Intermittent Fasting: What Is It and Should You Do It?

Intermittent Fasting: What Is It and Should You Do It?

You may have heard of intermittent fasting as a buzzword in health and fitness circles. In reality, intermittent fasting has been popular for a long time, but it's gained new life once again thanks to social media.


Some health professionals (as well as non-professionals) are claiming that undergoing intermittent fasting can benefit the human body in numerous ways. It can, so they say, help reduce insulin resistance, improve weight loss, and balance hormones.


So, should you do it?


Well, first, let's define intermittent fasting, explain how it works, and discover if it's safe or not.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting involves not eating food or consuming any beverages (except perhaps water or tea) for several hours during the day or overnight. The fast is broken intermittently, meaning once or twice in a 24-hour period.

How Does It Work?

Typically, people who fast intermittently use one of three popular methods. The first popular method involves only eating within a specific 8-hour period, after which you must fast for 16 hours. This is called the 16/8 method and may be done every day.


In another method called Eat-Stop-Eat, people will fast for a full 24 hours, but only once or twice a week.


The third most popular method of intermittent fasting is the 5:2 version. This is when people choose two non-consecutive days out of the week and only eat 500-600 calories on those two days. The rest of the week, they consume a normal number of calories.


At this point you may be wondering,“What can you have during intermittent fasting?”


This is the part that attracts a lot of positive attention: You can eat whatever you want (within reason, of course)! There's no special diet you have to stick to.

What Are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

The concept of intermittent fasting may sound strange to those who are unfamiliar with it, but believe it or not, it comes with a lot of great health benefits.


Here are some of the benefits you may be able to expect when you take on the challenge of intermittent fasting.

● Helps with weight loss

● Reduces insulin resistance in diabetics

● Reduces inflammation

● Improves heart health

● Prevents cancer

● Protects against Alzheimer's disease

● Improves anti-aging


The reason why fasting can lead to all these positive effects is because when you reduce your caloric intake, your body begins to undergo several natural processes that balance and heal cells in your body.


For example, the release of glucose into your bloodstream is more controlled, which helps increase your insulin sensitivity; your human growth hormone, which helps you lose fat and gain muscle, goes up; your cells repair themselves and remove dead cells in a process called autophagy; and your genes change their function to protect against disease and aging.

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Is It Safe?

In general, intermittent fasting is considered safe. There are some studies that suggest that women might experience negative side effects, like the stopping of their menstrual cycle or worsened control over blood sugar. But the research is limited.


In answer to the popular question,“Can diabetics do intermittent fasting?” – yes, they can. But diabetics, people with anemia, or people with hypoglycemia (i.e., low blood sugar) should proceed with intermittent fasting with caution. Monitor yourself carefully and ensure that you’re not getting dizzy, dropping weight too fast, or experiencing any other unpleasant problems.


With proper guidance from your doctor, you should feel safe trying intermittent fasting yourself.

How To Do Intermittent Fasting?

To do intermittent fasting, you may want to start by talking to your doctor and seeing what they recommend. They may be able to tell you which method – 16/8, 5:2, or a 24-hour fast – would be more beneficial for your health.


When planning your fasts, plan them in such a way that they don't disrupt your daily work or activity schedule. They should work with you and for you, not against you.


Consider, too, any medications or supplements that you may have to take throughout the day or night. Some medications require you to have food in your stomach before you take them.


Make sure that the food you consume in between fasts is nourishing, filling, and contains plenty of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. These types of foods will sustain you during the periods where you don't eat.


If you're still unsure about what to eat, consult your doctor and come up with a meal plan.


Finally, remember to drink water throughout the whole day. It's important to stay hydrated, especially if you're diabetic or are suffering from some other health condition. Water has no calories, so you don't have to worry about it affecting your daily caloric intake.

Intermittent fasting is not just a passing fad. It's a research-backed method of losing weight, improving insulin resistance (which may help reduce the effects of diabetes), and enhances your overall health and wellbeing. The best part is you can start anytime!


(Psst…don't forget to supplement your eating plan with exercise, too.)

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