Not so long ago, nutrition experts advised never skipping a major meal. However, these days views have changed and intermittent fasting (IF) – an approach to food timings that involve fasts – anywhere from 14 to 48 hours has become the talk of the town. As a field of research, IF has caught up rapidly among experts and commoners alike in the United States.
Lots of research has been carried out on determining the benefits of intermittent fasting including an experiment on fat white rats. Studies conducted on rats proved that they not only lost substantial weight but their blood sugar, pressure, and cholesterol levels also improved to a great extent.
Similarly, studies have also proved that intermittent fasting benefits humans considerably. While fasting has been practised traditionally across various cultures (Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, and even Vedic cultures) and continues to be so, in the western world, it started gaining popularity in recent times in the form of intermittent fasting diet.
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What Is Intermittent Fasting?
To put in simple words, an intermittent fasting diet plan refers to a situation where one eats only after a lapse of at least 14 hours. Say, if you have dinner at 8 pm the next meal you have only at 10 am or 12 pm the following day. With each passing year, more and more Americans, even the younger generation are adapting an intermittent fasting dietary lifestyle.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Diet Work?
Experts opine that while there are various ways to follow an intermittent fasting diet, needless to say, that the body functions in a particular when one fasts for long hours. After hours without food when the sugar stored in the body gets exhausted, it starts burning fat. This process is aptly termed at metabolic switching. In intermittent fasting, calories are burnt in the form of fat as long hauls between meals use up the body’s sugar levels.
Popular Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting
If you are thinking as to how to do intermittent fasting, well then there are roughly 6 popular ways to ensure you follow a proper intermittent fasting diet. Here’s a look at the 6 processes.
The 16/8 is the most common methods to do intermittent fasting and involves going without meals for at least 14-16 hours daily and restricting the daily eating window to 8-10 hours.
Popularized by British journalist Michael Mosley, the 5:2 diet comprises normal meal consumption for 5 days of the week while limiting the calorie intake anywhere between 500 to 600 calories.
This method involves fasting one or twice a week. By fasting from dinner one to dinner the next day. Hence it involves a complete 24 hours fast.
Alternate Day Fasting
As the name suggests, one opts for fasting every other day. There are certain versions of this method where some even consume around 500 calories on the days they eat.
The Warrior Diet
The warrior diet method in the intermittent fasting diet process involves consuming small amounts of fruits and certain raw vegetables throughout the day followed by a proper meal at dinner time.
Spontaneous Meal Skipping
In this case, one doesn’t need to follow any kind of strict structured diet regime. What you can do is simply skip a meal when you do not feel hungry at all or maybe you are too busy to cook and eat.
Some of the foods that can be included in an intermittent fasting diet plan are
- Fruits and vegetables (preferably fresh)
- Whole grains like brown rice, barley, oats
- Lean protein like lentils and tofu
- Healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting Diet
Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting include:
- Weight loss
- Cancer prevention
- Healthy heart
- Insulin resistance
- Boosts brain health
- Aids in anti-ageing
The Last Words
On a final note, it can be said that it’s a myth that we need to eat every few hours unless we lose muscles or end up hitting the starvation mode. Our bodies are well-equipped to go without solid food for extended periods of time, let alone missing one or two meals occasionally.