What Exactly Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting has recently gained a lot of popularity, but has been around for a while. For those of you who may be unaware, it involves switching between fasting and eating regularly. Unlike other weight-management routines, it focuses on when to eat instead of what exactly to eat. There are specific windows during the day (usually 12-16 hours consecutively) when you abstain from eating, but can drink zero-calorie beverages such as water, black coffee or tea.
There are numerous benefits of intermittent fasting. Although it does require patience and willpower, like any other diet, it is great for losing weight and establishing healthy eating habits. By prolonging the period when your calories are burnt during your last meal, your fat stores are also burnt for a longer time. It not only lowers your food and caloric intake, but also boosts your metabolic rate, which contributes to weight loss. In fact, a study in 2014 showed that it led to weight loss of 3-8% over the span of 3-24 weeks, which is a significant change.
Intermittent fasting has extremely positive effects on health. It protects organs against diseases namely type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel syndrome, neurological disorders and even cancers. Since it lowers the likelihood of obesity, people who already suffer from type 2 diabetes will greatly benefit, as this fasting technique reduces the quantity of fasting glucose and insulin, with less dependance on insulin therapy as treatment. There are also surprising cognitive benefits, such as improved memory, increased growth of nerve cells that facilitate brain function, and protection against brain damage as a result of strokes. Intermittent fasting further improves blood pressure, heart health, alongside better fitness and endurance.
It is critical to get the go-ahead from your doctor or local GP on whether intermittent fasting is feasible for your body, with risk factors being age and those with a history of diabetes and eating disorders. Once you are cleared, it is definitely worth giving it a try.