Intermittent Fasting Methods And Their Health Benefits
Amy Shah, MD, a double board-certified medical doctor and wellness expert specializing in food allergies, hormones, and gut health, said that intermittent fasting is similar to exercise in that there are so many different forms and intensities. Here are the most common methods of intermittent fasting and their health benefits:
/8you’re Not Drinking Enough Water
When you’re on an intermittent fasting diet, there is no restriction on staying hydrated. Drinking water is the key factor that keeps your energy levels high when you’re fasting. If you do not drink enough water, you may not be able to keep up with the diet plan. It may lead to fatigue, cramps, headache and more.
Who Should Avoid Intermittent Fasting
While intermittent fasting is an effective approach to losing weight, it may not be suitable for everyone. Children, people with chronic illnesses, breastfeeding and pregnant women should avoid it. People with diabetes should also avoid it as it may lead to an abnormal drop in their blood sugar levels. In some cases, it may also lead to abnormal menstrual cycles or a decrease in fertility. If you are underweight or have eating disorders, you should avoid intermittent fasting.
Why Does My Blood Sugar Go Up During Fasting
While this does not happen with everyone, it can occur due to hormonal changes that occur during intermittent fasting. Your body is producing sugar in order to provide energy for your system. This is a variation of the dawn phenomenon and in general is not a concern as long as blood sugars are not elevated the rest of the day.45
Does Intermittent Fasting Shed Those Kilos Here Are 7 Things You Should Know
After drinking bubble tea over a month, Talking Point host Steven Chia decided to put intermittent fasting to the test. And he got some tips about this weight-loss regimen from a few experts along the way.
To lose the weight he gained previously, Steven Chia went on a two-month intermittent fast.
SINGAPORE: In the past two years, intermittent fasting has become one of the top weight loss trends worldwide.
In most intermittent fasting regimens, you avoid food for a certain number of hours of the day and eat normally within a specified time.
So can it help return you to your ideal weight and body mass index ?
That is what Talking Point host Steven Chia wanted to see after he gained about two kilogrammes from drinking bubble tea over a month, for a recent investigation into the effects of bubble tea.
Also Check: What Is Intermittent Fasting 20 4
Tips For Intermittent Fasting When You Have Diabetes
According to Diabetes UK, there are some general tips that are important to follow if you have diabetes and you plan to start an intermittent fasting diet. These include:
The safety of fasting for those with type 1 diabetes has not been fully established. You should never fast if you have type 1 diabetes without first consulting with your healthcare provider.
What Intermittent Fasting Is Not
It can be easier to understand intermittent fasting but talking about what it is not.
- It does not restrict water intake: Water, as well as beverages that do not have calories such as calorie-free soda and water drinks, tea, and coffee are generally allowed.
- It does not define what foods should be eaten or not eaten.
- It does not restrict intake of medications or supplements.
- It does not define or restrict the number of calories eaten while not fasting.
Also Check: Do You Drink During Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting And Women
While intermittent fasting seems to benefit males, it can have a negative effect on hormones and metabolism in some females.
Turns out, the hormones regulating key functionslike ovulation, metabolism, and even moodare incredibly sensitive to your energy intake.
In fact, changing how muchand even whenyou eat can mess with reproductive hormones. This can lead to a far-reaching ripple effect, causing all sorts of health issues.
Fasting Increases Immune Regulation
The practice of fasting allows the body to put more energy and focus into the process of effective immune regulation. Fasting while drinking water and cleansing beverages flushes out the digestive system and reduces the number of natural microorganisms in the gut. The microorganism count is typically regulated by the immune system. So this allows the immune system to divert energy to other more important areas.
Intermittent fasting is a terrific regulator of the immune system as it controls the amount of inflammatory cytokines that are released in the body. Two major cytokines Interleukin-6 and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha promote an inflammatory response in the body. Studies have shown that fasting reduces the release of these inflammatory mediators . The immune system modulation that intermittent fasting provides may also be helpful if you have moderate to severe allergies .
Don’t Miss: How To Do Intermittent Fasting For Beginners
So Is Intermittent Fasting As Good As It Sounds
I was very curious about this, so I asked the opinion of metabolic expert Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Here is what she told me. “There is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period of the daytime, is effective,” she confirmed, though generally she recommends that people “use an eating approach that works for them and is sustainable to them.”
So, heres the deal. There is some good scientific evidence suggesting that circadian rhythm fasting, when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be a particularly effective approach to weight loss, especially for people at risk for diabetes.
Knowing Blood Sugar Levels
If you have diabetes, the frequency of testing your blood glucose level depends on your treatment plan, so follow your doctors advice on the appropriate times for you.
Common times to check are in the morning, before and after meals, before and after exercise, at bedtime, and if you feel sick. Some people may not need to check their blood sugar daily.
What you eat and what you do for physical activity affect your blood sugar. But theres no way to know what effect they have unless you test your blood sugar.
Blood glucose meters are used to test blood sugar levels so you can see if your levels are within the target range. Your doctor will also work with you on your individualized range.
You May Like: How Much Weight Can I Lose From Water Fasting
Frequently Asked Questions Concerns And Complaints
Im a woman. Should I do anything differently?
I havent worked with women on implementing an intermittent fasting schedule, so I cant speak from experience on this one.
That said, I have heard that women may find a wider window of eating to be more favorable when doing daily intermittent fasting. While men will typically fast for 16 hours and then eat for 8 hours, women may find better results by eating for 10 hours and fasting for 14 hours. The best advice I can give anyone, not just women, is to experiment and see what works best for you. Your body will give you signals. Follow what your body responds favorably to.
Also, if youre a female, there is an allfemale page on Facebook that discusses intermittent fasting. Im sure you could find a ton of great answers and support there.
I could never skip breakfast. How do you do it?
I dont. Breakfast foods are my favorite, so I just eat them at 1pm each day.
Also, if you eat a big dinner the night before, I think youll be surprised by how much energy you have in the morning. Most of the worries or concerns that people have about intermittent fasting are due to the fact that they have had it pounded into them by companies that they need to eat breakfast or they need to eat every three hours and so on. The science doesnt support it and neither do my personal experiences.
I thought you were supposed to eat every 3 hours?
Here’s why this was a popular idea for a brief period of time:
Here’s the problem:
Typical Fasting Weight Loss Plans
Fasting regimens vary, but the basic premise usually starts with a strict regimen allowing only water, juice and/or some kind of laxative concoction. Some plans allow a few solid foods, but are still called fasts because they provide so few calories.
Not all fasts are created equal. Some can be perfectly safe, such as medical fasts supervised by a physician. Religious and cultural fasts are typically undertaken as an act of devotion, last from 24-48 hours, and are not intended to promote weight loss.
Fasts lasting a day or two are unlikely to be dangerous for most healthy adults. But high-risk people, the elderly, anyone with a chronic disease, pregnant women, and children are advised against any type of fasting.
The real danger lies in staying on the fast for prolonged periods, anywhere from three days to a month.
Also Check: What Hours Are Best For Intermittent Fasting
Will Intermittent Fasting Break Your Metabolism
One of the biggest objections to the concept of IF is the idea that people should eat frequently to boost their metabolism. But there are a couple problems with that theory.
Problem #1: The metabolism-boosting effects of frequent eating are overrated, especially for losing fat, research suggests.
A number of years ago, some nutrition experts thought frequent meals would help folks boost metabolism through something called the thermic effect of food .
TEF is the energy used to digest, absorb, and utilize the nutrients from your food. The theory was that by eating more often, you were stimulating TEF more often.
Weve since learned, however, that the number of meals doesnt matter. TEF is stimulated equally whether you eat three 600 Calorie meals of six 300 Calorie meals.1,2,3
Problem #2: Theres a difference between fasting and starving.
Check out the definitions below.
- Fasting: Going without food long enough to trigger the body to dip into stored energy.
- Starving: A state of extreme nutrient and energy deprivation that can potentially kill us.
The difference between the two one of the key reasons IF probably wont mess with your metabolism.
Of course, you want to fast long enough to see benefits, but not so long that your body and brain start to think youre in trouble.
Fasting twice a week or every other day? It can work for some peoplebut creates problems for others. .
/8you’re Not Taking It Slow
When people switch to a particular diet, one common mistake they make is jumping right to it and not taking it slow and steady.
With intermittent fasting, people do the same. Given that average human beings are used to eating after every few hours, leaping forward to a 24 hour fasting may not be the best solution. Rather one must start with a small fasting window and then gradually increase the frame.
If you go all in on your first try, you may not remain consistent and may lose track over time.
Also Check: How To Get Electrolytes While Fasting
How Often Should You Do 1: 8 Intermittent Fasting
Unlike other intermittent fasting diets, each day of the 16:8 works independently to the other days. This means that you can do anywhere from one day of intermittent 16:8 fasting to seven days a week, depending on your goals and the advice from your GP.
Evidence differs, however, on whether its healthy to do intermittent fasting all the time for a number of reasons. While one study suggests that fasting helps your vital organs by giving metabolic functions a break, other research suggests the fasting can lead to an increased level of cholesterol and can lead to feelings of nausea, along with causing spells of low-blood sugar and dehydration.
Autophagy To Protect The Body:
Fasting also stimulates the process of autophagy, where the body breaks down old, damaged cells and abnormally developing cells to recycle for energy. The process of autophagy is part of the innate immune system and utilizes pattern recognition receptors to identify viral cell invaders.
Intermittent fasting stimulates autophagy processes which restrict viral infections and the replication of intracellular parasites. This catabolic process helps the body rid itself of intracellar pathogens as well as abnormal cancer cell development. It is also important in protecting the brain and tissue cells from abnormal growths, toxicity and chronic inflammation .
You May Like: How Much Is The Do Fasting App
Why Might Changing Timing Help
But why does simply changing the timing of our meals to allow for fasting make a difference in our body? An in-depth review of the science of IF recently published in New England Journal of Medicine sheds some light. Fasting is evolutionarily embedded within our physiology, triggering several essential cellular functions. Flipping the switch from a fed to fasting state does more than help us burn calories and lose weight. The researchers combed through dozens of animal and human studies to explain how simple fasting improves metabolism, lowering blood sugar lessens inflammation, which improves a range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and even helps clear out toxins and damaged cells, which lowers risk for cancer and enhances brain function. The article is deep, but worth a read!
Dangers Of Fasting For Weight Loss
When you dramatically reduce your calorie intake, you will lose weight. But it can also cause all kinds of health problems, including muscle loss. Further, when you start fasting, your body goes into conservation mode, burning calories more slowly.
Keep in mind that the initial weight lost on a fast is primarily fluid or “water weight,” not fat. And when you go back to eating, any lost weight usually gets a return ticket back. Not only do most people regain weight lost on a fast, they tend to add a few extra pounds because a slower metabolism makes it easier to gain weight. Worse, the weight that is regained is likely to be all fat — lost muscle has to be added back at the gym.
Side effects of fasting include dizziness, headaches, low blood sugar, muscle aches, weakness, and fatigue. Prolonged fasting can lead to anemia, a weakened immune system, liver and kidney problems, and irregular heartbeat. Fasting can also result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies, muscle breakdown, and diarrhea. When you drink laxative concoctions during a fast, there is an increased risk of fluid imbalance and dehydration.
The risks get more complicated and severe the longer you stay on a fast, or if you repeatedly go on fasts.
Recommended Reading: How Fast Can You Lose Weight With Fasting
How Does The 1: 8 Diet Work
The 16:8 diet works on an hourly basis. So each day you can eat within an 8 hour time frame and fast for the remaining 16 hours. The best part? You dont have to restrict your calories when eating during the 8 hour window. As long as you eat healthily in your 8 hour time frame, youll see the weight drop off.
Experts say that the 16.8 diet restricted schedule gives our bodies the chance to process the nutrients stored in foods and burns away calories. Plus, you wont go hungry like you do on those two fasting days on the 5:2 either.
As Tom Jenane, nutrition and fitness expert explains, The 16:8 diet is a brilliant form of intermittent fasting that has proven results in a number of cases.
Jennifer Aniston is a famous fan of intermittent fasting.
As well as Jennifer Aniston, other Hollywood names who have seen success after following the 16:8 diet include Hugh Jackman, who reportedly used the diet to get in shape for his Wolverine films and actress Jennifer Love Hewitt.
It May Increase Human Growth Hormone
Intermittent fasting can encourage fat burn and protect lean muscle in an alternative wayby raising your levels of human growth hormone .
Levels start to decline in our twenties or thirties, leading to dry skin, thinning hair, increased belly fat and wrinkles, says Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., a naturopathic doctor and author of Dr. Kellyanns Bone Broth Diet. Research shows that HGH may help decrease body fat and improve lean muscle mass.
She points to 2011 research from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, which found that HGH increased an average of 1,300% in women and nearly 2,000% in men during a 24-hour fastRoutine periodic fasting is good for your health, and your heart, study suggests. Intermountain Medical Center. Accessed 6/21/2021. . When fasting causes hunger or stress, the body responds by releasing more cholesterolthe researchers notedencouraging it to burn fat instead of glucose as fuel and decreasing the number of fat cells in the body.
Recommended Reading: How To Do Intermittent Fasting
A Better Night’s Sleep
If youve ever felt like you slipped into a food coma after a big meal, you know that diet can have an impact on wakefulness and sleepiness. Some IF followers report being able to sleep better as a result of following this way of eating. IF and mealtimes may have an impact on sleep, Rose-Francis says. Why?
One theory is that IF regulates circadian rhythm, which determines sleep patterns. A regulated circadian rhythm means youll fall asleep easily and wake up feeling refreshed, though research to support this theory is limited, Nature and Science of Sleep.
The other theory centers on the fact that having your last meal earlier in the evening means youll have digested the food by the time you hit the pillow. According to the National Sleep Foundation, digestion is best done when youre upright, and going to sleep with a full stomach can lead to bedtime acid reflux or heartburn, which can make it hard to fall asleep.