Posted on Jan 29, 2019, 9 p.m.
Intermittent fasting is becoming an increasingly popular eating schedule, but this eating plan is certainly not new, it can be traced back to many ancient religious and cultural practices.
This is not starving yourself or depriving the body of food, rather focusing on when you eat food; and diverges from other types of diets which focus on what you can and can’t eat. The three ways to go about intermittent fasting according to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are as follows:
Time restricted fasting allows for eight hours to eat during the day, followed by 16 hours in which food is avoided. Most following this plan skip breakfast and have their first meal around lunch time, which leaves about seven more hours to eat before going to bed.
Modified fasting aka the 5:2 diet consists of two days of only eating 25% of the recommended calorie intake which is followed by five days of a normal diet.
Alternate fasting schedules switch between consuming zero calorie foods and beverages and regular eating habits, lasting for as little as 12 hours up to a week, which can differ from person to person.
Not all of the claims have been proven that have been made in regards to the benefits of intermittent fasting. Studies have shown it to lower risks of chronic diseases via reducing insulin production and sugar uptake while cells improving insulin sensitivity; and it has been associated with an increase in human growth hormone levels which could be attributed for weight loss and muscle gain commonly linked to intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting limits habits driven by snacking that most people aren’t even aware of such as eating because of opportunity not hunger. The time is limited in which you can eat, which also helps to promote better food choices than when there are potentially unlimited opportunities throughout the day. Late night snacking doesn’t happen which can help promote better sleep habits, improved weight and metabolism, reduce stress and fatigue, and reduce risk of chronic diseases.
Just as there studies suggesting benefits there are also studies suggesting intermittent fasting is not as good as people claim, as can be done with positives/negatives to just about anything. The Journal of the American Medical Association has published research showing effects of alternate day fasting were similar to restricted calorie intake, and claimed bad cholesterol levels increased in the fasting group.
Possible side effects of intermittent fasting are typically mild which may include nausea, dehydration, weight gain over time, and eating more during non-fasting days. Although largely safe it is important to make sure you consider all of the advantages and disadvantages of intermittent fasting so you are aware of possible outcomes, and talk to a medical professional to make sure it is right for you.
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