Fasting has been practiced all over the world since primeval times. Either it’s a ritual or it’s out of necessity. Thus, it is not something that humans are completely unaware of. Dieting is also a form of fasting, being practiced lately to gain a perfect figure. Owning a flawless and slim body has been a major concern for most people. Be it celebs, sportspersons, or even common people like us, everyone wants to look better. Hence, individuals have been ensuing and experts have been signifying several methods and procedures to lose weight. Amongst them all, intermittent fasting, which has recently come back into trend is one of the most effortless and manageable ways to lose weight. It was discovered around 1945 and has hit the headlines again when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey claimed to eat only one meal in a day. Conferring to the reports, IF is 2019’s most prevalent diet trend.
The idea expressed by intermittent fasting is a cyclic pattern to take long gaps between the eating hours instead of skipping meals. This time-based fasting is a weight-loss tool that encompasses scheduling meals at different intervals to procure the most out of them. It does not change the diet plan but rather, the period of consumption. Since it has reemerged astoundingly in the past few years, more than a few methods of IF have appeared. Some of them are as follows-
- The 16/8 method (or Leangains Protocol)– In this method, there are 14-16 hours of fasting and 6-8 hours of eating window regularly. For women 14-15 hours of fasting is recommended. Preferably, 2-3 healthy meals can be consumed during the eating window. It is as simple as discontinuing to eat after 8 pm and skipping breakfast. Beverages like coffee and water can be consumed during the fasting hours to sidestep starvation.
- The 5:2 diet (or Fast Diet)– This method involves consuming 500-600 calories for two days a week whereas eating normally on the other days. For women, 500 calories and for men, 600 calories are suggested. For example, eating two small meals of 250-300 calories each on Thursday and Sunday and eating habitually on the others.
- Alternate-Day Fasting (Fast Every Other Day)– In this type of fasting method, it is suggested to ingest a few hundred calories on alternate days. For some, this may seem extreme. Hence, it is not recommended for beginners as it can lead to extreme and perhaps unbearable hunger for a long time.
- The Warrior Diet (Eat heavily at night and fast during the day) – It is one of the initial IF methods which involves eating lightly during the day and having a proper meal at night. Raw vegetables and fruits can be taken during the day time while a huge meal can be consumed at night.
- Eat Stop Eat– This method is followed twice a week, wherein eating has to be withdrawn for twenty-four hours. For instance, if you have finished the meal at 7 pm on Sunday then you can recommence eating at 7 pm on Monday. Beverages like coffee, water, juices, milk can be consumed during the fasting period.
Other than weight loss, Intermittent Fasting has plentiful benefits like reduced risk of cancer, lowering of blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammation levels. It helps in increasing metabolism, muscle growth, and human growth hormone drastically. Despite numerous benefits, intermittent fasting does not work out for everyone. The quality of healthy food is something that should be well-defined. And junk food should be sternly prevented to resist weight gain.
IF works according to a methodology of fed and fasted state. In the fed state, it absorbs and digests the food whereas in the fasted state it burns the remote fat in the body which consequently leads to weight loss. It is not a diet but rather, forced fasting and hence it is used as a weight-loss tool.