Diet Plans, Weight Management

7 best benefits of intermittent fasting & 7 different methods to do it

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Obesity is one of the major health issues of the century and it can lead to several more serious health disorders. Dieting is one of the best ways to get rid of obesity. However, to gain substantial results from dieting you need to follow a strategically planned schedule that is both effective and sustainable. Intermittent fasting benefits is one such plan that wisely balances the eating and fasting cycles in such a way that you can follow a healthy dieting schedule without fully giving up your favorite foods. While it is popular as an effective weight loss program, there are many other benefits of Intermittent fasting as well. When followed in the right way the intermittent fasting offers many health benefits as mentioned below:

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Reduces the probabilities of Type 2 Diabetes

High insulin levels are one of the major causes behind diabetes Type-2. Intermittent fasting keeps these levels under check. It also lowers down the blood sugar levels and thus helps in reducing the risks of developing this diabetes.

Talking in terms of figures, it reduces blood sugar by up to 6% and a 31% reduction in insulin levels as also observed.

One thing to consider here is that in the case of women the results can be adverse and it may imbalance the sugar control in them. Keep in mind that such results were observed only in terms of females. So we will preserve this point only for men.

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Actively helps in reducing weight

When intermittent fasting is followed by a wise eating routine it can help you in reducing the extra weight. You skip a complete meal and also observe time restrictions on snacking sessions. With a smaller eating window, you tend to eat less which translates to fewer calorie consumptions and reduced weight.

Along with reducing meals and snacking sessions, intermittent fasting also prompts specific biological processes that increase the speed and efficiency of the fat burning process- like reduced insulin levels, increasing growth hormone levels and enhanced metabolism process. Lower food intake with greater fat burning capabilities allows you to shed more kilos in less time

One study in the year 2014 suggested that intermittent fasting can allow you to reduce up to 8% fat in a span of 1-6 months (depending on your body’s response0 which is a fairly decent figure. Moreover, when it comes to preserving muscle mass during fat burning exercises the intermittent fasting outpaces the conventional calorie restriction routine. It simply means that you can healthily reduce your fat without experiencing heavy muscle loss. 

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Improved cellular health

Your biological system responds to the fasting period by executing vital processes to repair cells and ensuring easy accessibility of stored fats by modifying hormone levels. The internal changes taking place during these processes help in reducing the fat.

  • Considerable reduction in blood insulin levels promotes the fat-burning process
  • Growth hormone levels in the blood rise to a very high level- up to 500% higher than regular levels. Along with burning extra fat content it also helps in muscle-building which regulates muscle-mass ratio.
  • It has a specific effect on the overall genetic and molecular ecosystem of your biology which helps in promoting longevity and natural resistance capacities
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Keeps free radicals activity under check 

 Oxidative stress refers to the activity of free radicals that harm DNS, protein, and other healthy molecules of the body and thus exposes you t various adverse health conditions.

Intermittent fasting prepares your internal system to effectively resist the free radical activity and thus minimizes the risk of various diseases caused by oxidative stress. It also helps in keeping biological aging at bay. It is also found to reduce inflammation- another factor behind various general ailments.

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Keeps cells free from toxic substance

Intermittent fasting also prompts autophagy – a cellular process that purges our body cells of unwanted and toxic materials. In this process, the cells are relieved from the accumulated unused and damaged proteins and thus it promotes cellular health.

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Keeps the brain healthy

 Some internal processes like reduced insulin resistance & blood sugar levels and minimized oxidative stress play a vital role in enhancing brain health.

 Intermittent fasting induces and speeds up such processes and thus eventually facilitates better brain functioning. AT a more direct level the intermittent fasting also accelerates the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (a kind of brain hormone)

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Can promote cardiovascular health

 Various factors are related to cardiovascular diseases. Some examples include blood triglycerides, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure, inflammation, and sugar levels. Intermittent fasting helps to regulate and optimize has biological markers that collectively reduce the probabilities of heart diseases.

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What is the best intermittent fasting method for you?

Intermittent fasting is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It is categorized into different methods. If you wish to get the best results, then select the method that aligns best with your meal routine, weight-loss goals, and daily commitments. 

Here is a list of 7 intermittent fasting methods that will help you determine the best fasting method for you:

5:2 Method

 This widely popular intermittent fasting method involves enjoying normal meals on 5 days and following a calorie-restricted diet on 2 days of the week where you don’t cross the threshold of 600 calories for males and 500 calories for males. Due to its convenience and flexibility to decide your preferred fasting days the 5:2 has achieved a huge success.

, Unlike conventional fasting you don’t have to worry about calorie mathematics every day you eat. Fasting on just 2 days of a week followed by feast days makes it easy to comply with this diet plan.

Time-based fasting method

 In Time-based fasting, you set a healthy time window for eating and won’t eat outside that window. Ideally, the eating time window shouldn’t be more than 8 hours. That’s the maximum limit- the lesser, the better but avoid crossing the threshold of 4 hours and be considerate about your health.

 Timing matters the most when setting the eating schedule. Adjust the bracket in such a way that it should not interfere with your daily routine. For instance, if you are in a regular job then the 10 AM-6 PM eating window would work best for you as you can easily enjoy a timely breakfast and lunch. However, you just need to adjust the dinner time. Depending upon your preferred meal timings you may also go for 11 AM-7 PM or 12 PM-8 PM eating window.

Fasting for Overnight

 The overnight fasting diet is best for the people who prefer to eat several smaller meals a day instead of following a normal 3-course routine. In this fasting, you give a gap of 12 hours between fasting and feeding. The fasting duration is smaller and hence the benefits are lower than the ones offered by an 8-hour or 4-hour eating window.

 However, it is extremely easy and can be started immediately. Your body doesn’t have to struggle to adjust to this fasting method.

Eat-Stop-Eat Method

Eat Stop Eat is a holistic way of respecting intermittent fasting as a sustainable weight reduction exercise that promotes sensible eating. In this method, you fast for 2 days of the week (or specific hours per day) and also avoid binge-eating during your eating window. In this method, you don’t resume unhealthy eating habits during the eating window- occasionally eating a piece or two cheese pizzas is a different thing, though. The idea is to utilize an eating time window as a healthy way to eat nutritiously and partially satiate your food cravings without overindulgence- so that you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

24 Hours fasting

 In entire-day fasting you choose any specific day when you won’t eat food for a continuous period of 24 hours. In this method, you can take slightly more liberty on your next feast day. This is the ideal method for you if you are more tend to overeat after a fasting session.

One thing to keep in mind is that continuous fasting for 24 hours can be a difficult feat to achieve, So, it is advisable to start with 12 hours of fasting and then gradually increase the fasting session by 1 hour until it reaches 24 hours fasting period.

Fasting on the alternate days

 In Alternate-day fasting you fast on every alternate day of the week. On fasting days you keep a calorie-threshold of 1/4th of your daily calorie needs which generally translates to 500-600 calories. On eating days you can eat a normal meal without counting calories. This type of fasting helps in naturally building a balanced appetite and when practiced regularly it can minimize your cravings. If you find yourself returning to your unhealthy overeating habits each time you complete your dieting program, then this could be the best solution for you.

Pick-your-fasting-day method

 If you need the most convenient fasting schedule then Pick-Your-Day fasting is the best solution for you. In this method, you can alternate between different methods of intermittent fasting. If you love experimenting with adventurous dieting plans that challenge your appetite-control then this is the right plan for you. That said try not to alternate frequently or heavily between different IF methods as consistency is the key to success. Generally, it is advisable to choose specific days of the week when you just miss your breakfast.

Two things should be considered before adopting this approach- we yet have to find sufficient evidence to ascertain that this method plays a remarkable role in reducing weight. Secondly, according to some cardiology experts, this method can hurt cardiovascular health.

 Conclusion

Intermittent fasting refers to a smart fasting program where you strategically switch between eating and fasting mode to reduce keep calorie consumption and keep it under check. Though highly popular as an effective weight reducing exercise, intermittent fasting is also good for our cellular health, brain, and other parts of our biological system. It flushes out the toxins and regulates our vital biological processes.

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