Keeping unwanted weight at bay is one of the more difficult things a person can do. Some have resorted to all sorts of unhealthy practices that do more harm than good. That is why we have to be extra careful with how we manage our eating habits.
This is where IF comes in. IF stands for Intermittent Fasting. It has been around for a while but it just became huge recently. This type of weight management is pretty straightforward. As the name suggests, one basically does not eat at certain intervals. In other words, it does not focus on food restriction but on the time WHEN a person eats.
According to multiple research, for as long as you stick with a healthy way of doing it, fasting does have its upside which includes:
· Weight loss: As mentioned above, intermittent fasting can help you lose weight and belly fat, without having to consciously restrict calories.
· Insulin resistance: Intermittent fasting can reduce insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar by 3–6% and fasting insulin levels by 20–31%, which should protect against type 2 diabetes.
· Inflammation: Some studies show reductions in markers of inflammation, a key driver of many chronic diseases.
· Heart health: Intermittent fasting may reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood sugar and insulin resistance — all risk factors for heart disease.
· Cancer: Animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting may prevent cancer.
· Brain health: Intermittent fasting increases the brain hormone BDNF and may aid the growth of new nerve cells. It may also protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
· Anti-aging: Intermittent fasting can extend lifespan in rats. Studies showed that fasted rats lived 36–83% longer.
So how exactly do you go about IF? There are three ways to do so:
· The 16/8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast or just having fruits to start the day and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
· Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
· The 5:2 diet: With this methods, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
Fact: Most people stick with the 16/8 method because it is the easiest to track and stick to.
Take note that IF is not for everyone. The following are discouraged from taking the IF route to weight management:
– You are underweight or have a history of eating disorders
– Women with irregular menstruation.
– Women trying to conceive
– Women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding