Once you get the green light from a medical professional, she suggests you “start with a copy of IF that isn’t too strict.”
This could mean simply closing the kitchen after dinner and reopening for breakfast if you are in the habit of snacking at night, Maguire adds.
Faraday agrees, suggesting people start with 10 hours [feeding] During the first week, then moving to 8 hours in the second week. “
From there, you can shorten your feeding period by week if you are still feeling well.
Remember you can start this window whenever normal with hunger signals.
If you wake up hungry, don’t skip breakfast. You can eat in the morning and start your afternoon fast.
Hunger pains are normal in the first or second week of fasting; Coffee, tea, unsweetened drinks, or flavored water can help soothe these pains and have regular snacks.