Intermittent fasting (IF) is a method of eating that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. There are a few ways to do intermittent fasting. These include the 5:2 diet, the “eat-stop-eat” method (24-hour fast), alternate-day fasting, the warrior diet, and spontaneous meal skipping. Other methods like 14:10 and 16:8 involve practicing IF daily.
Daily IF is an eating pattern where you restrict foods and sweetened beverages for uninterrupted periods every day and then eat only during the remaining hours.
By helping you eat fewer meals IF can lead to an automatic reduction in calorie consumption. The theory behind intermittent fasting is that depriving yourself of calories for extended periods of time forces the body to exhaust its glucose stores and start burning fat for energy. This encourages weight loss. Additionally, intermittent fasting changes hormone levels to facilitate weight loss. For example, your body increases growth hormone secretion that can induce and accelerate metabolism. The release of the fat-burning hormone called norepinephrine (noradrenaline) is also increased.
So, IF aids weight loss in two ways: limits calorie intake and boosts metabolism.
Weight loss is the most common reason for people to try IF. However, the effect of IF is not only limited to weight loss. IF might also improve your overall health. A break from eating and digestion gives the body a chance to heal and repair itself. When you fast, changes happen in your body on the cellular and molecular level. Your cells initiate important repair processes and change the expression of genes. Improved blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels, reduced inflammation, enhanced brain function, and reduced insulin resistance are among the health benefits associated with IF.
Intermittent fasting can be a sustainable, safe, and easy-to-follow way to lose weight and improve your health when practiced together with a nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle.