Intermittent fasting is a dietary alternative that has become very popular among some women; especially, after several media announced that some celebrities followed this method to stay in shape. On the other hand, there is some research found that, effectively, this method helps lose weight and improve health.
But this method should not be confused with a diet, since it usually looks more like a food program. Here, there is no question of eating, which if it happens in a day, but rather you have to focus on when you eat.
There are several methods in intermittent fasting, although the best known are:
- Method 16/8 or better known as Leangains. Basically, you should eat for 8 hours and fast for 16 hours. In this fasting period, the sleep period is included adding a few more hours. This means, that breakfast can be skipped, lunch being the first meal; finishing eating eight hours later.
- Diet 5: 2: this time, you should reduce your caloric intake to a maximum of 500 or 600 calories for two days. The other five days, you can eat whatever you want. These days of fasting and eating, can be exchanged to suit the person.
- Eat, stop, eat: finally, this modality alternates the days of eating with the fasting days. For 24 hours you eat what you want, the next day you take a break, in which only drinks without calories will be consumed.
Frequently asked questions about intermittent fasting
It is normal, that many people are curious about this peculiar method. So, there are certain aspects to know before getting going with this type of food. Although it is always important to have the help of an expert to guide these steps properly.
Fasting and starvation is the same?
The answer is very simple. No, they are not the same. Fasting is based on control; something that does not exist during starvation. This is an involuntary deprivation of food. On the other hand, in the fast, food intake is stopped voluntarily; whether for religious reasons, health, among others.
Fasting can last as long as you want or need; from a few hours, to a few weeks. Also, at any time, you can resume eating again and go back to fasting. On the other hand, it does not have a fixed duration, since basically it is about not eating. That is, when you do not eat between meals, it is also a form of fasting.
This is not a process alien to the life of any person. It has been cataloged as one of the oldest and most effective dietary treatments when it comes to losing weight. Although many have forgotten what it is for.
What are its benefits?
The most obvious benefit of intermittent fasting is that it allows you to lose weight. Although also, there are others that have been known for many years. When fasting, the body goes through a process of “cleansing” or “detoxification“. This helps eliminate toxins from the body, to keep it healthy; even, delaying aging.
This also implies that the inflammation of the body is reduced and the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are improved. At the neuronal level, it usually has a positive effect, helping to improve plasticity. In terms of weight loss, it helps to keep lean fat in the body, while losing fat.
On the other hand, fasting is much easier to perform than a conventional diet. Fasting is easy and does not involve meditating on the menu or investing money in expensive foods. You just have to control the calories consumed during the periods of intake. Also, by fasting, you avoid suffering from the rebound effects. Of course, when you are in the periods of intake, you should try to consume foods that help control anxiety, such as nuts or take a supplement.
How can you start with intermittent fasting for the first time?
Fasting can be a difficult process for a person who is used to eating between five and four meals a day. Everything will depend on the hormonal state of the organism and the type of program that is implemented.
So, first, you should try to reduce the number of meals consumed to three; which will be: breakfast, lunch and dinner. When the body manages to adapt to this new rhythm, the next thing is to reduce the calories consumed at breakfast; until it reaches the point where you do not need breakfast.
From this point, it will be much easier to perform any kind of fasting. But beware, this applies for a fast of type 16/8. With the passage of time, you could try to perform a 24-hour fast. But always with the help of a professional.
What happens with the muscles when fasting?
Basically, by fasting, the body will first degrade glycogen to glucose so that it can be used as energy. Then, the breakdown of fats will be increased to provide more energy. Even, the excess of amino acids, contained in proteins, will be burned for the same purpose. But in no time, it will use the muscles to obtain energy.
Everything depends on the different metabolisms that exist in each person. Intermittent fasting can help you lose weight, if that is one of the goals you want to achieve. Simply consume a low number of calories, then disappear with the exercise and this method.
But if you want to gain muscle mass, you must take into account the metabolic functioning. If it is slow, it will be enough to raise the caloric consumption a little. This should be changed with strength exercises to get the muscle to grow properly.
Who should not perform this practice?
People who are below their ideal weight, should not perform this practice. This can be known through a measurement of Body Mass Index. On the other hand, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is advisable to stop the practice if you already practiced or not if you want to lose weight. Since the baby, needs those nutrients to develop properly.
On the other hand, if you have type 1 or 2 diabetes, take some type of prescription drug or suffer from high uric acid, it is best to perform intermittent fasting under strict medical supervision to avoid complications.
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