Intermittent fasting is the craze in the lifestyle and fitness world. It’s not meant to be a diet, instead it’s a way of eating. There are multiple ways you can do intermittent fasting and a variety of different claims about it. Today we go through whether or not you should give intermittent fasting a go.
First of all, what exactly is intermittent fasting? Put simply, intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between fasting and eating. Rather than placing restrictions on what you eat, it determines when you eat. Arguably the most common form of intermittent fasting involves 16 hour fasts and 8 hour eating periods each day. For example, you might only eat from 12pm to 8pm.
Other forms of intermittent fasting are also popular but are more extreme. The 5:2 diet involves eating normally for 5 days of the week and then restricting calories to 500-600 on 2 days of the week. The Eat-Stop-Eat method involves a 24 hour fast once or twice a week. The Warrior Diet involves eating within a 4 hour period, fasting for most of the day and then feasting at night.
One of the common arguments for intermittent fasting explains that it changes the hormone levels in your body. As a result, your stored body fat is more accessible, your human growth hormone increases and your cells repair faster. Hence, people believe intermittent fasting can be an extremely effective tool for losing weight.
On the other hand, some people argue that the effectiveness of intermittent fasting stems purely from a calorie deficit. For instance, with 8 hour eating periods, you might be skipping breakfast or dinner. Or with something such as the 5:2 diet, calorie restriction is part of the regulations.
However, intermittent fasting has been attributed to a range of health benefits outside of weight loss. For instance, it has been said to reduce inflammation, be better for your heart and brain health, and extend your lifespan. Though this all sounds very promising, research in this area is still in early stages with most studies being small or conducted on animals rather than people.
Despite the range of different arguments, for the most part, intermittent fasting is worth trying. It’s a simple healthy lifestyle habit to stick to. You might not have to plan as many meals and you could cut your morning routine down if you intend to skip breakfast. After a few weeks, you can determine whether you like intermittent fasting or not. If you’re fit to try it, you have nothing to lose! (Except for weight.)
It’s important to note that specific groups of people should not try intermittent fasting. If you’re underweight or have had a history of eating disorders, intermittent fasting can definitely be detrimental for your wellbeing. Women with irregular cycles or fertility issues should also avoid intermittent fasting. If you have any health issues such as diabetes, checking with a doctor before trying intermittent fasting is definitely important.