These days, it seems that there is a brand new diet program coming out each and every day. However, the ones that are actually good enough to stick around for a long time seem to only come along very occasionally. Usually, it’s because those diets are based on bad science or unsustainable guidelines that cause the users to give up on it completely before they see any results.
There is one type of weight loss method that has gained tremendous popularity in the past few years though and that is the intermittent fasting diet (IF). Fitness experts left and right are reevaluating their methods and rebuilding them from the ground up to incorporate this novel type of diet plan.
But because history has shown that just because a type of diet is popular doesn’t mean that it actually works, you would be wise to do some research to figure out it this particular method actually has merit. In this article, we explore the intermittent fasting and evaluate whether it adopting this eating strategy is a good idea.
I am not a Doctor/Expert All Of These Information Taken From The Internet!!
What is intermittent fasting?
At its core, intermittent fasting means alternating periods of eating with periods of fasting and while that might sound like what everybody has been doing for as long as time itself, the real trick lies in the actual time spent in a state of fasting.
Everybody does intermittent fasting in one way or another. Case in point, we can’t eat while we are sleeping and therefore the time we spend asleep each night is actually a period of fasting. That’s why the first meal of the day is referred to as breakfast (i.e. break fast, breaking your fast).
But where an intermittent fasting diet comes into play is it changes the variables. A regular night of sleep lasts probably somewhere between 6 to 8 hours, depending on who we are talking about. Now a lot of people eat as soon as they get up in the morning and snack only a few hours before they go to bed at night. That leaves a fasting period that only lasts for as long as they are asleep and the rest of the day is spent eating.
Now I’m not saying that the average person eats constantly throughout the day. Instead, the point is that they open their eating window as soon as they get up and close it only before they go to bed. When we refer to an eating window, we are basically talking about the period of time between the moment a person starts eating in the morning and the moment they stop eating.
All an intermittent fasting diet does is it extends the time spent in a state of fasting and shortens the eating window. Why is this important, as we’ll discuss in the following paragraphs, doing this completely changes the biochemistry of your body. As soon as you start eating in the morning, your hormonal balance changes drastically. This puts your body into a state where fat loss becomes pretty much impossible.
But if I fast, won’t I be hungry?
The main concern that people have when they first consider a dietary approach like an intermittent fasting diet plan is that they are going to be constantly hungry throughout the day. The truth is that the sensation of hunger that we feel is more often than not due to the timing of our eating habits.
We feel hungry in the morning because we have always eaten breakfast as soon as we got up. This is due to different hormones that trigger the sensation of hunger. The great thing is that if you choose to delay breakfast and eat your first meal of the day around lunch time, your body will adjust its hormone production to mirror your eating habits.
That means that while the first few days of intermittent fasting can be a bit challenging, the human body quickly adapts its hormonal production and those timed sensations of hunger disappear. After a few days of following this type of eating pattern, the fasting parts become very easy to follow.
How does an intermittent fasting diet plan affect the body’s biochemistry?
The biological changes that occur within the body are far too numerous to explain in detail here. However, most of the benefits attributed to this type of eating can be narrowed down to a few hormonal changes brought on by the fasting periods.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
Regulates ghrelin production
The first thing that happens when you are fasting is that a hormone called ghrelin gets regulated to follow your eating pattern. Ghrelin is largely called the hunger hormone because when it is produced by the body, it triggers that sensation of hunger. But the interesting thing about it is that it is a hormone that can be trained. In other words, ghrelin is produced by the body when it thinks that you are about to eat.
So, if you’re used to eating first thing in the morning, it will be produced as soon as you get up. On the other hand, if you delay your first meal to around lunch time for a few days, your ghrelin production will follow suite and only be secreted around lunch time.
Increases production of growth hormone
Another huge benefit of following an intermittent fasting diet is that it pushes the body to produce more growth hormone. Growth hormone is one of those things where there are just too many benefits to count. But it is however one of the most effective hormones in relation to fat loss. Without getting too technical, it basically forces your body to use fat as an energy source and also stops it from storing fat at all.
One of the ways to increase your body’s production of growth hormone is to fast. Indeed, when you are in a state of fasting, your body drastically increases its production of growth hormone which in turn helps you not only burn off existing fat, but also stops your body from storing more fat than you already have.
There are plenty of other benefits to having more growth hormone though that extend to more than just weight loss. For example, growth hormone also drastically slows down aging and reduces inflammation.
That’s it for this post. In the next one, we’ll keep digging into the benefits that an intermittent fasting diet can bring.
Are there any other benefits of an intermittent fasting diet?
Once again, from a biological standpoint, the hormonal changes we just listed only scratch the surface of what an intermittent fasting diet brings. However, if we look at some more obvious and visible benefits, there are many that are brought on by extended periods of fasting. For the most part, they visibly affect fat loss and changes in bodily appearance but some of these affect more health issues. Let’s look at a few of these benefits.
Easy way to restrict calories
In the most simple of terms, if you spend less time eating during the day, you will ingest less calories. Makes sense, doesn’t it? And at the end of the day, eating less calories is the determining factor that brings bout fat loss.
Lets you control your appetite
The next great advantage of following an intermittent fasting diet is that it gives you better control of your appetite. And when you are in control of your own appetite (instead of your appetite being in control of you), losing weight becomes infinitely easier. It completely eliminates those uncontrollable hunger pangs that make you binge on whatever food you have laying around your house.
While this benefit is a little less apparent, it truly affects your body’s ability to burn fat, build muscle and keep healthy. Inflammation is basically a response from your immune system. While this is very important for when you are sick or fighting off a disease, it severely limits many of the body’s essential functions It messes with proper insulin function, it increases fat production, it causes problems with blood sugar levels.
What’s worse is that when blood sugar levels are too high and fat production increases, it throws the body even further into a state of inflammation, creating a vicious cycle of sorts that is difficult to break out of. The result is that many people nowadays have eating habits that force their bodies into a chronic state of inflammation which contributes strongly to the general bad health and obesity of the population.
Intermittent fasting helps fight off inflammation by basically giving the body enough time and space to clean itself out and remove all the things that are causing inflammation in the first place. So in a way, fasting diets are a way to completely detoxify the body on a daily basis. So when these types of eating habits are followed, drastic detox or cleansing diets become completely unnecessary.
It’s also worth noting that fighting off this inflammation isn’t just about helping to burn fat. It also reduces the risk of many serious diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Increased mental awareness and productivity
Another benefit of following an intermittent fasting diet plan is that it increases you energy levels and productivity. What many people don’t know is that the digestive system requires a lot of energy to function. As much as 20% of all of your energy is taken up by your digestive system. That means that while it’s working, there is less energy available for your body to perform other tasks.
This can be a major productivity killer at work. Have you ever felt sleepy or drowsy after a big lunch or dinner? Of course you have. We all have. That is your digestive system getting to work.
But beyond just affecting the amount of energy available for your brain to focus, there are many hormones that come into play to increase your mental focus. The theory here is that our ancestors often had to go for long periods of time without food but they still had to be alert and focused so as to detect any environmental threat and be able to react to it effectively. That same principle is at work when you are fasting and ultimately makes you more productive, despite the lack of ingested calories.
Are there different variations to the intermittent fasting diet?
There isn’t a one size fits all approach to IF and many strategies can bring good results. The reason is that the longer you fast, the more of the benefits that you gain. This of course applies within a certain limit as fasting for days on end isn’t healthy. The commonality between all the different types of approaches is that there is a minimum of time that the fasting window must last for the benefits to carry any value. Here is a look at a few different approaches.
The 16/8 approach
This type of intermittent fasting diet was popularized by Martin Berkhan (of Leangains fame) and it is a diet that dictates that you alternate between 8 hour feeding periods and 16 hours of fasting. The most common way that this is achieved is by eating between 12 PM (lunch time) and 8 PM. That way, there is plenty of time to take in sufficient calories and maintain a daily 16 hour fast. To most people, this is the easiest method to follow because half of the fast is spent sleeping during which the hunger isn’t felt.
The Warrior diet
The Warrior diet was made popular by Ori Hofmekler and it follows a 20/4 pattern of eating. This basically takes the 16/8 approach a step further by limiting the eating period to only 4 hours a day. Most people who do this eat somewhere during the evening, like between 4 and 8 PM for example.
The Eat-Stop-Eat method
This intermittent fasting diet method was made popular by Brad Pilon (Eat Stop Eat is the name of his book) and it is a little bit different as it doesn’t encourage that people fast daily. Instead, it recommends that every few days you stop eating for 24 hours straight. So, if you eat your last meal on any given day at say 7 PM, you wouldn’t eat until 7 PM on the next day. This cycle would be repeated on average twice a week.
What type of foods can I eat on an intermittent fasting diet plan?
Of course, the foods that you can eat while following an IF diet must be chosen wisely. You can expect to eat a whole bunch of junk food every day and still born off the fat just because you’re fasting for a few hours. Like most diets, it’s better to stick to lots of protein, healthy dietary fats, slow digestion carbohydrates and lots of vegetables.
Of course, the cheat day also becomes a good option for a mental break once a week and also to let you indulge in foods that you restrain from eating while you’re on the diet. It’s important to not over do this though.
I am not a Doctor/Expert All Of These Information Taken From The Internet!!
I myself doing Intermittent Fasting since a long time, For first few days I had lots of cravings but after sometime eating one meal a day became normal for me !! But again please don’t follow me without taking a doctor’s advice. By doctor I mean an expert young doctor.
I recommend You Watch Dr Eric berg’s Videos on youtube I am linking one of his video below, He has made tons of videos on this diet you can simply search ” Dr Eric Berg Intermittent Fasting” on Youtube!
Science has proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that those who adopt an intermittent fasting diet not only burn more fat than those that don’t, but they are also healthier in many other regards. The methods and parameters of the diet can change but the important thing is to stick to whatever plan you choose to follow.
It’s also a very easy and convenient diet for weight loss because it reduces the number of meals that you eat in a day and therefore, it reduces the food preparation time. Whatever you choose to do, know that intermittent fasting is a great type of diet to follow that offers many advantages from better body composition, lower body fat and better health.