Intermittent fasting (IF) has become one of the most popular diets today. It is also known as “scheduled eating”. Before anything else, take note that results vary from one person to another and there are actually several types of IF which are used for achieving different goals.
A little experimentation is necessary to find the best kind of IF to use for your goals. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at intermittent fasting and see if it really is a good fat loss solution.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
For people who are not familiar with it, intermittent fasting is simply having periods of no food intake. It can be used for many purposes. For instance, it helps reduce blood glucose and insulin levels which is obviously beneficial when it comes to weight loss.
It also increases the oxidation of fatty acid. Some studies have shown that it also helps preserve lean muscle mass while at the same time increasing several health factors. It can also help improve the metabolism which will make weight loss easier.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
One of the main mechanisms that make intermittent fasting beneficial for health is its positive effect on insulin sensitivity. The modern diet today is composed mostly of high sugar and simple carbohydrates which promotes resistance to insulin.
Intermittent fasting promotes the use of fat for fuel which helps reduce body fat. Also, IF helps reduce oxidative stress since it decreased the accumulation of free radicals in cells of the body. Thus, it prevents oxidative damage which is one of the major factors that cause aging and disease. Fasting also increases the capacity of the body to resist stress, disease, and aging.
Intermittent Fasting Methods
There are various intermittent fasting methods today but here are the most popular:
This is a form of intermittent fasting started by Martain Berkhan and it is ideal for fitness enthusiasts who want to lower body fat and build muscle. For women, fast 14 hours each day and for men, fast 16 hours each day. On the remaining hours, you can feed.
During the periods of fasting, no calories should be consumed but black coffee, diet soda, and sugar-free gum are allowed. Most people who use this method fast throughout the night until about six hours after getting up from the bed. It is very important to have a consistent schedule for feeding in order to prevent negative effects on the body like hormone fluctuations.
What to eat and the timing depend on the time of the day for workout. During days of exercise, carbohydrates are more important and fat intake should be minimized. On rest days, fat intake can be increased.
Take note that protein consumption is important daily and should be adjusted according to your age, gender, body fat level and activity level. Also remember to focus on whole, unprocessed foods and avoid processed/fast foods.
Eat Stop Eat
The Eat Stop Eat method was developed by Brad Pilon and it is for people who want to eat healthy and have an extra boost. Moderation is the key but you can basically eat anything, just not too much. For this form of intermittent fasting, you need to fast for 24 hours one to two times per week.
No food should be consumed during the fasting period but beverages that are calorie-free are okay. After the fast, you can eat normally. This method allows the person to significantly decrease total calorie intake but it doesn’t limit what can be consumed. This is difficult for most people but you can start slowly and build up to fasting 24 hours in a couple of weeks.
The Warrior Diet
This form of intermittent fasting started by Ori Hofmekler involves fasting about 20 hours each day then eating a large meal at night. This method follows the philosophy that feeding the body nutrients should be in sync with circadian rhythms and that humans are inherently programmed to eat at night.
During the fasting phase, you can still eat certain foods like fruits and vegetables, fresh juice and lean servings of meat. According to Hofmekler, eating at night also helps the body with hormone production and fat burning during the day. For the four hour feeding phase, start with vegetables followed by protein and fat before consuming carbohydrates.
There is a lot of evidence that intermittent fasting can be an effective solution to fat loss. However, it is not for everyone and most people have a hard time following the different IF methods. Make sure to choose one according to your goals and start slowly. If it doesn’t work out for you, there are other diets that can help with fat loss.