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Have Plenty Of Fiber In Your Diet
Fiber is a plant-based carbohydrate that is not digested in the small intestine, unlike sugar and starch. A high-fiber diet can improve feelings of fullness and help with weight loss.
High-fiber foods include
- Whole grain breakfast cereals, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, oats, barley, and rye.
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
Health Benefits Of Fasting
The big benefit of picking intermittent fasting for your nutrition plan is its so sustainable. With other diets youre either constantly counting calories, can only eat certain foods, or always cutting macronutrients. For example, the keto diet is quite effective for weight loss but the fact that you have to cut out your carbs forever isnt a sustainable diet for the majority of people . I mean imagine never being able to eat pizza, pasta, cookies, cereal, beer, wine, etc. ever again.
With intermittent fasting the big thing you have to be mindful of is to not eat during your fast. This is so simple anybody can follow it long term. But that doesnt always mean its easy. There are times when youre going to get hungry and tempted to eat. And then there are other times when social situations put you in a sticky position that practically force you to eat.
But lets say you go out with friends for dinner and end up eating and drinking until midnight. The good part with intermittent fasting is you just restart your fasting clock and wait a little longer to eat the next day. Its not like every other diet where you mess up by eating the wrong kind of food and then all your results go out the window.
So with intermittent fasting, you can keep your motivation going even if you have a little slip-up. If you ever have trouble with the hunger pangs during your fast then you could drink some of my approved fasting drinks:
- zero cal sparkling water
1 day: 0.5 2 pounds
The Warrior Diet Allows You To Consume Certain Fruits And Vegetables During The Fasting Period
“With the warrior diet, a person may consume fruits, vegetables, and liquids with zero calories for 20 hours each day,” Yule explained.
Those observing this diet are allowed to eat a large meal in the evening, she said. And although she suggested that this diet puts a little more focus on diet quality, she did acknowledge that it is not sustainable for many people over time.
Most Effective Intermittent Fasting Methods For Weight Loss
Eating healthy but still not seeing the results you desire?
Wanting to shed body fat, gain muscle, and boost the overall health of your body?
Many whove been conquering the basics of what to eat to best fuel their body for health and weight loss are finding that when they eat has just as much to offer when it comes to aiding their efforts!
Intermittent fasting is taking the world by storm when it comes to a proven, effective method for both losing weight and welljust boosting your health in general.
From setting aside a portion of each day to abstain from eating, to even setting aside a day or two each week for the same, intermittent fasting can boost metabolism, reduce inflammation, and even break down fat cells !
But, intermittent fasting can mean a variety of things depending on the method you choose.
- Which IF method is best for you?
- Which method boasts the most benefits?
- How can intermittent fasting help your health and your waistline?
Before we delve into methods and how-tos, first, what is fasting?
Fasting describes a period of time in which you abstain from food.
This is best seen in why we call the first meal of the day breakfast.
Breakfast gets its name from the fact that this is the meal where you break the period of fasting that youve engaged in while sleeping. Hmm, unless youre a sleep walker who frequents the fridge, I suppose.
But, minus those rare few who engage in sleep-eat-walkingwell, you get the picture here.
Whats the point you may ask?
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Who Shouldnt Try Intermittent Fasting
Not everyone should try IF. A few groups who shouldnt: women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant , those taking diabetes medication , or anyone on multiple drugs , says Kumar. Also, if you have a history of eating disorders, introducing periods where youre not allowed to eat can put you on a dangerous path to a relapse.
Know that IF has some side effects. You may be cranky hanger is real during fasting periods because low blood sugar can mess with your mood. You also still need to have a healthy diet when you do eat. One thought is that it would be difficult to make up a calorie deficit if you fasted for two days, but in our society with access to calorie-dense items, you could probably do it, says Kumar. Focus on balanced, nutrient-packed choices, like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, legumes, and whole grains . Expect that for the first couple of weeks you may deal with lower energy, bloating, and cravings until your body adjusts, says Shemek.
Follow Diet And Exercise
To lose weight, you need to pay attention to what you eat and drink each day. Recording all the foods, you eat in a diary, or online food log is the most effective way.
Researchers estimate that 3.7 billion health apps will be downloaded. Of those, apps for nutrition, fitness, and weight loss were the most popular. Not surprisingly, tracking physical activity and weight loss progress on the go can be an effective way to manage weight.
In one study, constant recording of physical activity was found to contribute to weight loss. Another study found a positive relationship between the frequency of recording food intake and exercise and weight loss. Even a simple device can be a valuable tool for weight loss.
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Avoid Sugar And Refined Carbohydrates
The Western diet contains increasing amounts of sugar, clearly linked to obesity, even in beverages and not in food.
Refined carbohydrates are highly processed foods that contain no fiber or other nutrients. These include white rice, bread, and pasta.
These foods are quickly digested and rapidly converted to glucose.
Excess glucose enters the bloodstream and triggers the release of the hormone insulin, which promotes fat storage in adipose tissue. This is the cause of weight gain.
Where possible, replace processed and sugary foods with healthier alternatives. A good food substitution is
- Eating whole grain rice, bread, and pasta instead of white rice
- Eating fruits, nuts, and seeds instead of sugary snacks
- Drinking herbal teas or water with fruit instead of sugary soft drinks.
- Instead of fruit juice, you can prepare smoothies with water or milk.
What Happens To Your Body While Youre Intermittent Fasting
Fasting has been shown to impact the body in several ways.
During a fast, your hormones adjust to begin burning fat as a source of fuel.
In other words, when your body is cut off from food, it will adapt to use body fat as its primary form of energy.
This essentially means that fasting can switch your metabolism into fat-burning mode.
Some of the changes that occur during fasts include:
- Lower insulin levels Insulin is a hormone that is released by the pancreas in response to carbohydrates found in food. Its main role is to help regulate blood glucose levels. Insulin decreases during a fast, which sends signals to your cells to start using fat for energy instead of blood sugar .
- Increased human growth hormone Human growth hormone has been linked to greater fat burn and increases in muscle mass . There is evidence that HGH levels increase while intermittent fasting .
- Boost in norepinephrine levels During a fast, norepinephrine levels rise . Norepinephrine, also known as noradrenaline, is a hormone released by the brain which tells the body to release fatty acids from stored body fat. These free fatty acids can then be used by your cells for energy.
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Keep Fat Intake Moderate
When youre trying to drop pounds or kilos quickly, eating less fat may seem to make sense.
However, its not a good idea to eat a diet thats low in both carbs and fat. Youll likely end up feeling deprived within a few days or weeks and it certainly isnt sustainable long term.20Theres no need to fear fat.
That said, eating excessive amounts of fat isnt a good strategy for quick weight loss either. Even on a very-low-carb diet, eating more fat than your body needs can slow down rather than speed up weight loss.21
So dont add large amounts of butter, heavy cream, or other fat to your food. Also, avoid or minimize your intake of fat bombs and similar treats that provide very little protein or other nutrients.22
Instead, eat enough fat to add flavor and richness to your food but not so much that you feel stuffed. Let your body burn its stored fat rather than the fat you are eating.
The Truth About Fasting
The bottom line: Nutrition experts agree that fasting is a potentially dangerous, and not particularly effective, way to lose weight.
Instead of a fast, opt for a healthy eating plan that you can stick with long-term Healthy diets provide a minimum of 1,200 calories and include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein, and healthy fats, along with regular physical activity.
If you are not convinced and want to go on a fast, be sure to consult your physician first.
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.
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The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Fat loss is great, but it isn’t the only benefit of fasting.
1. Intermittent fasting makes your day simpler.
I’m big on behavior change, simplicity, and reducing stress. Intermittent fasting provides additional simplicity to my life that I really enjoy. When I wake up, I don’t worry about breakfast. I just grab a glass of water and start my day.
I enjoy eating and I don’t mind cooking, so eating three meals a day was never a hassle for me. However, intermittent fasting allows me to eat one less meal, which also means planning one less meal, cooking one less meal, and stressing about one less meal. It makes life a bit simpler and I like that.
2. Intermittent fasting helps you live longer.
Scientists have long known that restricting calories is a way of lengthening life. From a logical standpoint, this makes sense. When youre starving, your body finds ways to extend your life.
Theres just one problem: who wants to starve themselves in the name of living longer?
I dont know about you, but Im interested in enjoying a long life. Starving myself doesnt sound that appetizing.
The good news is that intermittent fasting activates many of the same mechanisms for extending life as calorie restriction. In other words, you get the benefits of a longer life without the hassle of starving.
Way back in 1945 it was discovered that intermittent fasting extended life in mice. More recently, this study found that alternate day intermittent fasting led to longer lifespans.
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.
Diet Myth Or Truth: Fasting Is Effective For Weight Loss
Fasting is an age-old practice, often done for religious reasons, but fasting for weight loss is still capturing the public imagination. You can find dozens of do-it-yourself plans touting the unproven benefits of fasting, ranging from flushing “poisons” from the body to purging 30 pounds of fat in 30 days.
It’s true that fasting — that is, eating little to no food — will result in weight loss, at least in the short term. But the risks far outweigh any benefits, and ultimately, fasting can cause more harm than good.
Intermittent Fasting Is Not A Magic Pill
The bottom line with IF? Although the jury is still out and long-term effects are still being studied, its crucial to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet while following IF.
You cant eat junk food and excessive calories on non-fasting days and expect to lose weight, says Taylor.
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Pros Of Intermittent Fasting For Women
“There is substantial research to support the therapeutic benefits of fasting,” says Jillian Greaves M.P.H., R.D., L.D.N. Integrative Functional Dietitian at Prevention Pantry Nutrition. “Some potential health benefits include improved cellular health, improved metabolic markers, and weight loss.”Studies show that intermittent fasting leads to weight loss in women, but doesn’t lead to any more weight loss than a calorie deficit overall. However, the structure of IF makes it easier for some to reduce caloric intake.
Intermittent fasting can boost fat burn too. When we eat, blood sugar rises and insulin is released to take glucose to our cells for energy. Extra glucose is stored as fast. If you don’t eat for 10-16 hours, your body will start to use its fat stores for energy.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that in a fasted state, cellular repair occurs, which is linked to increased longevity, reduced risk of cancer, lower inflammation and improved metabolism. However, many of the studies are in animals and more studies in women are needed.
There’s also emerging research that eating in sync with circadian rhythm keeps chronic diseases at bay. In other words, eating during a 6-10 hour window during the day, when it’s light outside, and reducing nighttime eating.
Sleep More Eat Healthier
Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep a night for optimal health, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. But most fall short, and that can influence eating habits and metabolism.
In one study, 16 people slept for 9 hours a night for five days , then switched to 5 hours a night for five days.
Sleeping just 5 hours disrupted their circadian rhythm, which led them to take in excess calories, gain weight, and experience an almost 20 percent drop in insulin sensitivity.
Insufficient sleep seems to prompt evening eating, McHill says. And its those calories that seem to account for the weight gain and metabolic issues.
What you eat can also disrupt sleep. Consuming spicy foods close to bedtime may upset your digestive system, and caffeine may delay the onset of melatonin. Research also suggests that eating lots of added sugars and processed grains may trigger insomnia, while eating more vegetables and fruit may help prevent it.
Editors Note: A version of this article also appeared in the April 2021 issue of Consumer Reports On Health.
Jennifer Cook is an award-winning freelance writer who contributes to Consumer Reports on health, wellness, mind-body, and environmental topics. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley in a farmhouse built in the 1840s. An avid walker and dancer, she feels fortunate to live near wetlands and wild things, and to have easy access to culture and good food.
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