Obesity and the health problems associated with it are perpetually on the rise. People constantly look for ways to improve their health, but the process can be overwhelming because of the many fad diets, workout programs, and detox packages. What will work for your body? Let us introduce you to the concept of intermittent fasting.
A lot of people try fasting diets, where they only drink water or apple cider vinegar tonics. Some people don’t even drink that much, which can actually do more harm than good. The body’s metabolism can slow and hold on to fat when you aren’t supplying it with calories and nutrients. Because the body doesn’t know when it will get food again, it holds on to the weight you are trying to lose.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is the practice of fasting and then eating for specific time periods. The amount of time you fast for and the amount of time you eat for can vary. More and more research supports that this method of fasting produces weight loss benefits, reduces inflammation, and helps to benefit the cardiovascular system. Additional research suggests that calorie cutters are more likely to drop out of that diet than those who intermittently fast.
When you fast for a certain amount of time, the body can begin to enter the beginning stages of ketosis. The body burns fats to make ketones and fatty acids to satisfy your caloric needs. You don’t get to eat whatever you want while you are intermittently fasting, though. This is a common misconception. You still have to eat a well-balanced diet during the eating times.
This Is Not A New Concept
From an evolutionary standpoint, intermittent fasting makes sense. Having access to food at all hours of the day is a relatively new concept. Food wasn’t always easy to come by because people had to hunt and gather. Even the Ancient Greeks would fast intermittently because they believed it helped maintain cognitive function. Fasts are still used by major world religions, for example, during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. During this holiday, people only eat before the sun comes up and after the sun sets, and they don’t eat during the day.
Time-restricted eating leads to a reduced caloric intake because people only eat at certain times of the day. In order for the body to burn more fat, you cannot eat gigantic meals that are each 1,000 calories or more; that defeats the purpose of the diet program. This eating plan will not lead the body into a state of ketosis. In order to reach this state, it is ideal to consume lots of healthy fats (avocados, olive oil, nuts & seeds, and coconut oil) and very few carbs when eating is allowed.
The Benefits of Autophagy
Autophagy is a natural process in which cells and cell components are recycled. This typically happens when a person hasn’t eaten for a while. During this process, the cells that get destroyed are typically fat cells and diseased cells, which get replaced with healthier new ones. Provided you are eating a well-balanced diet, intermittent fasting helps you obtain sufficient nutrients during eating times to help replace the cells that get destroyed during autophagy.
Where To Start
There are several methods to consider when beginning an intermittent fasting program. Some people prefer the 5:2 plan because there are a lot of studies about it. For two days a week, either consecutive or spaced out, you only consume 500 calories a day, focusing on healthy fats and plant proteins. You could have one cup of steel cut oats for breakfast (170 calories), a quarter cup of almonds as a snack (200 calories), and a four-ounce, wild-caught cod fillet for dinner (100 calories). You don’t have to worry about calorie counting during the other five days of the week, but it is ideal to focus on plant-based foods that are high in nutrients.
Another option is to do the 16:8 plan, where you fast for 16 hours a day and eat during an eight-hour window. People on this plan typically eat between the hours of 9am-5pm, and they fast between 5pm-9am. Which plan you choose is entirely up to you. We hope this information helps and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below.