Intermittent fasting or 18-hour fasting is a technique that includes consuming food within a span of six hours. Then, one must abstain from eating anything for the rest of the day. This is done with the aim to burn the excess fat accumulated in the body as energy reserves.
Scientists have been studying the effects of 18-hour fasting in overweight adults as well as rodents. They are noticing significant improvement in health across the spectrum. However, the possibility that weight reduction is the factor behind providing different health benefits remains an unleashed mystery.
Alternating between fasting and consuming edibles can have beneficial effects on cellular health as it triggers a switch in metabolism. This metabolic switching means the body cells are using up all the fuel source. They convert the body fat into energy a person consumes throughout the 18-hour fasting period.
Also Read: Mediterranean diet breakfast recipes
Advantages of Intermittent Fasting
The advantages of intermittent fasting goes beyond the realm of fat burning and metabolic switching. One can say, it increases longevity as it improves mental health and cardiac sufficiency. Moreover, 18-hour fasting significantly improves insulin resistance that balances the blood sugar levels in the body. A 2018 pilot study showed that three diabetic men stopped taking insulin once they adopted intermittent fasting. This result was highly contrasting to the belief that diabetes type 2 disease is not curable.
Another study suggested that the metabolic switch from intermittent fasting can decrease insulin resistance through the optimization of brain function. In addition, it enhances neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain for adapting to develop during whole life. Elder citizens that underwent intermittent fasting had better verbal memory in comparison to the control group.
Some individuals have also cited that 18-hour fasting has increased physical functionality of their bodies. A small study on young males doing intermittent fasting showed that they gained muscle mass and lost body fat.
Possible Side Effects
There is not a lot of data on the side effects of intermittent fasting on people. However, the data available shows that intermittent fasting did not cause any life-threatening effects on people adopting it.
Some people find it difficult to continue it for a long period as continuous dietary intake is a part of culture nowadays. Some people may find it hard to concentrate or relax during times of abstaining from food.
There are some methods through which you can do intermittent fasting.
Fast for Half Day
Start by abstaining from food for 12 hours. This is one of the easiest methods through which you can adapt yourself to intermittent fasting.
Some scientists believe that fasting around 12 to 16 hours can help the body metabolize the fat into energy. It introduces ketones into the blood which in return helps in weight loss. If you are a beginner to fasting, this method seems convenient. This is because you can spend the major portion of your fasting period in sleeping. So, technically you will only have to keep fast for around 3-4 hours maximum while you are awake.
Adapt the Leangains Diet
You can leave the window open for 8 hours to eat while you fast for the rest of the time in Leangains diet. However, the fasting hours decrease by an hour or two for females given their body requirements. If you want to advance your fasting routine, Leangains diet will help you. People usually skip their breakfasts and do not eat anything after 8 pm. The slot is open for snack time and lunch till supper where they can eat.
Studies have revealed this type of diet has protected the lab mice from different diseases. These diseases include inflammation, liver disease, diabetes, and obesity. The subjects were safe even if they ate food with no calorie restriction in the eating slot.
Fasting Twice a Week
People who follow this diet go on a calorie restriction for two days. They go for optimized healthy diet on the remaining days of the week. The calorie restriction falls to 600 kilocalories a day for males and 500 kilocalories for females in the diet method.
The two fasting days are generally not kept adjacent, rather they are spread to create a balance. A study on this diet showed that people with obesity tremendously lost their weight, thanks to this method. Moreover, this method sufficiently showed improved insulin sensitivity by reducing insulin levels in people with obesity.
Alternate Day Fasting
This fasting plan has a lot of variations in it. That is why it is equally interesting and challenging to keep up with it for some people. As the name indicates, there is a break day and a fast day that are adjacent to each other. This means the person on this diet will spend half of his or her week in fasting, or say calorie restriction. The other half is spent on consuming a normal, healthy diet. This, however, occurs in waves rather than in being continuous, that’s why the term alternate is important here.
People on the fasting date would have to go on a calorie restriction to 500 kilocalories. However, there is no limit to calorie consumption on the alternate days. A study suggests that alternative day fasting is highly advantageous for people wanting a better cardiac health. However, this kind of fasting is a challenging plan for most of the people. It is typically not favourable for patients having specific medical conditions. Keeping up in the long term is also hard as it affects the cooking routines and patterns of the individual. However, many people have started to adopt this technique.
All Day Fast
A person is not allowed to eat anything in this kind of fast. However, he or she can take teas and other drinks free of calories. This diet is suitable for doing once a week as it is quite challenging and demands perseverance from the person adopting to it. Some people can also do this fasting twice a week. In the Eat Stop Eat Diet, an individual will have to make sure not to eat anything from one specific meal throughout the day. That means not consuming food from dinner to dinner the next day, and same for other meals.
On the normal days of the week, a person can eat anything with no restrictions on the calories. Sticking to this diet does not restrict the person from taking any special food he or she wants to have.
Possible side effects of this kind of diet include fatigue, irritation, headaches, and migraines. Many people have suggested that this diet is hard to tolerate in the beginning, but with time, one can become easily adapted with time.
These are some of the ways through which you can carry out intermittent fasting. Going for 18-hour fasting with 6 hours in hand for eating is a conventional method which is also discussed here. However, we hope you read other similar routines to understand which one could work the best for you.