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All You Need To Know About Intermittent Fasting And Why It Works

The world is crazy about losing weight.

It’s really not surprising why so many are obsessed about weight loss. Almost a third of the world’s population is now overweight and people are feeling its effects. The diseases and conditions that accompany the extra weight are also on the rise.

This is why more and more people are trying out different methods for shedding their extra kilos. That demand is being met by all kinds of diets and exercise plans being offered to people. One of those weight loss methods that is quite controversial is intermittent fasting.

Intermittent Fasting 101

As the name suggests, intermittent fasting involves alternating periods of fasting and then eating. What makes it different from other eating plans is that it does not deal with what you should eat but rather when you should eat and when not to.

There is nothing revolutionary about the idea behind intermittent fasting. Humans have been fasting for thousands of years. In the past, it has been closely associated with religion.

For some cultures and religions, fasting is seen as a spiritual practice. Religious persons did it in order to develop their spirituality. It was also seen as a part of abstaining from the pleasures of the world, since eating was seen as a form indulging the senses.

What Happens When We Fast

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When we refrain from eating for a certain period, the body undergoes certain changes. This is a biological reaction, which is a form of preparation for a time of famine. Just keep in mind that our ancestors really had to deal with certain periods when people died because of starvation.

We have listed here some of the changes that happens to the body during fasting. Some of these changes would only happen after a longer period of fasting, while others can be experienced right away.

1. Breaking Down of Sugar

This happens during the first few hours of fasting and there is nothing abnormal about this. Your body is just breaking down the sugar from the food that you have last eaten and converting those into energy.

2. Ketosis

Have you heard about ketosis? This is a state of metabolism where the body becomes dependent on ketones in the blood. The ketones are broken down from fat. This means that the body is looking for sources additional of energy now.

3. Clean Up

When your body is under ketosis there are also other significant changes going on. For example, that is also when cholesterol and uric acid is released into the bloodstream.  This is a crucial part in the cleansing process of the body.

During this period you may experience fatigue, dizziness, and headaches. Some people even get rashes.

4. Digestive System Takes a Break

Fasting is a very unusual period for the digestive system. Normally, it is digesting some food even while you are resting or asleep. When you undergo a fast, it becomes an unusual period for the system because it has nothing to digest. Keep in mind that this would only happen during a long fast, since the digesting food takes a while.

Those are just some of the things that happen to your body when you go on a fast. Next up is a short guideline that you can follow if you want to try intermittent fasting in order to lose weight.

How to Do Intermittent Fasting

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Are you interested in trying intermittent fasting?

Here’s a short and simple guideline that you can follow on how to do this kind of fasting.

Now, there’s no single way to do this weight loss technique. The one common thing about all these methods is they are alternation between eating and fasting.

  1. The 16/8 Method

The name of this method is based on how the number of hours for each day will be divided between fasting and eating. So, for this method you will be fasting for 16 hours while the window for eating is 8 hours. This does not mean that you will stuff yourself full during that 8 hour period. You can include two to three meals during that time.

You can simplify this method by skipping breakfast altogether and then not eating anything after dinner. Now the 16/8 division is not strict. It can vary a bit.

The problem with this method is that it tends to skip breakfast, which is normally known as the most important meal of the day. Also, there are those who cannot go through the day without eating breakfast.

[Check out our cool Intermittent Fasting Calculator]

  1. The 5:2 Diet

The 5:2 refers to the number of days in a week. That means 5 days of normal eating and then 2 days of fasting. So, under this method you will be fasting each week.

Now, during the two-fasting period, you are not expected to completely forego eating. It is recommended that you consume between 500 to 600 calories then.

  1. 24-Hour Fast

This method may be a little more difficult for some people. Under this method, you would have to do a 24-hour fasting once a week. That is done by fasting from dinner to the dinner next day. The meal on which you base it is not really important. You can fast, starting breakfast or lunch, the crucial thing is the duration.

Now, if you are not used to fasting, you should not try out this method. The best thing is to try it for shorter periods. You can start with 12-hour fasting for example and as you get used to it, you can extend the period.

It is important that you eat normally during the 5 days that you are allowed to consume food. If you increase your food intake to make up for the time that you are fasting, then this method will fail. Also, coffee and other beverages are allowed during the fasting period. Only solid food will not be allowed then. For best coffee makers click here,

  1. Alternate Day Fasting

As the name suggests, under this method, you will be fasting every other day. Does that seem too much? Don’t worry, it’s not like the 24-hour fast under which no solid food is allowed. Under this method, up to 500 calories would be allowed during the fasting days.

Keep in mind that if you follow this method, you will have to go to bed with a grumbling stomach, every other day. That is not the best and most pleasant experience that you would want to go through.

  1. Fast During the Day and Eat at Night

This method is also known as the Warrior Diet. This is also one of the first methods of intermittent fasting that became popular. Fasting here does not mean refraining from eating altogether, it just means eating small fruits and berries during the day.

Under this method you can eat one large meal at night. Also, unlike other intermittent fasting methods, the so-called Warrior Diet places an emphasis on certain foods. It recommends foods that have not been processed and are as close to their natural condition as possible.

  1. Spontaneous Meal Skipping

The idea behind this method is that you do not really need a structure or a schedule in order to benefit from intermittent fasting. Under this method, you should skip meals whenever it is convenient for you.

Do not fall for the belief that if you skip a meal that your body will suffer from it. You are just not used to it. If you are not feeling hungry, then skip a meal. Don’t feel like getting breakfast? Then go to work without having one.

Just be sure that you do not carry it too far. You should eat when you have to and when you feel hunger.

Some people are getting phenomenal results when it comes to weight loss by following these methods. There is nothing wrong with learning what these methods have to offer and trying them out. Just remember that everything should be done in moderation.

Pros and Cons

Now, we move on to the main part of this article which is listing down the pros and cons of intermittent fasting. This is how some people will  decide whether they would try out this method of losing weight or not.

Cons of Intermittent Fasting

Let’s start with the downsides of this method of losing weight.

  1. The Danger of Binge Eating

This is a major risk that accompanies intermittent fasting. If you are not used to fasting and you suddenly deprive your body of the usual amount of food that you eat, you will feel weak during the entire period and once you can eat again, there is the risk that you will go on a binge.

It will take time for your body to adjust to the lack of food, but once it gets adjusted, you should be okay. To some people however, getting used to is really difficult.

  1. Not for Everybody

Unfortunately, intermittent fasting is a weight loss method that is not for everyone. It requires a great deal of discipline and self control not to eat when food is readily available. Not everyone can also handle the hunger pangs that accompany fasting.

  1. Can Affect Daily Life

Some people will become too distracted when they are fasting because of hunger. The good news is that this is something that you can get used to eventually but it takes time.

  1. Effects Vary

Because people react differently with fasting, the weight loss effects of intermittent fasting is not very consistent. Some will lose a lot of weight because of it, while others will not.

Pros of Intermittent Fasting

Now, we move onto the pros of this weight loss method.

  1. Good for Metabolism

Intermittent fasting can help to lower the risk of developing diabetes. It also enhances metabolism. That alone should be reason enough for you to try intermittent fasting.

  1. Increase Mitochondria

Mitochondria is what’s known as cellular batteries. When you do intermittent fasting, that promotes the health of these batteries. When the Mitochondria in your body are healthy, it also means you are healthy.

  1. Decrease in Visceral Fat

A lot of people would really be interested in this. Visceral fat refers to the fat that is deposited around the abdominal area. The good news is that there are signs that intermittent fasting actually helps when it comes to breaking down visceral fat. If you have been looking for ways to reduce your belly fat, this could be the method you are looking for.

  1. Stimulates Human Growth Hormone

Another pro of doing intermittent fasting is that it stimulates the human growth hormone. This is the hormone that helps the cells in the body to regenerate.

  1. Effective for Weight Loss

Most important of all, intermittent fasting is actually effective when it comes to losing weight.  It’s easy to see why it is so effective for losing weight; it makes you eat less calories. So, as long as you do intermittent fasting and you do not compensate for the lost calories by overeating, it should be effective.

Of course, it depends a lot on your discipline and ability to stick to the plan, but which diet is not that way?

  1. Lose Weight and Retain the Muscle

One of the more serious side effects of dieting is that it tends to burn muscle mass and not only fat. The good news is that intermittent fasting can actually help you to retain  your muscle mass and lose weight at the same time.

  1. It’s very Simple

One of the biggest advantages of intermittent fasting over other weight loss methods is its simplicity. All you have to remember is when you can eat and when you cannot eat. In its simplest form, you do not have to count calories or remember which types of food you can go for.

After reading all of these things about intermittent fasting, would you like to try it out? Just keep in mind that like any other method of losing weight, it would be a lot better if you were to start slow at first. You do not want to push yourself too far when it comes to fasting.

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