What is Intermittent Fasting, and does it work?by Punctual Abstract
Intermittent fasting, it’s the dieting trend that seems to be popping up everywhere recently, and for good reason. Studies have shown that it can reduce inflammation and improve heart rate and blood pressure.
Others have shown that intermittent fasting can help those with trouble sleeping reset their circadian rhythm, the brain’s internal clock cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals.
So what is intermittent fasting?
It’s basically restricting eating to set times and alternating between feasting and fasting. There are numerous ways you can fast intermittently, but all of them have one thing in common: an extended period of time with zero calorie intake.
In addition to reducing inflammation, improving heart rate and lowering blood pressure, intermittent fasting can help you lose weight. During the fasting state, the body begins burning the hard-to-target stored fat cells for energy.
Intermittent fasting has also been shown to increase muscle mass and enhance your metabolism so you more efficiently utilize the food you do eat for energy.
Here are a few approaches:
- 16:8 Method – Consume all food within an 8-hour window, giving your body a break from calorie intake and digestion for the remaining 16 hours. The most common method and the easiest, because for 8 of the 16 hours of fasting you are asleep.
- Alternate Day Fasting – Alternate between feasting and fasting days Fasting days restricted to 500 calories. Don’t count calories on feasting days. Considered the most difficult approach.
- 5:2 Diet – Two nonconsecutive days a week of 500 calorie intake, five days of normal, healthy food. Best for busy people. Particularly effective for mood and sleep health.
One things that’s exciting about intermittent fasting is that it may be tapping into an earlier, more natural state. Researchers theorize that hunters and gatherers naturally went through cycles of feasting and fasting, and that our bodies are more or less designed to do it.
But be warned: Intermittent fasting is not for everyone! Check with your healthcare provider before beginning any diet!
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