Intermittent fasting 101 (IF) is one of the world’s most popular health and fitness fads right now. It is being used to help people lose weight, improve their health, and simplify their lives.
Many studies demonstrate that it has profound impacts on your body and brain, and it may even help you live longer.
Intermittent Fasting 101
This is the greatest introduction to intermittent fasting for beginners.
What Is the Definition of Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a type of eating pattern that alternates between fasting and eating intervals.
It does not prescribe which things to consume, but rather when to eat them.
In this regard, it is more accurately described as an eating pattern rather than a diet in the traditional sense. Common intermittent fasting regimens include daily 16-hour fasts or twice-weekly 24-hour fasts.
Fasting has been practised throughout human history. Ancient hunter-gatherers did not have supermarkets, refrigerators, or food accessible all year. Sometimes they couldn’t locate anything to eat.
As a result, humans developed to be able to go for long periods of time without eating.
In reality, fasting from time to time is more natural than eating 3–4 (or more) meals every day.
Fasting is also practised for religious or spiritual purposes in Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism.
Methods of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting may be done in a variety of methods, all of which entail dividing the day or week into eating and fasting times.
You eat extremely little or nothing at all during the fasting times.
The following are the most widely used methods:
The Leangains technique, often known as the 16/8 approach, entails missing breakfast and limiting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. You then fast for 16 hours in between.
Eat-Stop-Eat: This entails fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week, such as not eating from dinner one day to supper the following.
The 5:2 diet entails: This strategy involves consuming 500–600 calories on two nonconsecutive days of the week while eating regularly on the other five.
All of these approaches should result in weight reduction by limiting your calorie intake, as long as you don’t compensate by eating considerably more during the eating intervals.
Many individuals believe that the 16/8 technique is the simplest, most sustainable, and easiest to follow. It’s also the most well-known.
Intermittent fasting may be done in a variety of ways. They all divide the day or week into eating and fasting intervals.
What It Does to Your Cells and Hormones
Several processes happen in your body on the cellular and molecular levels while you fast.
Your body, for example, alters hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. Your cells also undertake critical repair processes and alter gene expression.
Here are some of the physiological changes that occur when you fast:
Human Growth Hormone (HGH): Growth hormone levels increase, reaching up to 5-fold. This offers advantages for both fat loss and muscle building.
Insulin: Insulin sensitivity improves, and insulin levels fall rapidly. Lower insulin levels increase the accessibility of stored body fat.
Cellular repair: When you fast, your cells begin to repair themselves. This includes autophagy, in which cells breakdown and eliminate old and defective proteins that accumulate within cells.
Gene expression: There are changes in the function of genes associated with lifespan and disease resistance.
The health advantages of intermittent fasting are due to changes in hormone levels, cell function, and gene expression.
A Very Powerful Weight Loss Tool
The most common reason for people to try intermittent fasting is to lose weight.
Intermittent fasting, by forcing you to consume fewer meals, can result in a natural reduction in calorie consumption.
Furthermore, intermittent fasting alters hormone levels, which aids in weight reduction.
It promotes the release of the fat-burning hormone norepinephrine in addition to reducing insulin and raising growth hormone levels (noradrenaline). Because of these hormonal changes, fasting for a short period of time may raise your metabolic rate by 3.6–14 percent.
Intermittent fasting induces weight reduction by modifying both sides of the calorie equation by assisting you to consume less calories and burn more calories.
According to research, intermittent fasting can be a very effective weight loss method.
According to a 2014 review research, this eating pattern can result in 3–8 percent weight reduction over 3–24 weeks, which is a considerable amount when compared to most weight loss trials.
The same study found that patients dropped 4–7 percent of their waist circumference, indicating a considerable decrease of dangerous belly fat that builds up around your organs and causes sickness (1).
Another study found that intermittent fasting results in less muscle loss than the more traditional strategy of continuous calorie restriction.
Keep in mind, however, that the fundamental reason for its success is that intermittent fasting allows you to consume less calories overall. If you binge and overeat throughout your eating intervals, you may not lose any weight.