Intermittent Fasting. What is it? And How healthy is it?


Cook, Motivationist and Nutritionist.
intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is a dietary regimen that alternates between periods of fasting and meals on a consistent basis. Research indicates that intermittent fasting is a viable approach to weight management and the prevention or reversal of certain types of disease. However, how do you accomplish this? And is it secure?

What exactly is intermittent fasting?

While numerous regimens emphasize the consumption of specific foods, intermittent fasting is entirely concerned with the timing of meals.
Intermittent fasting involves consuming food exclusively at a designated time. Research indicates that there may be health advantages to abstaining for a specific number of hours each day or consuming only one meal a few days each week.

Intermittent fasting has been the subject of research by neuroscientist Mark Mattson at Johns Hopkins for the past 25 years. He claims that our bodies have developed the ability to survive for extended periods of time, either for hours or for several days. In prehistoric times, prior to the development of agriculture, humans were hunters and gatherers who developed the ability to endure and prosper for extended periods without food. The process of hunting game and gathering nuts and fruit required a significant amount of time and energy, which compelled them to do so.

It was simpler to maintain a healthy weight in the United States even 50 years ago, according to experts. The absence of computers and the turnoff of television programs at 11 p.m. resulted in a cessation of food consumption as individuals retired for the night. The portions were significantly smaller. A larger number of people participated in outdoor activities and, in general, received more physical activity.

Many adults and children remain conscious for extended periods of time to watch television, browse social media, play games, and engage in online conversations, as they have access to the internet, television, and other forms of entertainment that are available around the clock. That may entail remaining seated and indulging in snacks throughout the day and most of the evening.

A higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other ailments can result from consuming additional calories and engaging in less physical activity. Recent scientific research indicates that intermittent fasting may be able to reverse these tendencies.

What is the mechanism of intermittent fasting?

Although there are numerous methods of intermittent fasting, they all involve the selection of consistent eating and fasting times. For example, you could attempt to restrict your food intake to an eight-hour window each day and observe a fast for the remaining hours. Alternatively, you may opt to consume only one meal per day on two consecutive days. Numerous intermittent fasting regimens exist.

After hours of fasting, the body depletes its sugar reserves and starts burning fat, according to Mattson. He refers to this as metabolic switching.
Mattson asserts that intermittent fasting is in stark contrast to the typical eating pattern of the majority of Americans, who consume food at all hours of the day. “If an individual eats three meals and snacks daily without engaging in physical activity, they are consuming calories and not burning their fat stores with each meal.”

Intermittent fasting works by extending the duration of time during which your body expends the calories consumed during your most recent meal and begins the fat-burning process.

Plans for Intermittent Fasting

Before commencing intermittent fasting, it is crucial to consult with your physician. After obtaining his or her approval, the actual practice is straightforward once you have obtained his or her approval. You have the option of selecting a daily approach that limits your daily food intake to a single six- to eight-hour period. For example, you may opt to experiment with 16/8 fasting, which involves fasting for 16 hours and consuming for eight.

Intermittent Fasting Pattern & Weight gain

However, a research study that was not specifically designed to examine an intermittent fasting pattern found that restricting the time window for eating each day does not prevent weight gain over time or produce significant weight loss results, despite the fact that some individuals find it easy to adhere to this pattern over the long term. The investigation’s findings suggest that consuming fewer substantial meals or a greater number of smaller ones could potentially prevent weight gain or even lead to weight loss over time.

The 5:2 approach, an additional intermittent fasting plan, entails consuming food on a consistent basis on five days of the week. For the remaining two days, you restrict yourself to a single meal that contains 500–600 calories. For example, you could follow your usual routine on all days of the week, except for Mondays and Thursdays, which we would designate as “one-meal days.”

Fasting for longer periods of time, such as 24, 36, 48, and 72 hours, may not necessarily be beneficial for one’s health and may even be hazardous. If you go for an extended period without eating, your body may begin to accumulate additional fat in response to deprivation.

The Body requires two weeks to cope with the new fasting experience

According to Mattson’s research, the body may require two to four weeks to adjust to intermittent fasting. While adapting to the new routine, you may experience feelings of hunger or irritability. However, he notes that research subjects who successfully navigate the adjustment period are more likely to adhere to the plan because they perceive that they are experiencing an improvement in their well-being.

What foods are permissible during intermittent fasting?

Water and zero-calorie beverages, such as black coffee and tea, are acceptable when one is not eating.
“Eating normally” does not entail excessive behavior during your mealtimes. Research indicates that consuming high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried items, and indulgences during feeding times is unlikely to lead to weight loss or improved health.

However, certain experts favor intermittent fasting due to its capacity to consume a diverse array of foods and derive pleasure from them. The act of sharing nutritious, high-quality food with others and enjoying the mealtime experience contributes to overall well-being and satisfaction.

Regardless of whether one is practicing intermittent fasting or not, the Mediterranean diet is considered a reliable guide to dietary choices by the majority of nutrition experts. When selecting leafy greens, complex, unrefined carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy lipids, it is difficult to make a mistake.

Advantages of Intermittent Fasting

Research indicates that intermittent fasting periods accomplish more than simply burning fat. Mattson clarifies, “Changes with this metabolic switch impact the body and brain.”

The New England Journal of Medicine published one of Mattson’s investigations, which disclosed information about a variety of health benefits associated with the practice. These consist of a longer lifespan, a more slender body, and a more acute intellect.

“Intermittent fasting induces numerous physiological responses that can safeguard organs from chronic illnesses, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, age-related neurodegenerative disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, and numerous cancers,” he asserts.

Researchers have discovered the following benefits of intermittent fasting:

1: Memory and cognition.

Research has shown that intermittent fasting enhances verbal memory in adult humans and working memory in animals.Heart wellness. Intermittent fasting enhances blood pressure, resting pulse rates, and other heart-related metrics.

2: Athleticism.

Young men who fasted for 16 hours showed fat loss, but their muscle mass remained intact. During physical activity, mice fed on alternate days demonstrated superior endurance.

3: Obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Intermittent fasting prevented obesity in animal studies. Additionally, in six brief studies, intermittent fasting resulted in weight loss in obese adult humans.

Those who have type 2 diabetes may experience the following advantages:

  • The majority of the research available indicates that intermittent fasting can assist individuals in losing body weight and reducing their levels of fasting glucose, fasting insulin, and leptin. Additionally, it can reduce insulin resistance, decrease leptin levels, and increase adiponectin levels.
  • Certain studies found that patients under their physicians’ supervision who practiced intermittent fasting were able to reverse their need for insulin therapy.Health of the tissue. Intermittent fasting in animals resulted in enhanced surgical outcomes and reduced tissue damage.

Is intermittent fasting a healthy practice?

Some people use intermittent fasting to control their weight, while others use it to manage chronic conditions like arthritis, elevated cholesterol, or irritable bowel syndrome. However, intermittent fasting is not suitable for all individuals.

It is advisable to consult with your primary care practitioner prior to attempting intermittent fasting (or any other diet).

Certain individuals should refrain from intermittent fasting:

The group includes adolescents and children under the age of 18.There are women who are either pregnant or lactating.People with type 1 diabetes necessitate insulin. Even though an increasing number of clinical trials have demonstrated the safety of intermittent fasting in individuals with type 2 diabetes, there are currently no studies conducted on individuals with type I diabetes.

Mattson elaborates, “There is a concern that an intermittent fasting eating pattern may lead to unsafe levels of hypoglycemia during the fasting period because individuals with type I diabetes require insulin.”Those who have a history of dietary disorders are at risk. However, those who do not fit this classification and can safely adhere to intermittent fasting can continue the regimen indefinitely. It has the potential to be a lifestyle modification that is advantageous.

It is important to remember that intermittent fasting may have varying effects on individuals. Consult your physician if you begin to experience unusual anxiety, migraines, nausea, or other symptoms following the initiation of intermittent fasting.

Combining intermittent fasting with healthy food, we recommend oriental foods like Moroccan foods full of natural oils like olive oil and full grains, which will help you boost your metabolism, lose fat, and lower your risk of illness.

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