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Can Intermittent Fasting bring improvement in your health?

Everyone dreams of having that perfect curves or toned muscular body, but to achieve that desired body may not be an easy task!

Have you ever realised how crucial your diet is in not only achieving your desired body type but also in determining a healthy lifestyle?

If not yet, then start considering and giving an equal amount of attention to your diet plan in the same way you motivate yourself for hitting the gym. No doubt, there are thousands of fashionable diets available but then how to determine which one to follow?

Nowadays, there are so many online guidance or tips available, giving information about trying different kinds of diets. But have you ever thought about that blindly following them could be misleading?

Though from earlier, the idea of calorie count or calorie deficient diet has been trending. But it becomes a tedious task to keep a calorie check on every meal in a prolonged period.

TIME-BASED EATING HABIT:

In recent times, intermittent fasting (IF) is becoming an appealing option which is quite prevalent in our modern lifestyle.

It is a time-bound eating habit, in which you need to extend the time limit of eating between your meals. In short, it mainly extends the time limit in which you would not eat, here the sole purpose here is to delay the onset of eating, thereby increasing your fasting period.

Intermittent fasting includes a definite period of eating pattern within the schedule of 24 hours and do remember one thing that while you are fasting, you are allowed to have black coffee, tea, water and juice etc.

a) Time restrained — You can have your meal starting at 11:00 noon or by 12, and then fasting for 8 hours you can go for your second meal at 7:00 or 8:00 pm and then fast until the next day for 16 hours. This kind of pattern, which could be followed with ease.

b) Alternative day fasting (ADF) — It is another way of doing IF which you do on alternative days. Though considered the appropriate pattern of planning your meals, it is advisable for beginners.

In this form of IF, you fast every other day of the week but can follow your usual diet on non-fasting days. Can be termed as modified fasting where you can have 500–700 calories on your fasting days.

In your meal, you can include all kinds of berries, grilled fish, lean meat, soups and salads with tofu.

c) Fasting in the form of 5:2 — In this form of fasting, you keep a fast on two different days of each week, as it helps to regulate the intake of the amount of nutrients required by the body when fasting.

If you go by the first technique of eating following 16 hours fast, which is way useful and applicable than the other techniques. But the result you get may be the same as if you follow the third strategy of 5:2 fasting.

IS THERE ANY BENEFIT OF DOING IT?

In a nutshell, if we talk about IF the first group of individuals who could benefit from this approach will be patients with diabetes and pre-diabetes (as this lowers HBA1C level).

Then the other targeted individuals who could benefit from these are those with cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and cancer patients. It boosts your immune system, to attain the full benefit of this technique of eating habit, you need to fast for several days;
in other words, you need to fully exhaust the energy reserves (in the form of glycogen) your body takes 24 to 48 hours to get this into this system. But this may seem to be not so realistic in the long run so you can fast for once or twice a year.

IS INTERMITTENT FASTING THAT EFFECTIVE?

Yes, it is all about making your body used to this process of fasting, its referred essentially as the metabolism shift. It is all about switching over from glucose metabolism to ketone metabolism.

When we eat normal three meals a day, which provide our body with a constant source of fuel in the form of glucose, then our body starts using ketone bodies or fatty acids.

“Ketone is considered to monitor the activities of different proteins that influence health and ageing”.

NO NEED TO SKIP BREAKFAST!

Though even in Intermittent fasting, some may prefer to skip breakfast and start their first meal as their lunch; in every case, it isn’t a prerequisite for effective intermittent fasting.

It can rather have negative consequences on insulin intolerance and may increase the blood sugar level.

The calorie consumption is reduced in 24 hours period if people delay their breakfast, but the number of calories burnt through physical activities is also less. So the calorie deficit working on this formula is insufficient.

ROLE IN REDUCING BELLY FAT

It is considered an efficient method of losing those extra kilos and also aids in reducing your harmful abdominal fat which you have been trying to lose from ages.

In this one have fewer meals means less calorie intake, which helps in enhancing hormone function to initiate weight loss in your system.

It takes place by lowering the insulin level and noradrenaline which causes the breakdown of stored fat and facilitates its use as energy.

By adhering to this process of fasting, people lost 7% in inches from their waistline, the abdominal fat, which is hardest to shed and reduces the risk of severe chronic diseases.

Various studies have shown that there is muscle gain with the right amount of diet with intermittent fasting, less muscle loss than in continues high-calorie restriction.

Another relevant aspect is Type 2 Diabetes which is strangely on the rise in recent times, due to modern-day lifestyle, people rely mostly on fast food which is adversely affecting their health condition which many are not even aware.

Whereas, intermittent fasting has shown a positive result in declining the insulin level.

Various research studies have shown that intermittent fasting has helped to reduce oxidative damage to the body, which is one of the factors for ageing and stress-related chronic disease.

Do not have a snack in between meals, especially the evening snack or cut out on junk food. As this may help in reducing insulin level, which uses the energy stored in your fat cells, which in turn will facilitate fat loss, and would further advance the burning of belly fat as well.

MY FINAL TAKE

I have always been curious about knowing the relevance of intermittent fasting, in the starting when you try this out, you may be fatigued or headache but once your body gets used to this pattern of eating, it will get adjusted accordingly.

Though, it has been in various researches that Intermittent fasting, whether done regularly or done according to alternative day approach; brings the same amount of result comparatively.

So, in my view, I feel one should go with a much realistic and sustainable approach. It is better to follow intermittent fasting twice a week with a plant-based diet. Many theories prove that some intermittent fasting is a reasonable and effective way of faster-reducing weight.

RESPONSIBLE EATING is an ideal way of adhering to norms of intermittent fasting, time of eating is what matters, by changing the timing of meal by having it earlier and then going with overnight fasting is a better option which inversely improves your metabolism.

An article published in the New England Journal of medicines claimed that the concept of fasting is nothing new, rather very much embedded in our physiological system from the very beginning.

So, in short, if 8–10 hours of fasting coupled with the adequate, right diet and healthy lifestyle then intermittent fasting, can be considered a logical, realistic mechanism, in bringing efficient changes.

By Jyotsna Dey

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