There are a number of diet plans which you hear every day. For instance low-carb/low-fat diet, keto diet, fad diets, placebo diet, high protein diets and many more. But why do I choose “Intermittent Fasting” as the winner among them all? Let us discuss first what Intermittent Fasting is.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting is a diet protocol where an individual has to follow fasting for a certain period of time followed by a period of eating window.
The model of daily intermittent fasting was popularized by Martin Berkhan of Leangains.com, which is where the name originated.
Most fitness enthusiasts who perform intermittent fasting generally follow a 10:8 hours program, meaning 10 hours of fasting and then following an 8 hour period of eating which is also known as “Anabolic Period”.
Why is it becoming so popular?
When I started working out I didn’t even know there were so many diets. I don’t even know what was calorie deficit and calorie surplus and that being said you have to be in a calorie deficit to lose fat.
I was a college student when I started working out properly and I used to eat in the college canteen. After breakfast which I literally do at 6.45 am, my lunch timing was at 1 pm, which means I have a 7-hour gap of not eating anything.
When I was following those timings, I found out that my body fat is going down and my lean mass was increasing. I started to surf it on the internet, and I found out about this diet.
Like me, there are many people who follow a hectic and busy life still finding time to be fit, for them Intermittent fasting is a good option to follow. I generally skip all my snacks and in that way, I also remain in a calorie restriction. However it’s my kind of approach, some people skip breakfast and do the rest of the meals. Ultimately, the flexibility of timing that matters the most.
Types of Intermittent Fasting:
There are various periodic types of Intermittent fasting. According to your lifestyle, you can choose your way of intermittent fasting. Here are some well-known forms of fasting:
● The 16:8 strategy-: This follows 14-16 hours of straight fasting following 10-8 hours of eating period. The meal timing should be within that 10-8 hours period of time.
● The 5:2 diet(Two days fasting)-: In this form, you can eat at a regular period for 5 straight days of the week following the next 2 days of calorie restriction of 500-600 calories.
● Eat, stop, eat diet-: This is a strange kind of fasting, where you eat all your calories in a day and for the next 24 hours you keep yourself starved, to use those calories for fuel. It is done once or twice a week
● Alternate day fasting-: Similar to the previous diet, the only difference is you have to fast on an alternative day. Suppose Monday, you ate on a regular basis, the next day will be a fast partially or fully depending on your experience. Some people restrict their calories up to 500 calories on fasting days. If you are a beginner, then you better not try this type of fasting principle.
● The Warriors diet-: This diet is popularized by fitness expert Ori Hofmekler. In this diet, one has to eat fruits and vegetables all day following a huge feast meal at night. This can be called “fast” all day and “feast” at night within 4 hours of eating period.
Benefits of Intermittent fasting:
I won’t discuss fasting helps in fat loss like blah blah blah. Here are some Science-Proven benefits of Intermittent fasting:
1. Control genes and hormones-: Fasting helps in hormonal imbalance and is proven to increase Growth Hormones, decrease insulin level in the blood, helps in cellular repairing by eliminating waste products.
2. Reduce type 2 diabetes by resisting insulin-: Again a good valid reason to opt for Intermittent fasting is controlling type 2 diabetes among middle-aged individuals. In one human study, it is shown that intermittent fasting helped in dropping blood sugar by 3-6% while insulin is reduced by 20-30%.
3. Reduce stress and chances of inflammation-: Oxidative stress is a cause due to aging and other chronic diseases. Unstable molecules known as free radicals tend to damage DNA and rupture the molecules completely. Studies also show that inflammation can be reduced by fasting to a certain extent.
4. Increase Cardiovascular function-: Studies were done on various animals shown to improve cardiovascular function but in the case of humans it’s still conflictual. More studies need to be done to justify the point.
5. Good for the brain-: Fasting lead to decrease oxidative stress, inflammation and heart health which indirectly keeps the brain healthy. Moreover, fasting increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor which in deficit causes depression and other brain problems.
6. May prevent Alzheimer’s disease-: Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that is very common all over the world. A scientific study done on rats showed that fasting leads to a delay in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Animal studies also have shown that it decreases the chances of neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease