Fitness Last updated on 2021-02-26 20:39:46
Can Intermittent Fasting Help In Weight Loss?
- Dt. Parvathy Menon
- 4 Min Read
There’s an opportunity wherein one can consciously fast in a controlled way in order to lose weight and improve overall wellbeing, and that fasting technique is called intermittent fasting. Just by making some minor adjustments to your meal timings, you’ll observe amazing health benefits. There are quite a few notions around intermittent fasting. Here, we attempt to do an objective myth vs facts analysis of this practice. Intermittent fasting ( IF) is an eating pattern that switches between fasting and eating on a regular schedule. In this technique, you only eat during a specific time and fast for a certain number of hours each day. There are several methods of this eating pattern.
Time-restricted eating (16:8 or 14:10 method)In this method, you fast every day for 16 hours /14 hours and restrict your daily eating window to 8 hours/ 10 hours. For example, you finish your last meal at 8 p.m. and don’t eat until 12 noon/10 am the next day, you’re technically fasting for 16 hours /14 hours.
The 5:2 method (twice a week method)This approach to IF focuses on restricting your calories at 500 kcal for two days a week, whereas, during the other five days of the week, you maintain a healthy and normal diet. On fasting days, you include a 200-calorie meal and a 300-calorie meal which is high in fibre and protein content which helps to fill you up.
Alternate-day intermittent fastingAs the name implies, here you fast or severely restrict your calorie intake on alternate days and maintain a healthy and normal diet, the other days.
One meal a day diet (OMAD)Here you limit your eating window to just one hour each day and fast for the remaining 23 hours. This is an extreme type of intermittent fasting and it can be an effective weight-loss strategy for some people, but it could also have side effects such as fatigue, headaches, irritability, hunger and low energy.
Here are some of the common myths associated with intermittent fastingMyth 1- You can eat whatever you want, as long as it is within the eating window. Fact- This can be devastating to your goals, because eating whatever you want during your eating window, can really confuse your body. There could be a rapid spike in your blood glucose levels and the hormone that lowers sugar which can really quick shift into storing more. For example, if you break the fast with a packet of cookies or a bowl of cornflakes, you are basically undoing all the amazing work that you just did with intermittent fasting, by then causing a surge in your glucose levels. Instead, you could grab a fruit or have a glass of lemon juice along with nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios to break the fast. Myth 2- Fasting means starvation. Fact- This is not true. Starving means depriving yourself of nutrients and you end up being malnourished. When you do IF you end up with a higher level of health because you are also eating in between the fasting period. Myth 3- You will feel hungry. Fact- No you will not! Especially once you become more metabolically flexible and your body is actually able to use fat as fuel. It is eating that triggers hunger and not fasting. When you gorge on refined, processed and sugary food, your glucose levels can spike and crash throughout the day. Eat a clean diet first. Once your glucose and the hormone that lowers sugars levels start to stabilize, then your body is prepared to try periods of intermittent fasting. If your diet is poor and then you try to fast, it might increase your cravings and hunger and you may never try it again. Myth 4- Fasting can mess up your hormones. Fact- IF is actually good for your hormones. You are not starving your hormones of nutrients when you are fasting. You are eating healthy, and your body starts conserving and recycling nutrients which is very good for hormonal health and the endocrine system. Myth 5- Fasting ruins your metabolism. Fact- What ruins your metabolism is higher levels of the hormone that lowers sugar, which is a fat-storing hormone that prevents you from losing weight. IF lowers this hormone and will improve your metabolism greatly. Myth 6- Blood glucose might drop too low. Fact- IF helps in stabilizing glucose levels and this even helps in the reversal of chronic conditions like diabetes. Abnormally low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) is only a precaution in diabetics if they are taking medications that lower glucose. In such cases, you may want to start off with shorter interval fasts while keeping a check on your glucose levels. Glucose-lowering medications can be drastically reduced by your diabetologist when there is a consistent improvement in your blood glucose readings. Myth 7- IF causes muscle loss. Fact- IF will not cause muscle loss if you make sure that you are eating well as per your goals, within the eating window. This is because of the increased levels of human growth hormone (HGH) that occurs during the fasting period. HGH promotes muscle growth, bone health and fat loss. Myth 8- You should not workout while fasting. Fact- IF when combined with proper exercise can assist you in reaching your goals. Actually, the best time to work out is on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. This way you will be burning the fat already stored in your body instead of the calories from what you've just consumed. Make sure to drink sufficient amounts of water before, after and during exercise to replace fluids lost during exercise. As you can clearly see, there are immense benefits that you can reap with practising intermittent fasting. So, this year could just be right to make a very doable resolution to embark on a journey of intermittent fasting that cannot just better your appearance but also boost your health, immunity and overall well being. If you have any queries related to intermittent fasting or need a diet plan for a specific cause, you can reach out to our dietitians of the MFine app.
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