Intermittent Fasting: Is It For You?
There’s a lot to learn before you jump on this diet train
Intermittent fasting is getting a lot of attention now, in part because of several viral videos of buff men and women eating a day’s worth of calories in one sitting. The most intriguing part? They mostly consume junk.
What is intermittent fasting?
Some argue that intermittent fasting is not a diet craze at all. Instead, it’s a pattern of eating. The practice doesn’t require you to change what you eat at all—it’s all about when you eat. Consuming calories at certain periods of time allow you to make the most out of your meals.
Are there variations?
There are generally three different kinds of intermittent fasting: Alternate day, Whole day and Time Restricted. As the name implies, alternate day fasting involves a 24-hour fasting period followed by 24 hours of non-fasting. It’s a little extreme, but people swear by it.
The other is whole day fasting, where the days are split into fasting and non-fasting. For example, a person will consume minimal calories (maybe 500) for an entire day, followed by days of regular food consumption.
The most commonly used, however, is time restricted fasting. This is when windows of the day are used for eating, while the rest of the time is for fasting. Some will fast for a continued 16 hours, while they consume a certain amount of calories in the remaining 8 hours of the day. The key is to stick to the schedule every day.
What are the benefits?
The best thing about intermittent fasting is that there’s no need to cut away any calories, or even think about what you’re eating – as long as you’re still conscious about how much you’re taking in. You can consume the same amount of food as you normally do; you just need to be strict about the time. You can still have your pizza, pasta, ice cream or whatever tickles your fancy.
Of course, there’s no point if there are no results. Many claim that intermittent fasting allows them to be lean without sacrificing any muscle mass. There’s a science behind it too and it involves your fed state (three to give hours after eating) and your fasted state (eight to twelve hours after eating).
During your fed state, it’s harder to burn fat because you’re still digesting and absorbing your meal. Conversely, it’s easier to burn the bad fat during your fasted state because your insulin levels are low. Without intermittent fasting, you will hardly get to that fasted state that allows you to burn your fat more efficiently.
Is it for you?
It’s a simple concept, but intermittent fasting is not for everyone. It depends on your lifestyle and your support system. Going on a fast and non-fast binge every day is not ideal for those who have children or those who need to be awake and energetic for most of the day. On the other hand, it would work well for those with flexible work hours and are already versed in diet and exercise.
Before you start any exercise or diet routine, make sure to consult with an expert. Each body is different, so make sure to be informed about yours.