What is Intermittent Fasting? Breaking The Myth
In this post I have debunked some mysteries and myths surrounding Intermittent Fasting.
Here we will learn
- What is Intermittent Fasting?
- What Foods We Can Eat on Intermittent Fasting?
- Is Intermittent Fasting A Weight loss Diet?
- Can We Lose Weight on Intermittent Fasting?
- Combining Weight Loss Diet with Intermittent Fasting
- Who Should Follow Intermittent Fasting Regime?
- Who Should Avoid Intermittent Fasting?
- Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting
Let’s start learning about Intermittent Fasting.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
As the name implies Intermittent Fasting is Fasting between meals. We are taught to eat three meals and two snacks a day. Some nutritionists even recommend 9 small meals per day. This leaves 4 hours between meals approximately.
In intermittent fasting, you must have at least 18 hours of window in between meals.
Therefore, you have only 6 hours of eating window. Within this time period you have can snacks, meals (any number of time) and anything you wish to eat.
After that you should fast the next 18 hours.
Though Intermittent Fasting requires at least 18 hours of fast it doesn’t mean one should adhere only to 18 hour fasting window. You can increase the fasting period to 20 or even 24 hours.
I know of some people who fast for more than 48 hours. But that is a personal choice.
note: Minimum requirement is that one must fast for at least 18 hours.
What Foods We Can Eat on Intermittent Fasting?
There is no rule on which foods to avoid. You can eat almost everything on Intermittent Fasting.
You can eat burger, fried chicken, noodles and any other processed food. It really doesn’t matter.
What really matters is that you must fast for the next 18 hours.
Hint: An easy way to follow Intermittent fasting is getting up late and skipping breakfast. Have your lunch at 1 pm and dinner at 6 pm. And fast for the next 18 hours. If you sleep for 8 to 10 hours the next 8 hours is easily passed by working.
Hint 2: Include fat in your meals. This will allow you to fast for longer periods without getting hunger pangs.
Is Intermittent Fasting A Weight Loss Diet?
No. Intermittent Fasting is not a weight loss diet. Although several people have reported weight loss during intermittent fasting, it is not a weight loss diet.
Most people who fast intermittently do not lose weight. The just keep maintaining their weight.
Depending upon your food choices, you could also gain weight on Intermittent fasting.
Can We Lose Weight On the Intermittent Fasting?
Yes, we can lose weight on Intermittent Fasting but only if we specifically include weight loss foods.
Combining Weight Loss Diet With Intermittent Fasting
An excellent way of losing weight with intermittent fasting is combining weight loss techniques.
There are three simple ways to do.
The Low Calorie Way: In this method, within the eating window of 6 hours, you will keep reducing your meal sizes. This is similar to low calorie diet. Only difference, that you will eat only within 6 hours and fast for the next 18 hours. This is the hardest method.
The Low Carb Method: In this technique you will eat none to very small amounts of carbs. There is no restriction to calorie. However, restriction is only on carbs. One simple rule is, avoid anything that is white and processed. Egg whites are exception. This is a popular method and easy method.
The Keto Method: Some love combining the Keto diet along with Intermittent fasting. The high fat content in Keto diet allows one to go without food for longer periods of time. One simple rule of thumb for Keto diet is to eat 50% fat, 25% carb and 25% protein for each meal. Though this is the easiest diet the high fat content must be considered. If you are looking to follow the Keto diet please consult your physician.
Who Should Follow Intermittent Fasting?
Anyone can follow Intermittent Fasting. Especially if you are suffering from high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high insulin and obesity, Intermittent fasting provides relief in the long run.
Who Should Avoid Intermittent Fasting?
Since Intermittent Fasting requires that you fast for at least 18 hours anyone with low blood sugar and blood pressure must avoid Intermittent Fasting. If in doubt please consult a physician.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
There are are several benefits of Intermittent fasting. Some are:
- Your blood’s insulin level decreases. This allows burning of fat cells.
- It results in an increased Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
- Intermittent Fasting can help you lose weight
- Intermittent fasting reduces inflammation. Inflammation is the #1 reasons for most diseases out there. For example, inflammation is the main cause of heart attacks.
- Since it reduces inflammation and in turn reduces heart attack, intermittent fasting is good for heart’s health.
- Intermittent Fasting increases your body’s cellular repair mechanism.
- Intermittent Fasting prevents cancer. Cancerous cells feed on sugar (carbs). Since you are fasting for longer periods it is possible to cut on overall carb or sugar intake and prevent the growth of cancerous cells.
- Intermittent Fasting keeps you active and alert throughout the day.
- It may prevent Alzheimer’s
- Intermittent Fasting (by preventing diseases) will increase your life span.
Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting
Though Intermittent Fasting is good and has several health benefits, it has its own side effects with it.
- Hunger cravings
- Getting irritable
- Over eating
How to Start Intermittent Fasting
You cannot jump right away into Intermittent Fasting. This will make things worse for you.
You need to get into Intermittent Fasting, one step at a time.
For example, consider you eat three meals and two snacks per day.
For the first week avoid morning or evening snack. In the second week avoid snacks completely and just eat your three meals (no snacking whatsoever).
Slowly try skipping breakfast or limit the portions.
And finally ease into eating for only 6 hours and fasting for the next 18 hours.
By easing slowly into Intermittent Fasting you can avoid all side effects.
note: You will fail in the beginning several times to discipline yourself. It is completely common. Don’t give up and keep going on. It takes several attempts to be successful.
Intermittent Fasting is a powerful way to stay healthy at lower costs. Though there are some side effects, they can be avoided completely by easing into it slowly. Take a couple of months before you are ready to fast for 18 hours minimum.
Hope this post cleared some waters on Intermittent Fasting. If there are still any questions please ask them in the comment section.