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Intermittent fasting is much more than just a way to lose weight – decreasing the amount of time given to food in a day can help slow down ageing, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve sleep quality.
Intermittent fasting is a period of voluntary abstinence from food and beverage. This type of diet has garnered much attention recently, and many books have been published about it. It is, however, a fairly general term that can be applied to different practices.
The most popular approach to intermittent fasting is the 16/8 approach, which involves fasting for 16 hours a day. As a result, you would eat between 11:30 and 19:30.
The second version of intermittent fasting alternates 24-hour quasi-fasting periods (which are very restricted 500-calorie diets) with free drinking days.
The 5/2 approach, on the other hand, limits fasting to two days a week. Some will prefer to practice fasting on weekends since the temptations are sometimes more potent. Finally, the warrior’s diet follows a fast of 20 hours a day, with a large meal consumed in the evening.
“Part of the confusion around intermittent fasting is its lack of definition,” says Robin Foroutan, a registered nutritionist and spokesman for the New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “For some people, intermittent fasting means they fast daily, while for others, it means they only eat between certain hours.”
Studies, mainly conducted on animals, have shown that intermittent fasting can promote weight loss while reducing the risk of contracting several diseases. Additional research (including a recent study conducted on four people, published in Scientific Reports in 2019) suggests that this diet may also help boost metabolism.
Here’s what you should know about weight loss, according to doctors.
Intermittent Fasting is More Accessible to Follow than Traditional Diets
Some studies suggest that constantly monitoring one’s calorie intake causes some stress and increases cortisol production. It then leads to feelings of deprivation, uncontrolled cravings, abandonment of the diet and perhaps even weight gain.
“Adapting to intermittent fasting takes time!”. “People don’t want to think about dieting every day of the week [and] they lose motivation after a certain period of calorie reduction.” However, Elisabetta Politi, director of nutrition for the same weight management program, explains that intermittent fasting works for people who like to follow periods.
“Rather than suggesting eating less, we tell them not to eat after 6 p.m., and for those who have discipline, it works very well,” she concludes. Find out how many calories you need to consume daily to lose weight.
It Helps You Keep a Stable Weight
Following intermittent fasting can make it easier to maintain long-term weight loss. A study published in Frontiers in Physiology was conducted in 2016 on 40 obese adults. She compared the combined effects of a high-protein diet, a low-calorie diet and an intermittent fasting diet with a traditional diet known to be heart-healthy.
The results showed they also effectively reduced body mass index (BMI) and blood lipids (fatty acids and cholesterol). However, adults who followed intermittent fasting showed some benefit in regaining weight after one year.
Intermittent Fasting is Suitable For People at Risk of Developing Diabetes
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 84.1 million Americans suffer from prediabetes, which, without treatment, often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years. Diabète Québec estimates that about 1 in 5 Quebecers is prediabetic. However, losing weight, moving more and eating a healthy diet can help fight the development of type 2 diabetes. “When you lose weight, you become more sensitive to insulin, which lowers blood sugar.
The body releases insulin into the bloodstream by eating to fill the necessary energy supply to the cells. Unfortunately, prediabetic people are insulin-resistant, so their blood sugar levels remain high. Intermittent fasting can help prediabetics because it forces the body to produce less insulin, Foroutan says. “If you are prediabetic or have a history of diabetes in the family, this diet may be helpful.”
A study published in the journal Cell in 2017 found that an intermittent fasting diet could restore insulin secretion and promote the birth of new insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells in mice with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Although more research remains, early studies on human cell samples suggest similar potential.
Intermittent Fasting Helps Synchronize Circadian Rhythms and Fight Metabolic Diseases
Your circadian rhythm, or internal clock, is a natural system that regulates your feelings of drowsiness and wakefulness over 24 hours. Research published in the 2017 Congressional Journal of the American Society for Nutrition suggests that intermittent fasting can help respect our body’s circadian rhythm, which is beneficial to metabolism.
Consumption of certain foods before bedtime has also been associated with weight gain and sleep disturbances, mainly when they cause acidic gastric reflux. “We know that insulin sensitivity increases during the day, and we are less sensitive to insulin at night – the same goes for digestion. “This makes you wonder whether or not eating at night goes against your biological clock.
” If you want to stick to your circadian rhythm, you need to go to bed earlier and sleep so the body can repair itself, she adds. “Whoever sleeps has dinner, and sleep makes you forget hunger.”
Not getting enough sleep is one of the common mistakes made by those who want to lose weight.
Intermittent Fasting Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
In Canada, 9 in 10 people have at least one risk factor for heart disease, stroke, or vascular cognitive impairment, says the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Thus, every 5 minutes in the country, a person dies from one of these three causes. However, it is possible to reduce your risk of heart disease by adopting a healthy lifestyle: eating well, exercise, not smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
“If you limit your calorie intake daily, it increases cardiovascular risk, glycemic control, and insulin resistance,” says William Yancy. However, in a small study published in the Nutrition Journal in 2013, conducted on 32 adults, a two-day intermittent fasting diet resulted in weight loss and cardiovascular benefits, including the improved concentration of LDL cholesterol and triacylglycerol. “Studies use two-day fasting, but keep in mind that fasting doesn’t mean not eating — it means eating less.
This type of diet represents an opportunity to do things differently. “As an obesity doctor, I like different options for people because they’re different.
Intermittent Fasting Slows Down the Ageing Proces
Studies show that the benefits of intermittent fasting can mimic the effects of low-calorie diets, which are beneficial for slowing down the ageing process. A study published in Cell Metabolism in 2014 found that fasting can delay ageing and help prevent disease.
This study shows that fasting triggers adaptive cellular responses to stress, which result in a better ability to cope with it and counteract the disease. “Low-calorie diets increase mitochondrial stress, and the resulting benefit is anti-ageing,” says Foroutan. “The better mitochondria (the powerhouse of our cells) work, the better the body works.”
Intermittent Fasting Offers Better Results In Some People
Intermittent fasting has excellent benefits for overweight people. Also, people who plateau in terms of weight loss efforts might find that intermittent fasting helps them boost their metabolism and progress.
Intermittent fasting can also benefit those with digestive problems. “If you notice that your digestion is slow in the evening or if you have digestive problems at night, eating earlier and fasting during the evening can help.”
Sometimes trying something different, like intermittent fasting, is enough for some people to get back on track with their weight loss goals. “One of my patients lost about 15kg just by stopping eating late at night”. “Doctors discovered that the source of her weight gain was that she ate junk food at the end of the day. You need to know its cause for successful long-term weight loss, as it gives power and strength.”
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