What is intermittent fasting?
Many of us think intermittent fasting is synonymous to starvation. Let me stop you right there, it’s not!
Intermittent fasting is not a diet regimen but an eating pattern! What makes it different is that it focuses more on when to eat rather than what to eat. It cycles between short episodes of fasting, with either no food or significant calorie bargain, and periods of unrestricted eating.
There is a large part of science that believes in fasting because it has been practiced from the time of human evolution and even spiritually.
How does it work?
There are various methods of doing the intermittent fasting which involve only two periods- eating and fasting.
Alternate days: Eating on every alternate day and fasting on the other.
Leangains protocol: It is the 16/8 method where you eat from 1-9 pm (i.e. skipping breakfast) and fast for the other 16 hours.
5:2 diet: Eating 400-500 calories on 2 non-consecutive days and eating normally on the other five days.
Whole day fasting: Fasting for 24 hours for 1-2 days in a week and eating regularly on the other days.
Can help reduce fat percentage!
When you don't eat for a long time, the insulin levels drop, signalling the body to release stored energy. Blood glucose also falls and maintain that glucose needs to be exerted by burning stored fat for energy.
Intermittent Fasting and Brain health have a positive relation. It has shown to improve memory and learning in older adults has also shown to ease depression symptoms as it improves mood, mental alertness and a sense of peace is felt by individuals who are indulging in Intermittent Fasting. It has shown to protect neurons(brain cells) and also enhances the growth of new ones.
Reduction in weight and belly fat
Most of the people indulging in intermittent fasting are doing it to get this benefit. It's not the fewer calories that you are ingesting which is making you lose weight, the enhanced hormonal and metabolic functions are also aiding in the weight loss.
Lowers insulin resistance
People who are at risk of getting type 2 diabetes can go in for this type of eating pattern. Type 2 diabetes is based on high sugar levels because of insulin resistance. There have been numerous human studies that have shown to reduce insulin resistance.
When it comes to such extreme eating patterns or diets, the dropout rates tend to be high.
Focuses only on when to eat and not what to eat
When it comes to dieting, timings of your meal are important but we cannot completely ignore what and how much we are eating. The quality and quantity of foods are not specified which is a big con of this eating pattern.
The tongue tends to take over the brain after the body has reached the state of starvation. The temptation of overeating and indulging in refined or fried foods tends to increase. Also, people into this eating pattern are more likely to get into binge eating disorders.