Intermittent fasting is a diet cycle that is a pattern of eating and fasting for a specific periods of time. The most common method of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method that involves fasting for 16 hours and completing your required calorie intake for a window of 8 hours. The 16-hour fasting window also includes your sleeping time. For example, a person can follow an intermittent fasting pattern as – An 8-hour eating window from morning 10 a.m. to 6 p.m which would include eating your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The fasting window of 16 hours here would be post 6 p.m to the next day’s 10 a.m. During the fasting window, no food is allowed, but you can have things like water, unsweetened tea and coffee, and any other non-caloric beverages. It becomes important to consume these to avoid dehydrating the body.
Few Ways to do Intermittent fasting-
Apart from the 16:8 diet talked about above, we have a few other popular ways of doing intermittent fasting. For starters, some people like to start by following a 14:10 window as well, which is fasting for 14 hours and eating in the 10-hour window. With that, there is the 5:2 diet, where a person can eat typically for 5 days in a week and has to restrict their calorie intake to 500-600 calories for the other 2 days. You can choose days, a day or two after each other, like a Monday and Thursday. Next is the Eat Stop Eat method where you are on a fast for one or two whole days (24 hours) each week. On this one day of fast water, unsweetened tea and coffee, and any other non-caloric beverages are permitted. If you follow any of the above, make sure to eat healthy, balanced meals during the non-fasting periods.
Intermittent fasting benefits-
Intermittent fasting provides a lot of benefits. A few of them are as below –
- Helps in weight loss – Fasting for the specified periods and eating at a restricted time helps eat lower calories which results in a consistent weight loss over time. Fasting can help make your body convert the stored fat in your body into energy and thus help reduce weight.
- Reduce oxidative stress and inflammation – Oxidative stress and inflammation cause many chronic diseases. Intermittent fasting enhances the body’s resistance to stress and inflammation.
- Intermittent fasting can improve heart health – Studies have shown to improve numerous risk factors for heart diseases and help improve sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
- Intermittent fasting improves gut health – The regime of intermittent fasting helps improve our gut health. It improves our digestion and fasting gives a required break to our overworked gut, focusing the body’s energy on processes of healing other than just the food digestion.
5.Improved mood and concentration – Intermittent fasting also helps to improve our mood and overall concentration and focus. With that, it reduces unwanted food cravings and facilitates more stable energy levels.