Intermittent fasting is currently one of the world’s most popular fitness and health trends. People make use of this eating plan to improve their health, simplify their lifestyles and to lose weight. Research shows that it can have powerful effects on your brain and body and that it may even help you to live longer. Even though there are many benefits associated with fasting, it might be necessary to also take some quality supplements – to find out more.
How Does It Work?
This eating pattern cycles between periods of eating and fasting. It only specifies when you should eat rather than what you should eat. A typical method involves daily 16 hour fasts or two 24 hours of fasting per week.
If we go back to ancient times, it is a known fact that hunter-gatherers didn’t always have food available throughout the year. They sometimes could not find anything to eat and obviously did not have refrigerators, freezers or supermarkets available when food was scarce. Humans are, therefore, able to function without food for long periods of time.
What Are The Benefits?
If this dietary intervention is done right it can carry huge benefits such as the reversal of type 2 diabetes, increased energy as well as weight loss. It will also save you quite a bit of time and money.
Fasting allows the body to burn fat. As body fat is food energy that has merely been stored away, your body will ‘eat’ its own fat for energy when you don’t eat for extended periods of time. When we do not eat, our insulin levels fall which signals the body to start burning stored energy as you’re no longer getting any energy through food. Your body must pull glucose out of storage when the blood glucose levels fall in order to use it for energy. If we are constantly eating, as many of us are told to do today, we do not give our bodies a chance to burn food energy.
This way of eating will further also allow inflammation to cool down and give your gut some time to rest. Studies also show that fasting can enhance heart health, improve autoimmune conditions, improve blood sugar levels, increase cognitive function and improve lung health.
The Different Ways To Fast
- Eat only between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. This is a great way to start out with fasting as it allows you to eat your regular meals as well as a few snacks but still get 14 hours of fasting each day.
- Eat between 12 pm and 6 pm. With this plan, you’ll be extending your fasting time by four hours. If you are not a breakfast person, this plan might work perfectly for you. Instead of having breakfast, you can enjoy a few cups of herbal tea in the morning and then only eat lunch after 12 pm. It’s important to stay hydrated even though you’re not having breakfast, so make sure to drink enough herbal tea and water. Make sure that your first meal of the day includes enough healthy fats. Nuts and seeds are a great snack to have between lunch and dinner.
- The two-day plan. Eat clean for five days and restrict your calories to 700 per day on the other two remaining days of the week. Calorie restriction offers a lot of the same benefits as fasting. On the non-fasting days, you have to make sure that you get enough fruits, vegetables, clean meats and healthy fats. You can structure the meals however you want.
- The 5-2 plan. On this plan, you will eat as usual for five days of the week and then not consume anything for two nonconsecutive days. This means that you can fast on a Sunday and Wednesday for example and eat clean for the remaining five days of the week. Please note that this plan is not for beginners and that you should talk to your doctor before starting such a regime, especially if you have a medical condition or are on medication.
- Every-other-day plan. Even though this plan is for the advanced faster, it is very simple: fast every second day – it is very intense, but it can produce excellent results. On your fasting days, you can consume moderate amounts of black tea or coffee, herbal tea and water. Always remember to start out slowly and to gradually work up to more advanced eating plans.