How can Intermittent Fasting help your Health?

We explore the benefits and limitations of intermittent fasting, the new nutritional theory with the potential to blow all other diets out of the water!

Intermittent Fasting: Is It For You?

Breaking the cycle of thinking you can’t take the occasional break from eating

Tempting foods surround us daily. This makes losing those extra pounds rather difficult. Trying numerous fad diets, we fail to see the quick weight loss promised by them. However, rising up to the challenge, intermittent fasting provides a different solution.

Moving away from traditional diet plans, intermittent fasting promotes a change in your eating pattern. Fasting expert Brad Pilon states that:

“It’s more about breaking the cycle of thinking you can’t take the occasional break from eating.”

It involves a reduction in the time spent eating each day. For example, eating your last meal of the day before 8PM.

What are the Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

A range of research has investigated intermittent fasting. The benefits it has for issues such as obesity, diabetes, and even cancer has subsequently been revealed.

Making its debut into the world of fitness, intermittent fasting appears to assist weight loss. Science shows general calorie intake is reduced whilst metabolic rate increases. As a result, fats break down faster.

Randeep Rehal, 21, says:

“Since beginning intermittent fasting, I no longer feel bloated. I am eating at the times that feel right for me, and now my stubborn stomach fat is disappearing!”

Not only is intermittent fasting a tool for steady weight loss, celebrities also use it to get into character. Randeep Hooda underwent a dramatic body change using fasting for the film Sarbjit. Clearly both the world of science and Bollywood approves!

Intermittent fasting boasts another benefit. It helps to reduce the risk factors for certain diseases. The development of type 2 diabetes has become common within the Asian community.

Speaking to the BBC, director of research at Diabetes UK, Iain Frame, stated:

“We know that people from South Asian backgrounds can often be living with the condition for around 10 years before they are diagnosed.”

Contributing to this, the prevalence of saturated fat-filled diets, environmental urbanisation and air pollution increasing insulin resistance. Therefore, actively finding ways to reduce the risk is key.

Research has shown that the fasting insulin of intermittently fasting humans was reduced by 20-31%. Thus, fasting can act as a protective factor from type 2 diabetes. This can help high risk individuals. Particularly those who have high insulin resistance and excess levels of insulin.

Case studies have also revealed that cancer patients report fewer side-effects from chemotherapy when short-term fasting. They noticed reductions in fatigue, weakness and gastrointestinal problems.

Therefore, intermittent fasting can potentially support those dealing with the negatives of chemotherapy. However, further research is necessary.

What are the Concerns?

The bingeing nature of intermittent fasting has raised worries. Individuals may begin to eat without restraint. This behaviour can trigger past eating disorders, leading to an unhealthy extreme of fasting.

Further concerns arise around obsessional behaviour. Individuals often begin to obsess over the thought of eating when they are fasting. Komal Sharma, 26, says:

“Though I noticed results, I would often find myself counting down the hours and minutes till I could eat again. This made the process far from enjoyable.”

Therefore, it is important that individuals maintain a healthy mental state. Deeming the fasting period as deprivation will simply hinder successful intermittent fasting.

How to Get Started

Reading the benefits, intermittent fasting might just be worth the try. However, the prominent role of eating in society doesn’t make commitment easy. Therefore, creating a plan could perhaps help. Here are a few tips:

  • We recommend prepping meals beforehand. Making 3-4 nutritious meals will ensure that you eat healthily and stay fuller for longer.
  • Ease into reducing your eating time each day. For example, cutting out an hour each day until you reach your desired time.
  • Stay hydrated throughout your day. Ideally drink 2 litres of water. This is not only a healthy habit but will help prevent snacking.

Considering the evidence, intermittent fasting seems to produce promising results. However, it is important to note that fasting is not for everyone. Ensure that you consult your doctor. Cutting down consumption can be fatal for those with low blood sugar levels or a past of eating disorders.

With any eating regime, it is important to do what feels right. Intermittent fasting can work wonders for some but not for others. So take your time to do your research to get the best results.

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Priya is a Psychology graduate who is passionate about fitness, fashion and beauty. She loves keeping up to date with the latest news on health, lifestyle and celebrities. Her motto is: “Life is what you make it.”

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