Intermittent fasting is currently one of the most popular dieting methods. Studies indicate that fasting helps not only with losing fat but also has other health benefits.
Fasting has always been part of our history and culture. It is a favorite tool due to its simple rule. Eat as usual but limit the eating period. Its simplicity and regularity make it easier to adopt and keep as a habit when compared to other diet options.
Today we learn to integrate it efficiently into our fast lifestyles. Let's talk about what it is, how it is beneficial, our options, and who should avoid fasting altogether.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting, also known as intermittent energy restriction, is an umbrella term for various meal timing schedules that cycle between voluntary fasting and non-fasting over a given period.
The most natural intermittent fast is nightly fast. Stop eating after diner and break the fast with breakfast. Fasts mainly differ in their length and rules - if you stop eating or restrict your intake.
Methods of intermittent fasting include alternate-day fasting, periodic fasting, and daily time-restricted feeding.
Is fasting beneficial?
Here are the main health benefits of intermittent fasting which are repeated in studies.
- Weight loss Intermittent fasting trains your body to utilize fat as fuel instead of relying on energy from the food, in particular carbohydrates, you are constantly consuming.
- Diabetes prevention: Intermittent fasting lowers blood sugar by 3–6% and fasting insulin levels by 20–31%, which should protect against type 2 diabetes.
- Inflammation: Some studies show reductions in markers of inflammation, a key driver of many chronic diseases.
- Heart health: Regular fasting can decrease your low-density lipoprotein or "bad" cholesterol. It's also thought that fasting can improve the way your body metabolizes sugar. This can reduce your risk of gaining weight and developing diabetes, both risk factors for heart disease.
- Brain health: Intermittent fasting increases the brain hormone BDNF and may aid the growth of new nerve cells. It may also protect against Alzheimer's disease.
- Anti-aging: Intermittent fasting can extend lifespan in rats. Studies showed that fasted rats lived 36–83% longer.
Please keep in mind that all studies might be in different stages, with differently large pools of participants or even animals. Methodologies might differ. Keep an eye on topics you find interesting to learn about new updates in the field and upcoming peer reviews.
What are my fasting options?
In Nutrilio, you can find all the most common intermittent fasting methods. They are categorized into two groups - daily and weekly routines.
Daily routines repeat each day. Pick the length that feels comfortable to you.
A 12-hour fast or 12:12 is the most natural fast, commonly referred to as circadian rhythm fast. Stop eating at 8 pm and you can start with breakfast at 8 am the next day. Feel free to adjust the start. It is also the easiest to keep.
A 14-hour (14:10) fast is similar but pushes the time of breakfast. If you stop eating at 8 pm you can start at 10 am - later breakfast. You can have a light breakfast to prepare for lunch or regular and move lunch to afternoon.
A 16-hour (16:8) fast is usually done when you entirely skip breakfast or diner. Whichever feels more natural to your current schedule.
18 or 20-hour (18:6 or 20:4) fasts are for fasting professionals. They require previous experience with fasting. Your eating window will shorten to 6 or 4 hours. You should still eat all the nutrients and calories your body needs for healthy growth in this period. This method is closest to the lifestyle of prehistoric people who feasted for a short time after they found food but had to go for long periods without a meal.
Nutrilio also provides weekly fasting routines. This means you can dedicate one, two, or another number of days to your fast. During these days, you will limit your intake. You should still eat - but in moderation. Eat smaller portions or skip meals.
If you choose a daily or weekly routine, it's up to you. You can also set your custom fasts in both options.
Who should avoid fasting?
Eating is a human necessity, and every diet adjustment is an important decision. Fasting is not an exception. It is not for everybody. But there are certain circumstances where you should avoid fasting altogether.
Avoid intermittent fasting if you are:
- Suffer from eating disorder
- Under 18 years old
Disclaimer: Nutrilio is not a healthcare or medical service. You are fully responsible for your choices and their consequences. Always consult your dietary choices with a qualified healthcare provider.