One of the newest health trends that is all the rage on social media is intermittent fasting. Even though this restrictive wellness practice has been around for centuries, it has recently gained a lot of popularity and traction in the health world. There are many different methods of intermittent fasting, but most of them promise weight loss, longevity, and several other health benefits! The goal of intermittent fasting is to adjust the times at which you consume foods, rather than cutting out and depriving you of specific foods. If you are interested in learning more about about intermittent fasting, keep on reading!
Types of Intermittent Fasting:
Alternate Day Fasting
Basically, this type of intermittent fasting calls for alternating between fasting days and normal eating days. You will eat your regular meals on one day and only drink calorie-free liquids the next. If you can’t go a day without eating, you can eat 500 calories on your fasting day.
Whole Day Fasting aka the 5:2 Diet
This method calls for fasting for at least 1 to 2 days per week. The reason it is also known as the 5:2 Diet is that for five days out of the week you continue to eat as normal, which leaves two days for fasting.
This form of fasting is becoming extremely popular, probably due to the fact that it is the easiest of the methods to follow. Time-restricted fasting only calls for you to fast for a specific amount of time every day. Most people will fast anywhere from 10-16 hours at a time using this method.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting:
Changes the functions of cells and hormones
Intermittent fasting changes a lot of things in your body for the better. When you don’t eat for several hours, your insulin levels drop, which allows for fat burning. It also allows for the levels of your growth hormones to increase. While fasting, your body also goes through cellular repair, such as getting rid of unnecessary waste from cells. Essentially, the cells break down dysfunctional proteins that accumulate in the cells over periods of time.
Can reduce inflammation
Another great benefit is that intermittent fasting can help reduce inflammation in the body, which is great because it helps the body fight off infection. Research shows that one of the reasons people experience too much inflammation in their bodies is because they are eating way too much, and much too often. If the body experiences too much inflammation, it can lead to illnesses and disease.
Easy to follow the plan
Intermittent fasting isn’t like other diet plans that strive to carve out and structure everything you eat in a day. There is the flexibility to eat what your body craves on the days when you are not fasting.
Can lead to weight loss
Some methods of intermittent fasting can promote weight-loss. Of course, it needs to be done correctly and when you do eat, it should be balanced meals full of healthy nutrients. If not, you run the risk of overeating and gaining weight.
Cons of Intermittent Fasting:
Side effects such as fatigue
Especially when you first start fasting, you can expect to be moody, feel very tired, experience dehydration, and have difficulty sleeping.
May cause you to become very hungry & overeat
When fasting, you may become very hungry which can be uncomfortable or lead you to overeat once the fasting period is over (or before).
Doesn’t necessarily promote healthy eating
As discussed earlier, intermittent fasting isn’t about dictating what you are putting in your body – just when you do it. This doesn’t always allow you to develop a healthy relationship you should have with the food you are consuming. If you want to intermittent fast for weight loss, it is important to do research and learn how to cook healthy meals for yourself.
Not sustainable for the long term
Due to its restrictive nature, not many people can maintain intermittent fasting in their everyday life. There is very little research about the effects of long-term fasting on our health so it’s best to consult with a doctor if you are planning on fasting long term.
Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone, and it is not something you have to do in order to lose weight or create a healthy lifestyle. If you are the type of person who has or has had a sensitive relationship with food, maybe this isn’t the right thing for you. Everyone is different, and that also goes for what is good for our health and not so good for it. If you feel confident in your ability to fast correctly, while also finding a way to eat a healthy and balanced diet, it can positively effect your health.