Intermittent fasting is hot in the world of diet trends at the moment and anything that doesn’t involve overspending on banting cookbooks and paleo food plans already has our attention.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them and how long you should not eat for.
Methods to go by:
•The 16/8 method: This method is probably the easiest one to do (and the most common). It basically involves simply skipping breakfast. You fast for 16 hours of the day and eat during the other 8. involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between. You can select which hours will suit your lifestyle best. Most people do 12pm until 8pm so you don’t have to be that person ruining everyone’s dinner plans for your new diet.
•Eat-Stop-Eat: (This one is not for the faint-hearted) This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
•The 5:2 diet: With this method, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
Effects on your body:
- Human Growth Hormone: The levels of growth hormone skyrocket. This has benefits for fat loss and muscle gain as well as others. This change in hormones can also increase your metabolic rate, by up to 14%.
- Cellular repair: When fasting, your cells initiate cellular repair processes. This is where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells.
- Insulin resistance: Intermittent fasting can reduce insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar by 3–6% and fasting insulin levels by 20–31%, which should protect against type 2 diabetes. Lower insulin levels also make stored body fat more accessible to burn.
- Inflammation: Some studies show reductions in markers of inflammation, a key driver of many chronic diseases and joint pain.
Celebrities who swear by Intermittent fasting:
- Jennifer Lopez
- Miranda Kerr
- Hugh Jackman
- Nicole Kidman
- Beyonce (Enough to convince us to try this practice)
- Kourtney Kardashian
- Selena Gomez
Things to be aware of:
- Intermittent fasting is not necessarily for everyone.
- If you’re underweight or have a history of eating disorders, you should not fast without consulting with a health professional first as in this case, it can be harmful to your health.
- If you have issues with fertility and/or are trying to conceive, consider holding off on intermittent fasting for now. This eating pattern is likely also a bad idea if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
- A study showed that it improved insulin sensitivity in men, but worsened blood sugar control in women. Therefore they should follow separate guidelines, like easing into the practice and stopping immediately if they have any problems like the absence of menstruation.
Happy fasting and good luck!