Intermittent Fasting: Does it Work?
Intermittent fasting is presently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends. It is being endorsed by celebrities and praised by online testimonials. People are trying it to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyles.
Studies on the method also show the powerful effects it can have on the body and brain. So let us get to know what intermittent fasting really is!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern in which you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. The method does not specify what foods to eat. Instead, it focuses on when to eat food.
There are different fasting methods that split the day or week into eating and fasting periods. Common methods involve fasting for 16 hours daily and eating for eight; or fasting for 24 hours, twice per week. There are also some uncommon splits such as 10-14 and 12-12 - which basically involve 14 hours and 12 hours of fasting respectively.
The most common reason people take up intermittent fasting is weight loss. By fasting for 14 to 16 hours, and eating for a shorter window of 8 hours, you reduce the window of time during which you can eat. This may automatically reduce your total daily calorie intake and can then result in weight loss. However, it is important to be mindful of how many calories you consume during your eating periods. If you eat massive amounts or binge during the eating periods, you may not lose weight at all.
How does Intermittent Fasting work?
During the 14 to 16 hour fasting period, several things happen in the body on a cellular or molecular level. During fasting, the cells of the body initiate cellular repair processes and there are changes in the function of genes related to protection against diseases and longevity. All of these work together to boost body functioning, aiding fat loss and muscle gain.
Are there any benefits? Yes, there are!
It might take some time for a person to get adapted to the Intermittent Fasting timeline. During the initial period, one might feel tired, or hunger pangs, but with time the fasting schedule becomes a routine and it gets easier.
Intermittent fasting comes with its fair share of benefits provided you stick with the schedule and let it work on your body. These include:
- Change in the cell function, gene expression and hormone levels of your body
- Increase in brain function
- Prevention of Cancer
- Protection against neurological diseases
- Growth of new nerve cells
- reduction in risk factors of heart diseases i.e. LDL Cholesterol, Blood Triglycerides, etc.
- Reduction in insulin resistance and better management of blood sugar levels
- Increase in Human Growth Hormones (HGH) in the body which boosts fat loss and muscle gain
But, Is it sustainable for you?
This is what you need to contemplate in order to make the right decision!
Intermittent Fasting Works but only as long as you can do it consistently.
If you can see yourself fasting for 16 hours every day for years, then this technique will give you amazing fat loss results and help you sustain it in the long run.
However, if you keep struggling with the idea of fasting on a daily basis or you don’t see yourself adapting to the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle, then you will only see short term results. You will eventually cease to see results or even regress a little due to lack of consistency & commitment, making you feel like your weight loss journey is going nowhere!
It’s not just about the short term results. If you see yourself struggling to keep up with the fast, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by just focusing on counting your calories & protein intake for the day. Do this and you will be able to achieve all the fat loss and health benefits associated with it.
You will be better off following a custom-made diet which allows you to eat at any point in time during the day as long as you consume the appropriate amount of calories, follow a suitable macro split, and get enough essential micronutrients.
Intermittent Fasting provides no additional fat burning advantage over a regular calorie and macro controlled diet in the long run. Moreover, a well-balanced and nutrient rich diet can better your lifestyle, improving your health and fitness for life!