Should you do Intermittent Fasting? Just read this article till the end and you will get a clear cut answer. I will go through the advantages and disadvantages of intermittent fasting. Hello friends! Welcome to Be Healthy Be Fit.
First of all, intermittent fasting is not a diet but a dieting pattern in which there is a window where you can eat and there is a window where you have to fast. There are a lot of versions of intermittent fasting but the most common and the practiced one is the 16-8 method.
16-8 FASTING METHOD
In this method, you have to keep a fast for 16 hours where ideally you should not consume anything except water. But then you are allowed to have green tea and black coffee without sugar. And then comes the 8-hour window where you have to eat.
In these 8 hours, you have to finish your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You are free to choose the 8-hour window. It could be from 9 AM to 5 PM. Or it could be from 12 Noon to 8 PM. Or 2 PM to 10 PM. So, it is totally up to you as per your convenience.
HOW DOES INTERMITTENT FASTING WORK?
Now, how does intermittent fasting work? Actually, Intermittent fasting works as a shock for your body. When you do intermittent fasting, there are a lot of hormonal changes in the body that help you effectively lose body fat.
Before we discuss what actually we should eat in intermittent fasting, let’s talk about its advantages and disadvantages. Well, there are a lot of advantages of intermittent fasting.
First is that it drops the insulin level. Let’s understand it this way. When you are fasting for nearly 16 hours, there is nothing inside your body. So, your body starts utilizing your fat cells for energy. This is how you start reducing your fat.
Second is that IF(intermittent fasting) is known to increase your human growth hormone by as much as 5 times. There are a lot of benefits to a high human Growth Hormone.
The most important of all is that it increases your metabolism. The higher metabolism you will have, the faster will be your fat loss process. When you are fasting, your body tends to increase the cellular repair processes. For example, the removal of the waste from the cells is increased. Then studies in animals have shown that the IF increases the lifespan.
There have been a lot of studies done on different organisms especially rats and each study has shown a successful increase in lifespan. But the sad part is that there have been no studies done of humans as yet. However, scientists feel that humans would also get the same benefit.
Because there are a lot of positive hormonal changes that are taking place in like a decrease in insulin and an increase in HGH. Studies have shown that it has long term health benefits. It can keep you away from diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.
Most importantly, IF you are eating in an 8-hour window. So, there are more chances of you staying in a calorie deficit. If you are looking to cut some fat from your body the most important thing that you should do is stay on a calorie deficit. This is where IF is very useful.
So, you can easily go below your maintenance calories and lose a lot of weight. We have discussed the advantages that how great IF is.
Now let’s discuss some disadvantages. First of all, you have to keep fast for 16 hours. Are you prepared for it? Because there is a group of people who find it very difficult to get adapt to it. And then there is a group of people who say that it takes hardly 2-3 days to get used to it.
This depends on you. Because you are allowed to have black coffee in your fasting period, people over drink it many times. This in the long run can be harmful. One major problem which people generally face in IF is that they get obsessed with food.
All those 16 hours of the fasting period, some people tend to think about food all the time. Another side effect of IF could be a lack of sleep. Now, this could be because of the high intake of black coffee or hunger.
Overeating is also one problem that people generally face in IF. You have to understand one thing that in that 8 hours of window you have to stay in a calorie deficit. Just because you had 16 hours of fast, it does not give you a license to eat as much as you can in that 8-hour window.
I would suggest you to track your macros for at least a few days. After some days you will get an idea and then you would know that you are staying in a calorie deficit or not. Also, it is better to keep tracking your weight regularly(at the same time). If you weigh yourself today in morning 8 then tomorrow, the day after tomorrow you will have to weigh yourself in morning 8.
Some people may additionally face fatigue or lower energy levels. But all these disadvantages depend upon person to person. Some people say that IF has completely changed their life.
If you are tracking your macros then it is very important to weigh your food. How much you are eating 100 grams, 200 grams or 250 grams. We often don’t know how much we are eating. These are some weighing machines you can buy.
I personally use Amazon Basics. It is very accurate and easy to carry. It also has Tare option.
For Outside India
Now let’s talk briefly how you should eat in IF. My advice to you is that break your fast with fruits. Then in the 8-hour window, have 3-4 meals. Keep your meals high in protein, well balanced with complex carbohydrates, healthy fats mainly unsaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals. For more information, you can read my article Everything You Need To Know About Macro-Nutrients
Now, my last word is that IF is a completely safe way of eating. If you can practice it for the long term, then go for it. Because there is no point in doing IF for 2 weeks. Your weight will drop and then you come back to the same position. So, do what you enjoy and what best fits in your lifestyle and preferences.
Let me know if you have any doubts about intermittent fasting in the comments section. Please do not eat unhealthy food in that 8-hour window. Because you can eat unhealthy food and still stay in a calorie deficit but it will impact your health in the long run. So, friends, I hope you found this article helpful. Well, if you did, please do comment. Thank you so much for reading.