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Intermittent fasting is becoming highly popular nowadays and works wonders for weight-loss. For some people, intermittent fasting fits well into their long-term lifestyle because it is simple, flexible, and provide weight-loss results and other health benefits.
This information should help you decide if intermittent fasting is something you want to try for the weight loss and health benefits.
Overweight and obesity statistics
According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. It turns out that about 39% of adults over 18 years old were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is the absence of food during a determined period of time. You follow an eating schedule every day, only consuming food during a set number of hours during a specific window of time, then fast for the remaining hours. When you are fasting, you can tap into the fat stores for energy. After hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat.
Many diets focus on what to eat, but intermittent fasting is more about when to eat.
Eating all day long overtaxes our pancreas and digestive system. With intermittent fasting, you only eat during a specific time.
Is intermittent fasting based on research?
Research shows that intermittent fasting could be a way to manage your weight loss – though not necessarily more effective – as other diets that also work by limitting the daily calorie intake.
Intermittent fasting could also help prevent or even reverse some forms of chronic diseases.
Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Mark Mattson has studied intermittent fasting for 25 years. He says that our bodies have evolved to be able to go without food for many hours or even days.
Is this weight-loss approach stressful for the body? For comparison, consider vigorous exercise, which stresses the muscles and cardiovascular system. As long as you give the body time to recover, it will become stronger. “There is considerable similarity between how cells respond to the stress of exercise and how cells respond to intermittent fasting,” says Mattson.
Types of fasting
Some popular approaches to intermittent fasting include:
Daily time-restricted fasting: 16/8 (eating for eight hours and fasting for 16). Start with 12-13 hours fasting and increase gradually until you reach the 18 hours mark. Eat normally but only within an eight-hour window daily. For example, skip breakfast but eat lunch around noon and dinner by 8 p.m. Most people find it easy to stick with these eating habits on the long term. Yes, sleeping counts as fasting time too!
Alternate-day fasting. Eat a normal diet one day and the next day either completely fast or have one small meal (less than 500 calories).
5:2 fasting. Eat a normal diet five days a week and fast two days a week.
Try intermittent fasting for at least 30 days before giving up, because it may take about 2 weeks to get your body used to this diet, sometimes even 6-8 weeks to experience the benefits.
Cynthia Thurlow about Intermittent Fasting
Cynthia is a Western medicine trained nurse practitioner and functional nutritionist who is passionate about female hormonal health. During this TED Talk, she explores how intermittent fasting can help women lose weight effectively.
What foods should you eat during an intermittent fasting diet?
When you do eat, make sure you’re taking in quality ingredients. In fact, quality, healthy food should be your primarily goal with any diet plan.
Eat quality protein food: lean organic meat, wild-caught fish, low fat cheese.
Healthy fats are important for satiety. Eat vegetable high in healthy fats such as avocados, coconut oil, nuts and seeds.
Whole grain are part of a balanced and nutritious diet (quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, whole-weat bread or pasta)
Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants that fight the free radicals, vitamins and minerals (berries, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, brocolli, tomatoes, avocado)
Stay well hydrated with warm beverages such as plain coffee or tea.
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Benefits of intermittent fasting include:
Reducing the number of calories you eat should help you lose weight and thus reducing the risk of obesity-related diseases.
Reduce inflammation and improve conditions associated with inflammation such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, neurological disorders and some cancers.
Real people, real results
Meet A Woman Who Lost 50 Pounds Through Intermittent Fasting: