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Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that has become increasingly popular in recent years. According to Google Trends, interest in intermittent fasting has accelerated even more rapidly than paleo or ketogenic diets. It’s also not just a trend among health-conscious 20-something urbanites but among everyone from elite athletes to middle-aged men and women.
Celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Hugh Grant, and Megan Fox are all advocates of this way of eating. If you aren’t familiar with it yet, Intermittent Fasting (IF) is the process of periodically restricting your diet so you eat 25% of your normal daily calorie intake. There are many different variations on how to do IF so what we’ll focus on here is16/8 fasting (16 hours fasted and 8 hours fed) almost exclusively.
This post will explain what intermittent fasting is, how it works, its benefits and drawbacks as well as different ways to implement it in your own life. Keep reading for everything you need to know about IF!
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How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
The most simple way to describe intermittent fasting is this – You regularly go long periods of time where you don’t eat (let’s say 16 hours) followed by a short period of time where you eat for a long period of time (let’s say 8 hours).
It’s not as simple as just not eating, but it basically puts your body in a state where it is forced to breakdown fat cells for energy because there is no food for it to process. As your body gets used to this eating pattern, it will adapt to your new eating schedule and will start burning fat for energy even when you’re not fasting! If you’re regularly fasting, you’re also likely to feel more energized and less hungry the rest of the day.
There are a few different patterns of intermittent fasting, but they all ultimately have the same goal: to encourage your body to burn fat while also maintaining regularity in your diet.
Why Is Intermittent Fasting So Popular?
There are a few different theories as to why intermittent fasting lingers on the fringe of mainstream healthy eating trends but regardless, it’s a powerful and effective way to lose weight. One reason it’s become so popular is that the general public is becoming much more health conscious.
More and more people are recognizing that the Standard American Diet (SAD) isn’t optimal for their health and intermittent fasting is an effective way to get healthier in a short amount of time. The other reason intermittent fasting is gaining so much attention is that the various diets that come and go are wildly different and intermittent fasting is the only diet that doesn’t completely overhaul your eating habits.
Intermittent fasting is definitely a diet but it’s a much more mild and moderate diet than something like a Whole 30 or ketogenic diet. It’s also very easy to do and doesn’t require a lot of effort or an extreme change in your diet. People who are looking for a diet that requires very little effort or sacrifice will definitely gravitate towards intermittent fasting.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting include improved insulin sensitivity, weight loss, reduced oxidative damage, reduced risk of diabetes, and reduced risk of heart disease. Some research has shown that intermittent fasting may even promote longevity.
Drawbacks of intermittent fasting
The most significant drawback of intermittent fasting is that it’s difficult to sustain long term. Humans are biologically predisposed to crave food every few hours and it’s very easy to break the fast and binge eat during the feeding periods. While many people are able to maintain intermittent fasting, it’s very difficult to sustain long term.
How to start an intermittent fasting diet
As we mentioned briefly above, there are many different ways to approach intermittent fasting. We recommend starting by fasting for 16 hours during the day and then eating for 8 hours during the evening. This is a good starting point and you can adjust it to your own personal needs and preferences after a couple of weeks. If you feel hungry during the 16 hour fasting period, drink lots of water and have some black coffee or green tea.
If you are hungry during the 8 hour feeding period, eat something healthy like vegetables, a salad, or some fruit. After a few weeks you’ll get used to the eating pattern and you won’t feel hungry during the fasting period.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It’s also not just a trend among health-conscious 20-something urbanites but among everyone from elite athletes to middle-aged men and women. It’s an effective way to lose weight, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce oxidative damage and is easy to start.
It’s important to note that intermittent fasting isn’t a magical cure-all, but it can be an effective tool in your journey towards better health and wellness.