No longer just a fad, intermittent fasting is a scientifically backed dietary method that helps people reduce weight, lose body fat, and improve heart health. In intermittent fasting, there are certain windows of fasting and eating. Instead of starving yourself, you control and cut down your caloric intake for brief periods. This helps your body get used to feeling ‘full’ with small portions of food and prevents you from eating high-calorie junk and unhealthy foods.
What are the Advantages of Intermittent Fasting?
Here are a few health benefits of intermittent Fasting:
- Weight loss
- Enhanced memory
- Improved Heart Health
- Increased muscle mass
- Improved Tissue health
What Can You Eat While on Intermittent Fasting?
Even in the fasting window, you can have water, tea, and coffee. You can eat everything during the eating window, but to enjoy the true benefits of this diet you have to make healthy food choices. If you replace the junk, fried, and other high-calorie foods with lean protein, whole grains, leafy greens, fiber, and healthy fats, your body will easily lose fat and you will be able to achieve your ideal weight with added health benefits.
How Safe is Intermittent Fasting?
The most sought-ought reason for adopting intermittent fasting is weight loss. Addressing chronic conditions is a close second. People suffering from high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome, and arthritis have found it beneficial in helping them manage the symptoms. Even though it is mostly safe, intermittent fasting is not a good practice for everyone.
Before starting a dietary method or adopting any change in your eating schedule, you should always consult a nutritionist or your primary care provider.
Is Intermittent Fasting Not Safe for Anyone?
The following people should not try intermittent fasting:
- Teenagers under the age of 18
- Pregnant women and lactating mothers
- Diabetic people
- People with blood sugar issues (Hypoglycemic)
- People with eating disorders
What are the Different Types of Intermittent Fasting Diets?
You can follow any of these five intermittent fasting diets based on your preference:
1. Time-Restricted Eating
This type of intermittent fasting has fixed fasting and eating windows.
In the 16/8 method, you fast for 16 hours and have an eating window of 8 hours. For example, you can set the time that you can only eat between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M.
In the 14/10 method, you fast for 14 hours and can eat for 10 hours. For example, you can set the eating window between 8 A.M. and 6 P.M.
You can choose to have this fast once or twice a week depending on your personal preference.
2. The 5:2 diet
In this method, you can choose two fasting days and are free to eat on the rest of the five days. In the fasting days, you’re supposed to cap your caloric intake at 500. In your open to eat days, it is essential to maintain a healthy diet to reap the full benefits of intermittent fasting.
Foods rich in fiber and protein should be your go-to to keep your caloric content to a minimum while eating a balanced diet. The fasting days can be selected as you require, you only have to have a non-fasting day between them.
The Eat-Stop-Eat method requires a fasting window of 24 hours. People practicing this type of intermittent fasting can have water, tea, and coffee while fasting. During the non-fasting days, people follow their regular eating routine. Following this practice controls the total calorie consumption but does not limit the food choices.
Fasting for 24 hours straight is challenging and can cause headaches, weakness, or general irritability. These effects lessen as the body gets used to following this eating regimen.
Before starting the 24-hour fast, people should start easy and begin with a 12-hour and then 16-hour fast.
4. Alternate-day fasting
This requires fasting on alternate days. This diet method has several variations. Some people completely avoid food on the fasting day, while others allow themselves up to 500 calories. On non-fasting days, people choose to eat whatever and as much as they feel.
According to a study, alternate-day fasting is an excellent way to lose weight and maintain a healthy heart. All 32 participants of that study managed to lose an average of 11 pounds during their 12-week dietary period.
Alternate-day fasting is difficult to practice for longer intervals and is not suitable for beginners and people suffering from certain medical conditions.
5. The Warrior Diet
The Warrior Diet involves filling yourself with small servings of fruits and vegetables during a 20-hour fasting time during the day and eating one hearty meal during a small 4-hours window at night. People following this diet should incorporate proteins, healthy fats, and some carbohydrates in their one meal.
The primary advantage of warrior-day fasting is that it’s nearly impossible to eat a day’s worth of calories in one meal.
The main disadvantage is that one meal is not enough to provide all essential nutrients to your body for optimal function. Also, it is very hard to stick to this method for long.
Another issue with this diet is that excessive caffeine (which people tend to take because of its zero calories) harms sleep routines.
All types of intermittent fasting diets have their own benefits. Different types work best for different people and researches support every type of intermittent fasting to have their health benefits. Choose the one that seems to work best for you.
Even though it is a scientifically backed method of losing weight and improving health, it can have an adverse reaction if you adopt a strict dietary regimen without easing yourself into it.
Consult your healthcare practitioner if you suddenly feel lightheaded, have nausea, anxiety, headache, elevated heartbeat, or other symptoms after practicing intermittent fasting.