Imagine an eating plan that lets you eat anything you want and still promotes weight loss. All that you need to do is restrict your diet to a certain number of hours each day.
Sounds too good to be true?
Well, that’s the promise of intermittent fasting—and this article explains how a simple act of altering your eating times can significantly help you drop the extra fat and improve your health.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a practice of eating and fasting within specific time frames. It is an eating pattern based on when you eat rather than what you eat.
While it is often used interchangeably with the more broad term – caloric restriction, intermittent fasting is a slightly more specific approach. It requires you to dramatically reduce your calorie intake during certain intervals for a few weeks.
Over the past few years, intermittent fasting has become quite popular, with great support from medical professionals and celebrities alike. It is a simple approach that is different and exciting from the standard dieting methods.
With all that said, it is not simply about skipping meals, rather about devoting more attention to activities beneficial to your body instead of snacking anytime during the day.
By spacing out your meals, you are more likely to stick to a healthy eating pattern without depriving your body of nutrients or feeling hungry.
But can it stimulate weight loss? Let us find out!
How can intermittent fasting help you lose weight?
Intermittent fasting is an intelligent way to get lean without making drastic changes to your lifestyle. By simply restricting your eating window, you can burn fat without losing muscle. Besides, intermittent fasting keeps food from getting in the way of your exercise routine.
People often overlook the principle behind intermittent fasting. However, it is necessary to understand the various phases during a fast before undertaking one.
When fasting, our body goes through a series of changes through a fed-fast cycle. This process affects how we metabolize food and influences our overall health.
The fed state starts right at the moment we begin eating and continues for the next few hours. In this phase, our body digests and absorbs food. The carbohydrates are broken down to sugar glucose, which through the digestive tract assimilates into our bloodstream and reaches body cells to provide them with the power to function. It is not easy for our body to burn fat when we are in this state because of high insulin levels.
After being around 3 to 4 hours in the fed state, our body enters the subsequent post-absorptive fasting states, which last for 8 to 12 hours.
During the early fasting phase, our blood sugar and insulin start to decline, turning our body to glycogen (the stored glucose) for energy. Once the glycogen level depletes, the body uses the fat and muscle proteins to produce energy to fuel the cells.
After 12 hours, we enter the fasted state. Due to the low insulin levels, it is easier for our bodies to burn fat. Also, the extended absence of food allows our digestive system to rest and clean up.
As a routine practice, people do not wait for 12 hours to have their second meal, which results in many of us never reaching the fat-burning state. It is one of the reasons why people who follow intermittent fasting routine observe weight loss, among other health benefits.
If you are interested in shedding those extra pounds, then intermittent fasting may be a method worth considering. All you need is a certain level of commitment and dedication.
Consult the experts
Following this routine for a specific period can be rewarding to your health in numerous ways. Different fasting regimens can be effective for you in one form or another. Therefore, it is necessary to find a method that fits the needs and preferences of an individual.
Note that intermittent fasting is one of the most effective dieting techniques, but it may not suit everyone. Therefore, consult a professional before incorporating this change in your life or if you experience unusual or extreme symptoms after you start fasting.
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