Nowadays, a number of people are turning to intermittent fasting in order to slim down. Intermittent fasting emphasizes the importance of “when.” How often and when you eat is just as important as what you consume to lose gain, regardless of whether you’re following the 5:2 or 16:8 eating pattern.
According to a survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation, intermittent fasting was the most popular dietary trend in 2016. There are several ways to practice intermittent fasting, but they all require going without meals for extended periods of time at set intervals.
- The 16:8 eating plan consists of a daily 16-hour fast followed by an 8-hour eating window. In most cases, the recipient has to fast from lunchtime until dinnertime.
- The 5:2 eating plan entails consuming only 25% of a typical daily calorie intake for two days of the week. These days are not supposed to be consecutive.
- Fasting for 24 hours entails forgoing all food and drink for an entire day.
Calorie restriction is a proven method for losing weight. According to a 2017 review of studies on the topic published in the Annual Review of Nutrition, many people have experienced success with intermittent fasting for weight loss.
When compared to other diets, intermittent fasting places more emphasis on when you eat. During periods of intermittent fasting, you don’t consume any food except at predetermined times. Weight loss can be aided by this fasting mode, in which you skip meals or consume only one every few days.
Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins, has spent 25 years researching the effects of fasting cycles. He claims that the human body has adapted to survive for lengthy periods of time without eating. Before the domestication of the land, humans lived as hunter-gatherers, mastering the ability to go without food for extended periods of time. They were compelled to hunt wildlife. Moreover, they also gathered nuts and berries; however, it was a labor-intensive endeavor.
Explaining the Mechanism of Intermittent Fasting
While there are many variations of intermittent fasting, they all revolve around setting specific eating and fasting windows. Intermittent fasting can be done in different ways. For instance, you could try fasting for 16 hours daily and eating only for the first 8 hours. Alternately, you might skip two meals on two days of the week.
When the body is kept away from food for several hours, it starts converting fat for energy. This phenomenon is referred to as metabolic switching.
Most Americans eat continuously throughout their waking hours. Therefore, the practice of intermittent fasting contrasts with their regular eating pattern. If you eat three square meals and a couple of snacks every day but don’t get any exercise, you’re just running on those calories and not burning your fat stores.
Intermittent fasting is effective because it increases the time between meals, allowing the body to burn more fat after the last meal has been digested.
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Image text: Consuming food once a day
Alt-text: The popularity of intermittent fasting
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Foods to Eat and How to Eat Them
The 16:8 intermittent fasting plan doesn’t dictate a specific diet, although it’s best to prioritize healthy meals and restrict or eliminate bad food. Poor dietary habits can lead to extra pounds and even sickness. Fruits and vegetables, whether they be fresh, frozen, or canned (in water), are a staple of a healthy diet. You can also consume whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats, and barley for results.
Moreover, foods high in protein yet low in fat, such as lean meats, lentils, seafood, beans, tofu, seeds, almonds, low-fat cottage cheese, and eggs, are also effective in losing weight. Oils extracted from healthy sources such as coconuts, avocados, olives, almonds, and seeds are also recommended.
It is helpful to consume foods high in fiber to maintain a sensation of fullness and satisfaction. Healthy fats, carbohydrates, and proteins can help you feel full.
People on the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet consume certain beverages that help them feel full. Since thirst is sometimes misunderstood as hunger, drinking water regularly throughout the day might aid in calorie restriction.
Calorie-free beverages, including water, unsweetened tea, and coffee, can be consumed throughout the 16-hour fasting window on the 16:8 eating plan. Avoiding dehydration requires a consistent effort to take in fluids.
Those who opt for intermittent fasting should follow a certain set of guidelines. They are as follows:
- Cinnamon herbal tea is a good choice to consume before bed or during fasting.
- Drinking water consistently throughout the day, cutting back on television to decrease exposure to images of food (which may cause a feeling of hunger), and exercising just before or during the eating window can help continue your fast.
- Eat with awareness and gratitude.
- You can try meditating when you’re hungry during your fast to let go of the feeling.
What Makes Intermittent Fasting So Popular?
People seem to enjoy Intermittent fasting because it seems simple and puts them in charge of their eating habits, rather than the other way around. It does not include calorie counting or food restriction. The only thing you need to control is the time you’re consuming your food.
In most cases, people are busy and do not have the time to approach a dietitian or spend hours losing weight. Intermittent fasting lets you accommodate your busy schedule or lifestyle by allowing you to determine your meal window and make your food selections within that window.
Moreover, Intermittent Fasting can help people lose weight, boost their metabolism, and reduce their risk of developing various diseases and malignancies. It can be beneficial to human health. Time-restricted fasting, such as the 16:8 or 14:10 schedule, is one way people can set limits on their eating habits. It can significantly impact those who have trouble regulating their eating habits or need assistance recalibrating their hunger cues.
Intermittent fasting can help people become more conscious of what they consume. If you start paying close attention to when you eat, you can notice where you’re either falling short or overeating. This can shed light on a common source of excess for many adults: the late-night snacking resulting from not eating enough during the day.
Fasting is enticing because it provides a quick and simple option for people to take charge of their dietary intake; however, it is not a solution to long-term health, illness treatment, or weight loss or management.