Intermittent Fasting, better known as IF, is one of the hot topics in the fitness industry today. Before we get down to the nitty gritty of IF, let me clarify one thing IF is NOT A DIET rather a dieting strategy. The famous quote, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”, perfectly fits in this case. Similarly,to meet your fitness goals, the tactics are as important as the diet. That is where IF comes into the picture. The article will make things clear your doubts using WWH (What-Why-How) principle.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Let us examine each word separately first. “Fasting” is a familiar word. I am certain that each one of us have fasted at least once for different reasons but many of us don’t understand the mechanism behind the fasting. Loosely speaking, fasting means refraining from all or some kinds of food/drinks. On the other hand, “Intermittent” stands for something that is discontinuous or irregular. So, on connecting the dots, one learns that IF is a cyclic pattern of feeding and fasting state. Fasting windows and Feeding windows simply tells us when to eat and when not to eat. Remember, IF would never tell you what to eat.
Why to do Intermittent Fasting?
As I said earlier, irrespective of our cultures, religions and genders, we have been doing fasting for one reason or the another. So, this idea of fasting is not something new. The only new add in the Fasting world is to make it more structured using IF. In this section, I will share some of the important benefits that IF provides.
- Aids in Fat loss
One of the major advantages of adding IF to your any fat loss diet is that it will speed up fat loss. During the fasting window, human body keeps blood glucose levels in check. Thus, the body will stay in fat burning mode. The longer the body stays in fat burning mode, the faster body will lose fat mass.
- Reduction in insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is one of the major health problems in present time. The main attribute is to the lifestyle where physical activity has gone down and eating habits have gone worsened. A study was conducted in eight healthy young men by subjecting them to intermittent fasting every second day for 20 h for 15 days. The study concluded that that intermittent fasting increases insulin-mediated glucose uptake rates which is inversely proportional to insulin resistance. Thereby, reducing the resistance levels.
- Immunization against diseases type 2 diabetes
There have been many researches which shows thatIntermittent fastingfacilitates weight loss, therebyaverting the progression of type 2 diabetes and consequently improve cardiovascular risk. Moreover, Extensive evidence suggests that imposing fasting periods upon experimental laboratory animals increases longevity, improves health and reduces disease, including such diverse morbidities with cancer, neurological disorders and disorders of circadian rhythm.
- Improved Metabolism
Intermittent fasting can limit inflammation, improve circulating glucose and lipid levels and reduce blood pressure. Moreover, studies undertaken inhumans have suggested that fuel selection is altered and efficiency of metabolism is improved while oxidative stress is reduced.
- Saves Time
In this busy world, time saved is money earned. With IF, you eat fewer meals than without IF. Naturally, you end up saving time in kitchen. You can utilize this time spending with family, dancing and even reading articles such as this one ;)
How to do Intermittent Fasting?
Before we share the plan with an example, let us talk about the different forms of IF. Some of the known IF approaches are
Best for: Dedicated gym-goers who want to lose body fat and build muscle.
A style of IF where the fasting period is 16 hours and the feeding window is 8 hours. Ideally, the occurrence of meal in the feeding window can be anywhere between 2-3.
Best for: Healthy consumers looking for an extra boost.
Created by Brad Pilon, Eat-Stop-Eat has the philosophy of fasting for 24 hours once or twice per week with no food being consumed in fasting window. However, one can drink calorie-free beverages.
Best for: People who believe in healthier and longer life
The fasting and feeding windows are in days than hours.The strategy is five days of normal eating, with little thought to calorie control. Then, on the other two days, you are on fasting. In the fasting window, calorie intake is reduced drastically to 500 calories 600 calories for women and men respectively.
Best for: People with busy schedules.
Follows the same paradigm as 16/8 but the fasting and feeding windows are 12 hours each.
Though we did talk about few of the IF types, in this section, I will explain one of the types of IF with an example. So, my friend Joey who loves food , has recently put on a lot of weight. He wants to get lose fat mass and gain muscle mass OR get back in shape. Apparently,joey is in entertainment business and has a busy schedule. He has been following a fat-loss diet but the results are slow. So, to expedite the process, he plans to add IF to his present fat-loss diet. He plans to follow 16/8 IF. The good news for him is that sleeping time also falls under fasted state
Article Contributed by - Kanav Puri (Fitness Coach at GetSetGo Fitness, NESTA Certified Food Nutrition consultant, Pursuing Masters @ University of Utah - USA )
Research Article References