Intermittent fasting is a practice that consists of alternating periods of nutrition with periods of fasting. Let’s see together how to do it and the benefits and side effects! Intermittent fasting is one of the most widespread dietary trends, used for various purposes, such as losing weight or improving health.
Will it have any beneficial effects on the human body?
Table of Contents
Will Intermittent Fasting Be Effective For Weight Loss?
What Is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting (in English, ” intermittent fasting “) is a dietary model that involves alternating feeding periods with fasting periods. If we think about it, we all already follow a sort of intermittent fasting; after a period of feeding (usually during the day), night fasting always follows.
How Intermittent Fasting Works
There are several variants of intermittent fasting; in all cases, in the fasting phase, one must abstain from any food or drink except water and herbal teas, which are essential to avoid dehydration. How long to do intermittent fasting depends on your needs and goals, potentially even for life. Although it is recommended to consult a doctor or nutritionist before starting the intermittent fasting diet, to date, there are several applications for doing intermittent fasting that facilitate its performance.
Examples Of Intermittent Fasting
Depending on the objectives, needs, and sustainability of intermittent fasting, you can choose between various types; let’s see which are the main ones:
- 16/8 intermittent fasting: provides a feeding period of 8 hours and a fasting phase of 16 hours. The time slots can be freely chosen according to your needs, and an example could be to skip breakfast and eat in the time slot that goes from 13.00 to 21.00;
- 5/2 intermittent fasting: involves the intake of only 500-600 kcal for two days a week, not consecutive, and a regular diet in the remaining days;
- Eat-stop-eat: in this case, food abstinence is foreseen for 24 hours for 1 or 2 days a week, for example, starting from dinner the previous day until dinner the following day.
Also Read: Tips For Successful Fasting
Intermittent Fasting, The Hormonal Response
Fasting has several effects on the human body, some of which relate to the hormonal response. More specifically, the body prepares to facilitate access to fat stores to favor its fasting consumption and ensure survival. The growth hormone (GH) levels rise, which favors the mobilization of fats, while insulin levels drop dramatically, thus learning access to fat deposits.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting can have several health benefits, some direct and some indirect.
What are the main ones:
- Promotes weight loss without necessarily having to follow a diet
- counteracts insulin resistance
- lowers certain risk factors for inflammation and, consequently, the risk of developing chronic inflammatory diseases, such as neurodegenerative diseases or diabetes two and cancers
- Promotes longevity
Physical Activity And Intermittent Fasting
Whatever the type of intermittent fasting, in the fasting phases, it is not recommended to carry out physical activity, but you can devote yourself to light activities, such as:
- Non-intense walks
- daily living activities
- soft version of yoga
Supporters Of Intermittent Fasting
Many scientists have dealt with and support intermittent fasting; among them, it is undoubtedly worth mentioning Professor Umberto Veronesi and Professor Valter Longo. In particular, Veronesi promotes fasting on water only for 24 hours for one day a week, while Professor Valter Longo has been studying and supporting the power of the Fasting Mimicking Diet for decades, that is, a food protocol lasting five consecutive days which provides for the ‘food intake in ways that mimic the effects of a real fast.
Contraindications Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is certainly not suitable for everyone; in particular, if suffering from pathologies, health disorders, or eating disorders, it is strongly recommended to consult your doctor.
Among the main side effects, the following can occur:
- Sense of hunger
- Short temper