Much like anything else, health and fitness encounters many trends. Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular and successful of these trends. Intermittent fasting is more focused on the “when” you eat, rather than “what” you eat. Now of course, it’s more successful when you eat healthy foods full of the energy and vitamins you need. Intermittent fasting won't’ do much good if the rest of the time is spent stuffing your face with junk food!
There have been some pretty positive studies done in regards to intermittent fasting. The results have often shown that it can assist people who wish to lose weight and can improve their metabolism and metabolic health. That being said, intermittent fasting confuses some people. Done incorrectly, it can harm a body. Therefore it’s important to know all about intermittent fasting before you commit to trying it out.
1: What Exactly Is Intermittent Fasting?
A: Intermittent fasting is simply avoiding all forms of food for intermittent periods of time. There are many different variations of intermittent fasting. Some are based on a daily fast, while others are scheduled throughout a week. In any case, the concept is simply to ingest food during a set period, while eliminating all caloric intake outside of those times.
2: How Easy Is It?
A: In most cases, intermittent fasting is remarkably easy depending on the method. Take the most popular form, which is known as the 16/8 method. In this method, you fast for 16 hours, then eat in an 8 hour window. This really isn’t all that different from most people’s regular lives as most tend to eat breakfast around 9am and dinner around 5pm. Much of the fasting is done while sleeping. With this method, it’s really easy and commonly breakfast is moved to noon, with dinner occurring at 8pm. This extends the overnight fast a little bit longer.
3: What Qualifies As Fasting?
A: Most people know that fasting means you can’t eat food, but not beyond that. Quite simply, the fasting period is intended to remove calories, not necessarily specific type of foods. Fasting is common for religious purposes, or often before getting medical tests or having to undergo surgery. Many people fast when they are ill naturally. You can still drink water when practicing intermittent fasting (and are encouraged to) as well as coffee and other drinks with zero calories in them.
4: How Many Types of Fasting Are There?
A: The 16/8 method was already mentioned, but there are plenty of others. The Eat-Stop-Eat method is an intermittent fast in which people don’t eat anything from dinnertime to the following day’s dinnertime. This functions as a 24 hour fast and is usually completed once or twice per week. There’s also the 5:2 intermittent fast. With this fast, you don’t completely eliminate food. Twice per week however, the daily calorie intake is limited down to approximately 500 calories. This is less than half the usual minimum a person needs to eat. These are only a small number of the different intermittent fasting techniques. Which ones can work for an individual should be discussed with their doctor to make sure the fasting won’t conflict with medical conditions.
5: What Kind of Health Benefits Should I Expect?
A: There are plenty of reasons to fast. When someone fasts, their natural blood sugar levels will return to proper levels. This means that excess carbs or sugars are less likely to be turned into fat by the body. This is also why fasting must always be discussed with doctors by Diabetics as it can be very dangerous for them. For most people, the biggest benefit of intermittent fasting is weight loss. The regimented style of these diet forms require people to be very cognizant of everything they are putting into their body. This tends to bring down overall calories and helps burn off excess fat. Another benefit in some options is that time ends up being saved. Many people don’t wish to eat breakfast in the morning before work, but feel compelled to. Some methods eliminate breakfast and free up that time of the day.