Some people want to lose weight because they are not comfortable with the way that they look in the clothes they wear, others are concerned about their overall health. Regardless of the reason, there are many different types of diet programs on the market today. One of which involves intermittent fasting.
For people who want to know what intermittent fasting is and what it entails, here’s a brief overview about this topic that will answer some common questions.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Fasting is not a new method of controlling one’s daily diet regimen, it has been used in the past for numerous things. Some have used fasting for healing various kinds of illnesses and diseases, cleaning out the digestive system, religious purposes and a wide variety of other things.
Today, fasting is being modified to accommodate another way of dieting, especially since it is now being used to lose weight and maintain the weight loss. This form of dieting is more commonly called “Intermittent Fasting”.
Intermittent fasting can be described as scheduling a specific time that an individual will go without food. The actual timing of the fast for each person is often different since some people may go without food for 12 hours, a full day, several days, and even a week.
Why intermittent fasting?
People are attracted to intermittent fasting for numerous purposes. Since there are many different health benefits of going without consuming foods for short and extended periods of time, people can select the reason or reasons that fit their situations best.
For example, those who choose the shorter daily intermittent fasting options, will often discover that it helps them to be more consistent in their overall eating habits. Therefore, they do not have to follow a complex diet program that’s too hard to keep up with throughout their day (i.e. the dieter must buy specific breakfast foods, lunch foods, snacks and dinner to follow it correctly).
Intermittent fasting is also beneficial for people who tend to have problems controlling their eating. Specifically, for those who find themselves wanting to eat continuously throughout their day without a break. By using intermittent fasting, the body is also being trained to adapt to hunger since the feeding times are more consistent instead of sporadic.
Does fasting do something for you beyond weight loss? Does it reduce the risks of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and cancer? The promises are BIG, but these promises are not yet, fully supported by scientific research in humans.
How does it work?
How does intermittent fasting work? The type of intermittent fasting that a person chooses can vary from one person to another. Since some people may choose daily intermittent fasting, while another dieter chooses weekly intermittent fasting as their program. However, once this option has been chosen, the person can begin to follow the best practices that will work best for them. For instance, if the individual has chosen daily intermittent fasting, they may be fasting for health.
With daily intermittent fasting, the individual may set a schedule that allows them to eat between the hours of 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. Which means, they can eat anything that they want to between these hours, while they are fasting the other hours of their day. Further, when people are also trying to lose a certain amount of weight, most health professionals recommend that they eat only real foods during these times.
Therefore, they will need to eliminate any snacks that they would normally eat when they feel hungry. By eliminating the snacks, it helps the individual with controlling their appetite, empty calories consumed and increases the nutritional value and vitamins in their body.
Fasting versus Detoxing
Even though fasting can be used as a method to rid the body of certain harmful bacteria from the body, it is not considered to be a fad detoxing procedure. The distinction between a fast diet plan and a detox diet plan can be quite evident, specifically when it comes to the timing.
For instance, when people decide to detox their bodies, they normally drink different types of shakes to cleanse their colon. In fact, most people do this for an overnight quick weight loss effect that is not really expected to last. On the other hand, with intermittent fasting, people are looking to correct certain body ailments and diseases and lose the weight long-term.
Key Principles Intermittent Fasting
Before an individual starts an intermittent fasting program, there are some key principles that they should be familiar with. These facts will assist the individual with the information that they need to adhere to intermittent guidelines correctly:
- Advocates of this kind of weight loss and health programs recommend fasting between the hours of 7pm in the afternoon to 1pm on the next day.
- Others may adopt a 24-hour fast regimen in order to improve their health.
- The primary concept of following these plans involves eating big during the hours allotted, which is an excellent incentive for sticking to the diet program for long and extended periods of time.
- During fasting hours, the main objective is to consume Zero calories. Therefore, beverages that do not contain calories are allowed (i.e. teas, coffee (no milk) or energy drinks (zero calories). It is important to remember, however, that there should always be limits, especially since drinking plenty of water is also an essential key to increasing weight loss.
- Food choices are also more relaxed. However, it is more beneficial for people to consume significant amounts of fruits and vegetables, protein, and high-quality calcium sources.
So, for those who are interested in the type of approaches being used today, here are 4 versions that people are following:
- The periodic fast: 24 hours ( 1 – 2 times per week) – Fast diet plans, advocated by Michael Mosley (the 5:2 Fast Diet) and Brad Pilon (EatStopEat).
- LeanGains: 14 hours for women, 16 hours for men – Advocated by Martin Berkhan
- The Warrior Diet: 1 meal per day or 3 meals per day for 8 weeks. (based on research study Stote et al.)
- Alternate day fasting: 24 hour on and then 24 hours off ( advocated by Longo & Mattson).
Scientific and Research Studies
As of February 2014, numerous scientific studies have promoted Intermittent fasting as an effective method of accelerating weight loss. Based on recent reviews and randomized clinical trials (Harvie et al., 2011 and Varady, 2011), these authors concluded that intermittent fasting is a very effective way of promoting weight loss in people who are overweight.
Therefore, many of these weight programs are being recommended and promoted through books that have been published on weight loss, webpages and blogs.
Concerning the assumption that (intermittent) fasting diets reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease, there’s little research conducted on humans.
Currently, most of the scientific evidence that has been reported comes from animal studies. Although the scientific community is currently focusing more and more on human studies, and they are being used to validate the claims that were found in the results of the animal studies.
Intermittent fasting is now being used for a wide range of different purposes. Some of the more commonly known involves losing weight and eliminating certain illnesses and diseases. When following this kind of weight loss program, people need to be familiar with its principles, the type of approaches currently being used and the scientific studies that have been done.