Blog The Definitive Guide to Intermittent Fasting Health Benefits
There are a lot of confusions about Intermittent Fasting Health Benefits. Some people think it’s 5:2 Intermittent Fasting, while others believe it has something to do with 16/8 Intermittent Fasting, and still others have no idea the impact it can have on their Health.
In this guide, I’ll explain which intermittent fasting is best, explain why it matters, and outline 10 main Intermittent Fasting Health Benefits
Intermittent Fasting Health Benefits
Intermittent Fasting has been shown to deliver a range of health benefits.
Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy? Here is what Research says:
Effectiveness of IF on obesity and weight loss:
Intermittent energy restriction may be an effective strategy for the treatment of overweight and obesity.
When you don’t eat for more than 8 to 10 hours, the body enters into a state of fasting.
At first, the body starts using stored sources of glucose. Later it breaks down body fat to use as the next source of energy. Using your body’s fat stores as an energy source can, in the long run, lead to weight loss.
You have to watch your calorie in and calorie out during a time-restricted feeding period.
What do the studies say?
Research shows that 16/8 Intermittent Fasting has visible health benefit in reducing body weight by 1% to 3% over a period of 2 to 16 weeks.
Few women having an average weight of 60 kg were assessed after alternate-day fasting, lost 1.5 to 2 kg weight in 3 weeks.
Improved heart health
Intermittent Fasting has proved to mitigate the risk factors involved in cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
What do the studies say?
Intermittent Fasting can significantly lower down LDL cholesterol, improve HDL cholesterol levels.
It minimizes inflammation, reduces free-floating radicals, reduces the resting heart rate and blood pressure, improves the cardiovascular stress-bearing capacity.
The oxidative stress, fibrosis, and inflammation in the ageing heart are reported to be reduced by IF.
Intermittent fasting works wonders with dealing with stress.
What do the studies say?
A review from 2019 reports that during intermittent fasting regimens, Cells throughout the bodies and brains of animals respond by adapting themselves to handle or tolerate stress.
Also, it was seen that this response is absent in persons who overeat and are sedentary.
Reduced risk of cancer
Calorie restriction (CR) prevents obesity and exerts anticancer effects.
What do the studies say?
Cancer cells are glucose loving and are inflexible to use an energy source other than glucose.
Fasting activates autophagy, in which healthy cells eat up weak and deceased cells.
This helps slow down the ageing process and has a positive impact on cell renewal. The scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi received the Nobel prize for this in 2016.
Research shows that the effect of IF in animals is as effective as chemotherapy in delaying the progression of a wide range of cancers.
Slower brain ageing
Intermittent fasting can slow the progression of ageing of the brain.
What do the studies say?
Emerging findings are revealing mechanisms by which IF may delay the onset and progression of the disease processes in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), or reduce their severity.
Also, Intermittent metabolic challenges (exercise, fasting, and intellectual challenges) strengthen brain health during Aging,
Whereas sedentary overindulgent lifestyles accelerate brain ageing and associated brain diseases
Physical and Cognitive Effects of Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting has a positive effect on the physical as well as cognitive capabilities of a person.
What do the studies say?
It is said that in animals and humans, physical function, balance, and coordination are improved with intermittent fasting.
Research released in 2016 says that Young men who fast daily for 16 hours lose fat while maintaining muscle mass during 2 months of resistance training
Variations of Intermittent Fasting
16:8 Intermittent Fasting
The 16/8 plan is also known as The Leangains protocol and was popularized by expert Martin Berkhan.
It involves fasting for 16-hours-a-day and eating in the other eight hours.
For example, if you eat dinner at 8 pm then you have to skip the next day breakfast and eat at 12 noon and 8 pm.
It doesn’t matter when you start your 8 hour eating period, do whatever works for you. I generally eat from 1 pm to 8 pm so that I can join my family and friends at lunch as well as dinner.
The 8-hour feeding window is unrestricted to the number of meals and the quantity of food you eat. However, it is recommended to take a healthy diet and avoid or minimize the consumption of junk food and empty calories.
As far as the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting method fares of weight loss benefit?
Well, it could work, research shows, incorporation of regular fasting intervals, and eating under normal daily circadian rhythms (i.e., daytime hours in humans) may be important for maintaining optimal metabolic function.
5:2 Intermittent Fasting
5:2 plan is a popular type of IF that includes having a normal diet for 5 days a week and restricting caloric intake for any two days of the week.
This plan is called “The Fast Diet “ and was popularized by British journalist Michal Mosely.
The goal of the 5:2 method is to reduce the caloric intake of any 2 days of the week to 25% of a person’s daily energy requirements.
For example, If you’re a regular caloric intake for 5 days at 2000 calories per day, then on 2 fasting days you would be consuming 500 calories.
It is recommended for women to eat 500 calories and males to eat 600 calories on fasting days. Also, it is better to eat 2 small meals (250 calories per meal for women and 300 calories for men ).
You can also plan your fasting days to be non-consecutive. For example, You might take a normal diet every day of the week but skip Mondays and Thursdays.
Eat-stop -Eat plan involves 24 hours fast either once or twice a week.
For example, you may eat dinner at 7 pm and then fast until 7 pm the next day.
This plan was popularized by fitness expert Brad Pilon.
You can plan the 2 day fasting days to be non-consecutive. For example, if you eat daily in a week but skip Monday if fasting once a week or Monday and Thursday if planning to fast twice a week.
The downside of this method is that it is quite difficult to follow long term for many people. However, you do not need to plan this method right away. Starting with 14-16 hours and then gradually increase your fasting window from there.
In alternate day fasting, one eats not more than 500Kcal, every other day, and the rest of the days eat a normal diet.
There are different variations of this fasting. Some of the versions allow intaking 500 calories on fasting days while some encourage eating even zero or close to zero calories on fasting days. While some encourage eating even zero or close to zero calories on fasting days.
Studies say that self-reported hunger on fasting days was considerable and did not decrease over time, suggesting that alternate-day fasting may not be a feasible public health intervention.
Who Should not Try For Intermittent Fasting Health Benefits?
Although numerous studies show that intermittent fasting can have powerful benefits for your body and brain, but it is still not for everyone. You should avoid doing variations of fasting if you are
- Insulin-Dependent Diabetics or Type -1 Diabetes
- Endurance Athletes
- People with a History of Disordered Eating like anorexia and bulimia
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- New to diet and exercise
- Chronically stressed
- Under 18 years of age
16/8 Diet Plan To Maximise Intermittent Fasting Health Benefits
Easier said than done! Most people who do Fasting do not pay much attention to following a healthy Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan, and they struggle with this concept. As a result, its effect usually is not visible or you may become inconsistent.
Here I am giving an example of a vegetarian meal plan you can use for reference to create your own customised Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan.
You may include food high in protein, fibre, healthy fats and omega fatty acids, wholesome grains and pulses.
You may also enjoy having spiced coffee to satisfy your taste buds during the fasting period. Tea should be no problem either.
Intermittent Fasting Rules
Stay away from simple carbohydrates. It includes processed and refined sugars and grains.
Instead, intake complex carbohydrates (starches) and naturally occurring sugars. Eat a plant-based diet such as fruits, vegetables, lentils, whole grains, also, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Stay active and relaxed. Be active throughout your day. Build muscle tone, strengthen your core, stretching, and relaxing exercises.
Begin with a simple form of intermittent fasting. Cut off the hours of the day when you eat, and for the best impact, make it prior in the day (between 7:30 am to 2:30 pm, or even 10 am to 6 pm, however unquestionably not in the night before bed).
Avoid nighttime snacking, all the time. Also, avoid snacking between meals. let the fat burn during the gap between your meals.
Stay Hydrated. When you do not eat, sometimes you forget to drink, so it is necessary to avoid dehydration by drinking, on average, 3-4 litres of water.
Intermittent Fasting Health Benefits FAQ
Does intermittent fasting really work in weight loss?
Research shows that intermittent fasting programs can reduce body weight and body fat.
Alternate-day fasting has been shown to reduce body weight by 3%-7% and 3-5.5kg body fat in 3-12weeks
The eat-Stop-Eat method, fasting once a week for 12 to 24 weeks reduces body weight by 3% to 9%.
What is the best schedule for intermittent fasting?
If you eat dinner at 8 pm then you have to skip the next day breakfast and eat at 12 noon and 8 pm. It doesn’t matter when you start your 8 hour eating period, do whatever works for you, but definitely not in the evening before bed.
How do I get the most out of intermittent fasting?
During fast, stay active and relaxed. During the eating window, stay away from simple carbohydrates, intake complex carbohydrates (starches), and naturally occurring sugars. Eat a plant-based diet such as fruits, vegetables, lentils, whole grains, also, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Should a woman fast?
Yes. While men’s fasting will typically last for 16 hours and then eat for 8 hours, women may find better results by eating for 10 hours and fasting for 14 hours. The best advice I can give anyone, not just women, is to experiment and see what works best for you. Your body will give you signals
Can you lose belly fat by intermittent fasting?
In a study, Intermittent fasting combined with moderate-intensity exercise (more than 3 times a week) shows positive results in a reduction of fat mass, and waist circumference, while maintaining lean mass. Research shows that 4-7% of the belly circumference can be lost during fasting.
Does fasting Cause Muscle Loss?
No. Intermittent Fasting has been shown to reduce body weight by 3%-7% and 3-5.5kg body fat in 3-12weeks without losing lean mass. Still, you should include protein in your diet regularly on the days you are not fasting.
How Long does it take to See Results?
It takes 3-12 weeks for the body to respond and show the desired results.
How do you do intermittent fasting?
You may start with 16 8 fastings while continuing your natural rhythm and gradually increase the fasting window to 14-16 hours and squeezing the eating window to 8-10 hours.
Give time to your body to adapt to this eating pattern. When you feel comfortable with 16:8 fastings, you may start with advanced Intermittent fastings such as 5:2, Eat-Stop=Eat method, or Alternate Day Fasting.
Research shows that advanced intermittent fasting (5:2, Eat-Stop=Eat method, or Alternate Day fasting) should not be followed longer than 4 to 12 weeks.
If you do them maybe a few times a year then that’s already enough as long as you eat in moderation.
You should be comfortable in whatever method you follow and joyfully experiment with different approaches.
You should understand that every person has his own biological rhythms. So, no need to compare yourself to what others can do, and observe, accept, and respect what your body says to you. Find something that you enjoy and fits your schedule.
Please keep in mind the importance of consulting with a doctor before beginning any diet. Under no circumstances would we urge you to use any of the methods described above without consulting with a professional beforehand. This information is based on research and provided for informational purposes only.
The world is getting aware of the benefits of Intermittent fasting rapidly.
Amongst various variations, 16:8 intermittent fasting is the most popular one. In this method, you fast for 16-hours-a-day and consume multiple meals in the other eight hours.
It has many proven health benefits such as Effectiveness on obesity and weight loss, improved heart health, stress resistance, reduced risk of cancer, slower brain ageing, physical and cognitive effects.
More importantly, it can increase both the quality and longevity of your life.