Benjamin Franklin once said, “The best of all medicines is resting and fasting.” The world is moving towards habits that are pro-health. As a result, ‘Intermittent Fasting’ is becoming a trending practice these days. This is because it is said to be effective for weight loss, controlling blood pressure, blood sugar & more.
Intermittent fasting is an eating schedule that continues in regular fashion between the fasting and eating phases. There are no direct dos’ & don’ts in terms of food to be consumed attached to this kind of fasting. However when combined with specific diets like Keto etc. the food rules are fixed. It can be a 16 hr. to 24 hr. fasting.
History of Intermittent Fasting:
Fasting per se finds its mention in almost all ancient religious scriptures. The fasting mentioned in various religions also follows a circadian time frame. However, it varies in term of the days or months. But the basic time frame still is very close to intermittent kind of fasting. In most, religion-related fasts, the abstinence usually commences at the dawn and ends at dusk again indicating a similar time gap.
Intermittent fasting gained modern-day popularity after the broadcast of Dr Michael Mosley’s TV documentary ‘Eat Fast, Live Longer’ in 2012. After which, ‘The 5:2 Diet’ a book by journalist Kate Harrison’s based on her first-hand experiences and Dr Jason Fung’s 2016 bestseller ‘The Obesity Code’ reiterated this kind of fasting.
How Intermittent Fasting Works:
Our body on the cellular level stores the broken carbohydrates into sugar. Fat cells collect this. The storage process requires Insulin. Snacking between the meals triggers Insulin production. During fasting, on the contrary, fat cells release the much-needed sugar hence the insulin level goes down.
As per Metabolic Expert, Dr Deborah Wexler (Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School), the meals restricted to an 8-10 hour cycle of the daytime are effective. But she also recommends one to take an eating plan which is sustainable according to an individual situation. So people who are on medications for diabetes, or are anorexic, suffer from bulimia or are pregnant/breastfeeding should not attempt intermittent fasting without a doctor’s consent. (Ref. harvard.edu)
Most Popular Intermittent Fasting Methods:
- The 16/8 method: This is the most popular method for doing Intermittent Fasting. In this method, breakfast has to be skipped. The eating period is restricted to 8 hours, eg. 12-8 P.M. or 1–9 P.M., In this case, the fasting is of 16 hours on a daily basis.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice every week.
- The 5:2 Diet: In this diet, for two alternate days, one has to eat in a limited amount. The calorie intake should not go beyond 500–600 calories in these days. While for the rest 5 days normal diet needs to be followed.
Some Better Eating Tips:
- Avoid sugar & refined flour of all kinds.
- Be active during the fasting period.
- Avoid late-night eating.
- Be kind to yourself and select an easy to do fasting regimen.
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