What is the intermittent fasting diet? Intermittent fasting is one of many popular diets in the world at the moment. Many people are using it to achieve their goals, whether they want to lose weight, improve health, or make their lives simpler. Intermittent fasting has a lot of benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity and reducing risk factors for diabetes.
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What is the Intermittent Fasting Diet – origin?
Intermittent fasting is eating a certain way that alternates between periods of eating and fasting. The difference from other diets is that it doesn’t restrict what you eat, rather when you eat. In light of that, it is not a diet per se. It is more a way of eating. There are two most common methods of intermittent fasting. One is fasting 16 hours daily, and the other is fasting for 24 hours weekly. The 16-hour method may be perfect for those who have time constraints.
Fasting isn’t anything new. It is present throughout the history of humankind. For instance, people 10 000 B.C. were hunter-gatherers, and sometimes they weren’t successful in their hunting and finding the food, so they had to fast. Sometimes people fast because of religious reasons as well.
There are different methods you can use on the journey of intermittent fasting. The most popular and known are:
- 16/8 process: considered by many to be the best one, also known as Leangains method, the way to go about it is to skip breakfast and eat only for 8 hours and then 16 hours of fasting
- Eat-stop-eat: you don’t eat anything for 24 hours once or twice a week in this one. The rest of the days, you eat as usual. The reasons for eating-stop-eating are varied, but some benefits that people have reported include increased fat burning and a noticeable boost in energy.
- 5:2 method: on two different days during a week, you should intake only around 600 calories, on any other day you eat normally
All the methods restrict calorie consumption and, in that way, help you lose weight. People who undergo this way of dieting seem to like the 16/8 process the most because of its sustainability and easiness. This one is the most beginner-friendly because it is understandably hard for someone to just start on this journey without food for 24 hours.
Cells and Molecules
When you fast, many things change in your body, cells, molecules, and hormones. Hormones get adjusted, so body fat is more. Your body releases certain hormones like glucagon that tell the brain there’s no food around, and so decreases hunger. Growth hormone gets increased even up to five times. Insulin sensitivity gets better, and insulin levels drop. There are changes on a cellular level also since cells start their repair processes. Gene functions change and become beneficial regarding longevity and disease protection.
Fasting can increase your metabolism up to 14%. You eat less and burn more calories, resulting in losing belly fat up to 7% in 3-24 weeks. Powerful, isn’t it? Oh, by the way, you lose less muscle tissue than with other diets. Keep in mind that you will not lose any fat if you start overeating during the eating window. It could be the opposite. By now, you are beginning to realize what is the intermittent fasting diet. Remember that best results are achieved with a combination of good exercise, preferably weights training and exercise machines. Don’t forget to include cardio training also.
Who Is It For?
The question here isn’t only what is the intermittent fasting diet but also who can use it. Well, this kind of eating certainly isn’t for everyone, especially if you had some eating problem in the past. There is a study that showed improved insulin sensitivity in men but worse blood sugar control in women. There are also some reports of women whose period stopped on intermittent fasting. Likewise, pregnant or breastfeeding women should not practice this way of eating.
On the other hand, health benefits are great; heart health is improved, it is also beneficial for brain health, fighting cancer and inflammation, and so on. Excessive food consumption is not healthy and intermittent fasting is a good way to find a balance in that.
What is Allowed and What Not?
Water, tea, and other non-caloric drinks are fine. Coffee is also something you can enjoy but without sugar and a moderate amount of milk. Coffee can suppress hunger. Skipping breakfast is OK as long as you eat healthy food for the rest of the day. Supplements are allowed, but you should know which ones work better when consumed with food and adjust accordingly. Lifting weights and workout on exercise machines is desirable because it ensures you will not lose your muscles. Hence, you can even build your body.
Is It for You?
You may think of it as something new, but you have probably tried it before without even realizing it. If you are the one who likes to sleep late in the morning, chances are you have already been fasting for 16 hours. Others can’t eat breakfast, so they have probably tried it too. There are many benefits to fasting besides fat loss like inflammation, heart health, cancer, brain health, and anti-aging. The best start would be the 16/8 method and then progressing to Eat-stop-eat or 5:2 approach.
Remember, there is nothing strict about this. Experiment and try out what suits you the best. Now you have an answer to the question, what is the intermittent fasting diet? Do you think that this kind of lifestyle would be the right one for you? Could you benefit from it regardless your goal is weight loss or health improvement? Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below.