Intermittent Fasting (Intermittent Fasting): Things that are important to know

Intermittent Fasting (IF-Intermittent Fasting) refers to a type of diet plan that follows a fixed schedule of fasting and eating. In this method, more importance is placed on the duration of the fast than on the type of food eaten.

Many people today are turning to intermittent fasting to control body weight and reduce the risk of various diseases. To get the best results by adopting this method, some rules should be followed. This article discusses in detail the answers to some important questions about intermittent fasting, including what are the correct rules for intermittent fasting, what are the health benefits, who should avoid this method, whether it is okay to work out or exercise while fasting, etc.

How does intermittent fasting work?

Many methods of intermittent fasting vary from one to another depending on the difference between fasting and eating schedules. The 3 most popular methods of intermittent fasting are: (Gunnars, 2022)

16:8 Method (Leangains protocol)

A 16:8 ratio means fasting for 16 hours and eating for the remaining 8 hours. You can fast for 16 hours day or night at your convenience and eat normal food for the next 8 hours.

In the case of intermittent fasting, it is not that nothing can be eaten throughout the day like fasting. Rather, in this method, you can eat low-calorie foods along with drinking water during fasting. For example tea and coffee without milk and sugar, cucumber, tomato, green apple, etc.

The 5:2 Diet

A 5:2 ratio refers to 5 days a week of normal eating and 2 days of fasting or low-calorie intake (500 to 600 calories per day). In this method, you don’t have to fast for 2 consecutive days, but you can fast any 2 days of the week.

One meal a day for 500 to 600 calories and less calorie-rich food. For example vegetables, tea, coffee, green apple, grape, pear, watermelon, beet, mushroom, etc.

Fasting for 24 hours

Fasting for 24 hours continuously and then eating normal food. Fasting for 24 hours 1 or 2 days a week is sufficient in this method. In this case, you can eat low-calorie foods along with drinking water during fasting.

How does intermittent fasting facilitate a healthy lifestyle?

Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says our bodies can adapt to prolonged periods of fasting. In primitive times, people worked long hours without eating to hunt animals and gather food and were in good health. (Johns Hopkins Medicine, n.d.)

Frequent eating habits allow excess calories to enter the body, and a sedentary lifestyle does not consume all calories. The effect of this is obesity (Obesity) and body weight increases and also increases the possibility of suffering from various complex diseases. For example: high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, increase in harmful cholesterol in the blood, diabetes, cancer, etc.

Intermittent Fasting

Body weight is controlled by intermittent fasting. Other benefits that can be obtained are: (Metropulos, 2020)

  • Increases insulin sensitivity and helps control blood sugar levels.
  • Reduces inflammation and prevents premature cell death.
  • It helps in reducing the pain of arthritis patients.
  • Slows tumor growth and helps prevent various types of cancer.
  • Improves the functioning of the nervous system and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.
  • Helps control harmful cholesterol levels in the blood and reduces the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, etc.
  • Helps to live longer by reducing the chances of contracting various complex diseases.

Who is Intermittent Fasting for?

Intermittent fasting should be done for those who are overweight and at high risk of developing various complications. Intermittent fasting on weekends can be beneficial, especially for those with busy lives who cannot eat and exercise regularly to control excess body weight and reduce the risk of disease.

Who should avoid it?

As intermittent fasting can bring many benefits to the body, this method may not be suitable for everyone. Rather, intermittent fasting should be avoided for some people. For example:

  • Persons under 18 years of age
  • Pregnant women and lactating mothers
  • Those who are trying to conceive
  • Those suffering from anemia
  • Patients with eating disorders
  • Patients with type-1 diabetes

Patients with type-1 diabetes do not produce insulin, so insulin is given from outside. So in these patients intermittent fasting i.e. fasting for a long time, the blood glucose level decreases completely due to the effect of insulin (hypoglycemia) which requires urgent hospitalization of the patient. And so to avoid such a complicated situation, patients with type-1 diabetes cannot be fasted. (Johns Hopkins Medicine, n.d.)

Important things to know about intermittent fasting

Fasting for long periods is undoubtedly difficult and therefore you need to know all the necessary information about intermittent fasting so that this difficulty does not go to waste.

1. Can I drink liquids during intermittent fasting?

Drinking fluids during intermittent fasting means drinking as much water as you want. However, liquids containing sugar or calories such as soft drinks, energy drinks, alcohol, sugar syrup, etc. cannot be watered down.

2. Is it okay to skip breakfast?

It is not right to skip breakfast but it can be skipped for intermittent fasting. Later when the fast is over i.e. eating healthy food should be eaten so that it does not cause stomach problems (acidity, flatulence, nausea, stomach pain, etc.).

3. Can supplements be taken during intermittent fasting?

There are usually no clear guidelines for taking supplements like drugs. Moreover, there are different types of supplements, some of which are high in calories and some of which contain harmful chemicals. Taking supplements during intermittent fasting can make it difficult to reach the desired goals. And so it is better not to take supplements.

4. Fasting can exercise?

Exercise and normal activities can be done while fasting. However, heavy work and prolonged exercise should not be done. Because it can make the body very weak and uncomfortable.

5. Will intermittent fasting cause muscle wasting?

Any form of fasting results in some muscle wasting. However, intermittent fasting can prevent muscle loss if adequate amounts of good-quality protein are consumed after the fast. For example, eggs, fish, chicken, milk, pulses, beans, almonds, salina leaves, etc.

6. Does fasting slow down the metabolism?

Intermittent fasting does not slow down the metabolism but acts as a booster. However, prolonged fasting (more than 3 days) can slow down the metabolism.

7. Should children be fasting?

Fasting should not be done for children below 18 years of age. However, if a child is overweight, fasting can be done on the advice of a doctor.

Should women be fasting?

Intermittent fasting is safe for men and women and can be done by an adult. However, fasting should not be done for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and women who do not have periods.

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