Intermittent fasting is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends. People are using it to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyles.
Many studies show that intermittent fasting can have a powerful impact on your brain and body and may even help you to live longer.
How does it work?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. At its core, fasting simply allows the body to burn off excess body fat. It is important to realise that this is normal and humans have evolved to fast without detrimental health consequences. Body fat is merely food energy that has been stored away. If you don’t eat, your body will simply ‘eat’ its own fat for energy.
During fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all.
These are the most popular methods:
The 16/8 method: This involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. You then fast for 16 hours in between.
Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
The 5:2 diet: With this methods, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
By reducing your calorie intake, all of these methods should cause weight-loss, as long as you don’t compensate by overeating during the eating periods.
Many people find the 16/8 method to be the simplest, most sustainable and easiest to stick to. It’s also the most popular. You can drink water, herbal tea and other non-caloric beverages during the fast, and this can help reduce hunger levels. It is very important to eat mostly healthy foods during your eating window as fasting won’t work if you eat lots of junk food or excessive amounts of calories.
Scientists have long known that restricting calories is a way of lengthening lifespan. From a logical standpoint, this makes sense. However, we know that not all calories are created equal, and caloric restriction plays a central role in weight loss. When you fast, you are also making it easier to restrict your total caloric intake over the course of the week, which can lead to consistent weight loss and maintenance.
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