Intermittent fasting (IF) is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends. People are using it to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyles.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting, is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It can take many different forms but it always involves periods of time where you are taking in very little food, at regular intervals. Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, twice per week.
Intermittent Fasting Methods
There are several different ways of doing intermittent fasting — all of which involve splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods. During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all.
These are the most popular methods:
- The 16/8 method: 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.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: 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 methods, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
How It Affects Your Cells and Hormones
When you fast, several things happen in your body on the cellular and molecular level. For example, your body adjusts hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. Your cells also initiate important repair processes and change the expression of genes.
Here are some changes that occur in your body when you fast:
- Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
- Insulin: Insulin sensitivity improves and levels of insulin drop dramatically. Lower insulin levels make stored body fat more accessible.
- Cellular repair: When fasted, your cells initiate cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells.
- Gene expression: There are changes in the function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease.
These changes in hormone levels, cell function and gene expression are responsible for the health benefits of intermittent fasting.
What’s happening in your body while you are fasting?
There are a couple of things to factor in: “I accept that the advantages are fundamentally because of circadian rhythms,” says Sears. “There are systems in your body that will in general line up with day and night—they are advanced to do certain activities at specific occasions.” That incorporates the body’s creation of melatonin, which is discharged later in the day to assist you with feeling sluggish.
Insulin discharge is extremely effective in the first part of the day and less productive later in the day,” says Sears. “On the off chance that you eat around evening time, when your insulin doesn’t function, you end up with expanded times of high insulin and glucose levels. This can drive insulin opposition.” The 16-hour fasting window frequently begins at night.
In any case, that is not all. “At the point when you abstain from taking in calories for a significant lot of hours or even simply decrease the calories you’re eating for a couple of days seven days, it takes a portion of the heap off your liver,” says McAllister. “Your liver procedures all that you expend, and without a break, it can get overpowered. At the point when that occurs, it expands chemicals that can prompt weight increase, elevated cholesterol, and other negative changes in your body.” Let your liver have the opportunity to chill and your body receives the benefits
Inquisitive to give it a shot? Ensure your counsel with an enlisted dietitian and your primary care physician before starting any eating routine arrangement. You’ll additionally need to think about which style of discontinuous fasting is directly for you.
Intermittent fasting simply one of many lifestyle strategies that can improve your health. Eating real food, exercising and taking care of your sleep are still the most important factors to focus on.