What is Intermittent Fasting? | Benefits and Side-Effects
Intermittent Fasting – Introduction
Before beginning the topic of discussion for today, I would like to ask how many of you are familiar with the concept of fasting? Although I know that almost all of us have resorted to fasting for some of the other reason. Whether it be religious or detoxification, fasting has become so common these days.
As you people know, we, the authors of Good Vibes Blog try our best to bring to you the topics that are a subject of major discussion amongst people these days. So, today I’ll be talking not only about fasting but about Intermittent fasting that has become so popular these days. We will be discussing its benefits and harmful effects today.
WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?
According to a historian and a food critic Pushpesh Pant
“A fast is also called a vrat, or resolution. Fasting in India began as a resolve that you have to do without food. It was an act of expiation”.
Over the years, the reasons for fasting kept on changing, and finally, it became involved in religion. Every religion has its own reason to resort to fasting. According to them fasting is not a moral obligation but is a moral and spiritual act where the aim is to purify the body and the mind and acquire divine grace.
However, it has a scientific reason behind it. As we know our digestive system is constantly busy digesting, absorbing, assimilating, and excreting. This is where fasting comes into the picture. Fasting gives the much-needed rest, healing, detoxification, cleansing, and rejuvenation.
Now coming back to our topic of discussion today, that is intermittent fasting and what exactly it means.
According to its definition intermittent fasting is a brief period of time during which you refrain from eating and drinking. Intermittent fasting should not be confused with starving or calorie restriction because it’s not a proper fast. There are exceptions like water, tea, and black or green coffee, that you can consume.
This type of fasting basically reduces your time window of eating. It’s a type of fasting that sets a limit on your eating time so that your body can take a break from the process of digestion and reserves the energy. This energy can further be used in other processes like cellular repair and fighting oxidative stress.
Intermittent fasting does not give you the list of food products that we need to eat instead, it provides you the time when you ought to eat them. In other words, you can say intermittent fasting is not a kind of conventional diet but an eating pattern and habit.
Before diving into this topic further let’s clarify the meaning of a few terms that are:-
It’s the time when you are supposed to not eat anything. But during this period there are certain exceptions like water, coffee(black or green), and tea(black or green) that can be consumed. However, even these substances need to be consumed with a certain limit. Excess consumption of these liquids can be harmful.
this is the time when you are done fasting or before beginning the fasting process. During this period you are permitted to eat normally. This means you need to keep a good distance from high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried items, and treats.
According to a nutritionist the goal of intermittent fasting is ..’Intermittent fasting allows people to have a range of different food items.’ “We want people to be mindful and take pleasure in eating good, nutritious food,”
INTERMITTENT FASTING METHODS
Although there are many ways for intermittent fasting I prefer a few and will list the same for you.
1) 16:8 Method
This method was put forth by fitness expert Martin Berkhan. During this eating window, you can include two, three, or more meals. This method is also called the Lean Gains method. This method involves eating all the calories during an 8 hour period and then fasting for the next 16 hours. This period revolves around a period of not eating and eating which means the fasting state and the fed state.
If you ask me in simpler terms during this method all you have to do is fix a time. Let’s say if you choose to eat between 1-9 pm then you need to fast for the next 16 hours. This is the window which is preferred by a large number of people because it can be easy to follow. Like not eating anything after dinner or skipping breakfast.
As I mentioned above you can include exceptions like tea, coffee (without milk and sugar) and water, this will reduce the feeling of hunger. Once you are done fasting you must consume food that is healthy and stay far away from junk foods.
2) 5:2 Method
This window is also called fast diet and was put forth by British journalist Michael Mosley. According to this step, all you have to do is eat anything you like for five days a week. After this, you need to restrict your calorie consumption for two non-successive days in the week. The calorie consumption needs to be reduced to 500 to 600 calories. And the non-successive days can be Tuesday and Thursday.
For example, if you are following this window then, this window permits you to eat normally every day of the week except on Tuesday and Thursday. For these two days, you are supposed to eat two small meals of 250 calories for women and 300 calories for men.
3) Eat stop Eat
This method was put forth by Brad Pilon. Just like the name suggests this method is very easy to understand and also easy to remember. I can’t say about the part where you actually have to opt for it. It can be both easy and difficult depending on you.
So, according to this method, you will have to fast for 24 hours once or twice a week, and otherwise, you can eat on the non-fasting days. During this method, water, coffee, and other zero calories beverages are allowed but no solid food. In simpler terms, this is a 24 hours day fast. The only thing that makes it less likable is that keeping 24 hours fast can be comparatively difficult.
According to the research that I conducted people prefer the 16:8 method because not only is it more sustainable but is simple and easy to remember and follow. Intermittent fasting helps in the reduction of weight because all you are doing in this process is managing your calorie intake. However, this will only be helpful if you maintain a good distance from junk food and will not compensate by eating more during allowed eating periods.
⚫DIET PLAN FOR INTERMITTENT FASTING.
Although I mentioned above that there is no diet plan for intermittent fasting which is true. But in this section, I would like to include certain food products that you can include in your diet to extract maximum benefits from intermittent fasting.
Most people begin this fasting with the hope of reducing weight, detoxification, and so on. But only some can achieve it. This is because of the few mistakes that we all might be committing. To ensure success you must consume nutritious food and beverages during the eating period. Consumption of nutrients dense food products will be beneficial.
Here is a list of food products
Although all fruits are good and include different nutrients and vitamins which are beneficial to us but oranges, apples, pears, peaches, bananas, and berries should be preferred.
I remember the time when my parents used to force me to eat vegetables and also made me repeat word by word the benefits that they can give to our body.
Hence all the vegetables are beneficial and can be consumed during the eating period. But if you include more green leafy vegetables it will be wonderful. You can also opt for broccoli, cucumber, cauliflower, tomato etc.
c) Whole wheat
When you are opting for intermittent fasting it’s preferred that you should go for grains such as buckwheat, barley, quinoa, oats, rice etc rather than refined wheat.
d) Healthy fats
During this period and also normally you should not go for saturated fats. Instead choose oils made from coconut, olive, avocado, mustard, peanut, sesame, etc.
Proteins that are without fat should be taken into consideration first. Such as poultry, legumes, eggs, nuts, seeds etc.
The exceptions that I mentioned above should be calorie free and unsweetened. Like unsweetened tea, coffee with no sugar, and water. These products will help you in remaining hydrated. Moreover you should maintain a good distance from junk food and overeating because this will only reduce the effects that will be achieved after the completion of intermittent fasting.
⚫BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
During this process of fasting our body undergoes several changes. Changes that occur both at cellular and hormonal level. It is because during this process our body begins to break the stored food to make it more accessible and to utilize the energy from them.
Here is a list of good changes that occur in our body due to this .
⭐During the process of fasting our cells trigger the process of cellular repair. Autophagy is an example of cell repair according to which old cells which include dysfunctional proteins are removed and digested.
⭐ This fasting will further help in reducing insulin level. A reduced insulin level will further make it easier for our internal system to access stored food.
⭐it will help in improving the levels of human growth hormones which benefits muscle gain and weight loss.
⭐This fasting helps in improving gene expression which is responsible for promoting longevity and provides protection against diseases.
Hence this intermittent fasting seems pretty helpful. If you ask me I am thinking to opt for that eat stop eat method. Which one are you going to try?
⚫ SIDE-EFFECTS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
As we know that fasting imposes a change in hormonal and cellular level hence there are certain harmful effects of this fasting. As I always say just like the coin has two sides similarly everything in this universe has its pros and cons. So before beginning anything new you should always be aware of the both. Moreover when it is about trying something new with your body, skin you should always concern your doctor.
Here is a list of some harmful effects that may or may not occur.
a). Irregular periods or even complete loss of periods
c). Shrinking of the ovaries
d). Metabolic stress
e). Fertility issues
e). Difficulty in sleeping..
Concluding it, I would like to say do keep in mind both pros and cons before you begin with this intermittent fasting. Moreover if you are completely relying on this for weight reduction you should keep in mind a few tips that are…
1- once you get normal with this fasting schedule try to notch it up a bit by also including workout in it..
2- don’t overeat when it’s the eating time
3- keep a good distance from junk foods. 4- Eat good food and do exercise for weight loss.
I hope this information will benefit you. But please don’t begin it without consultation from your doctor.
Have a nice day. Remain safe. Don’t forget to wear your masks whenever you step out and also keep your sanitizers all along. Wash your hands on a regular basis once you come back home or keep on sanitizing them when you touch the outer surfaces