Intermittent fasting is currently the most popular health and fitness method globally also known as IF. People are using this method to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyle. Most studies show that it can have powerful effects on various systems in the body and brain and allow the practice to last longer. Through the following guide, you will learn the most basic things and concepts about intermittent fasting.
What is intermittent fasting?
F or intermittent fasting is a fixed pattern of eating in the cycles between fasting and eating sessions. It doesn't specify which foods you should eat during the eating cycle. Instead, it tells you what time you should eat. As such, it is not a diet in the real sense, but more of an eating pattern. The most common intermittent fasting includes a 16-hour fast or a 24-hour fast twice a week.
Fasting has always been one of the common practices of human evolution. Ancient hunter-gatherers never had refrigerators, supermarkets, or foodstuffs available to them throughout the year. And many times they could not find anything to eat. And as a result, man evolved to live his life without any food for a long time. Periodic fasting is a natural way to eat more than 3 to 4 meals in a day. Fasting is also practiced in most religious practices including religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism.
What are some intermittent fasting methods?
There are many different ways to practice intermittent fasting, most of which involve breaking it into periods of fasting and eating over days or weeks. During a fasting session, you may eat little or not eat at all. The most popular methods of intermittent fasting are as follows:
The 16/8 Method: Also called the Lean Gain Protocol, which involves skipping breakfast and limiting daily eating patterns to only 8 hours, like 1 to 9 p.m. Then you ought to fast for 16 hours during the session.
Eat Stop Eat: this is often the method of fasting for twenty-four hours one occasion or twice every week, i.e. from one dinner to the next. And the rest of the week you spend is as normal as your daily life.
5:2 Diet: This method involves consuming only 500 to 600 calories on days that are not consecutive for a week. You eat for the rest of the 5 days.
All these methods should lead to weight loss by reducing total caloric intake, as long as you are not compensating by eating too much during the eating session. Many people also find that the 16/8 method is the easiest to follow. It is also the most durable and easy to maintain. Hence it's the foremost popular method of intermittent fasting.
How does intermittent fasting affect our cells and hormones?
When you are fasting, many things happen in the body at the molecular and cellular levels. For example, the body begins to regulate hormone levels to form stored fat more accessible. Your cells also start important repair processes and alter gene expression. Some of the changes that occur in the body are as follows:
Human Growth Hormone (HGH): Human growth increases manifold in intermittent fasting. It has many benefits which include rapid fat loss and not to mention a few muscle gains.
Insulin: Insulin sensitivity becomes much better, and insulin levels rise in intermittent fasting. Lower levels of insulin make stored fat in the body more accessible.
Cellular Repair: When you fast for some time, your cells start the process of cellular repair. It also involves autophagy where these cells digest and begin to manufacture older proteins.
Gene expression: There are many changes in the functioning of genes associated with protection against disease and longevity.