It has become increasingly popular for people to skip meals and even consume less food over a long period of time in order to lose weight. But how does this work, does it work at all and most importantly.. is it healthy? In this article we are looking at the process of intermittent fasting and what is means to do it, followed by our readers questions about its safety and effectiveness.
Many celebrities have began spreading information about their intermittent fasting routines and how it has helped them lose weight and stay in shape. Celebrities like Terry Crews and Jack Dorsey have both spoken on how they go without eating for long stretches of time. Many think intermittent fasting is a way in which you can get your caloric intake under control, also thought to lower the risk of certain cancers and even promotes heart health. But other people question the safety of not eating for a long period of time. Are any of these claims truthful or does intermittent fasting has its limits?
How Long Should You Fast For?
The theory behind intermittent fasting is that you go for lengthy periods without eating and people tend to follow one of these three routines when doing so:
Whole-day fasting – This regime means that two days per week you will limit your caloric intake to only 500 calories per day. For the rest of the week you can eat whatever foods to want with no restriction. This diet is also known as the 5:2 and is followed by a range of people under all ages and weights.
Time-restricted fasting – This form of fasting means that you will only be able to eat for 8 hours throughout the day and fast through the other 16. Most people who follow this form of fasting tend to only eat lunch and dinner.
Alternate-day fasting – This is when you go from switching days without any food restrictions and days where you can eat one meal that provides around 25 percent of your daily calories. So, in practice this means that you can consume a 700-calorie meal on Monday, followed by regular eating on Tuesday. But the Wednesday you will go back to eating a 700-calorie meal only.
Since your schedule may not suit one of these fasting regimes, it may be wise for you to investigate what periods of time that you can do intermittent fasting for whilst remaining healthy. For example, if you are doing strenuous exercise and activity throughout the day, it may not be wise for you to go too long without eating as it may cause you health issues long-term. Also, start off with a mild fasting routine before engaging in a more difficult regime like only eating one meal per day.
How Does Fasting Work?
Despite it being a popular way to lose weight, there isn’t much evidence surrounding what actually happens to our body when we are fasting. Many studies conducted about intermittent fasting have been carried out on animals, these animals do not have a similar internal design as humans, so the results are not representative of humans carrying out fasting.
Although, many people are under the idea that fasting gives the body a break from food digestion so it can focus on repairing damaged cells, this process is called autophagy. However, these studies have been carried out on mice, so it is still unclear to what extent these results are similar to that of humans. There is clear evidence that fasting does lower insulin levels. Insulin is a chemical produced in the pancreas and it regulated blood sugars amongst other things. High levels of insulin have been linked to obesity and other heart conditions such as heart disease.
Can You Lose Weight By Fasting?
Intermittent fasting does not actually guarantee weight loss, this is for many reasons. If you are only eating one meal on Monday, but eating twice the usual amount on Tuesday, then your caloric intake has not lowered. Also, if you are eating three healthy meals per day then lowering that to one unhealthy meal will not necessarily mean you are any better off. It’s important that you do not overeat when fasting as it will completely cancel out the days in which you have limited food consumption.
So it is essential that you do not overeat on days which your caloric intake is not limited.
What Can You Eat and Drink When Fasting?
It is suggested that you stick to vegetables, protein foods and meals high in fiber whilst you are fasting. The results that have been noted from intermittent fasting are mixed, with some researchers saying that you can lose up to 7 percent of your body mass. Many other researchers say that intermittent fasting is no better than regular calorie counting diets.
You want to only consume drinks that have little to no calories in them whilst doing fasting, this means you should try and stick to water and black coffee. Avoid soda and sugary drinks, along with putting sugar in your tea and coffee.
To conclude, if you are looking to try intermittent fasting, then start of slowly and restrict your nutritional intake for only one day out of the week to begin. If you are seeing results, then increase the routine and always remember to put your health first.
Also, be sure to check out our guide to Forskolin and if it helps weight loss.