The idea of intermittent fasting has become popular in recent years. Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that does not restrict what you eat but instead limits when you eat. It consists of cycles of fasting and eating. You can perform intermittent fasting in various ways, including 16:8 fasting, 5:2 fasting, an alternate date fasting, etc.
You can burn fat by eating one meal a couple of days a week or fasting for a certain number of hours each day. Through intermittent fasting, your body has a longer period when it is burning fat after burning through the calories you consumed during your last meal. Also, there is evidence that intermittent fasting promotes health benefits, including improvement of arthritis, heart disease, asthma, brain health, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, prevention of certain types of cancer, and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, this diet provides an anti-aging effect.
You can follow intermittent fasting in several different ways, but they all revolve around choosing regular times to eat and fast. The most popular approaches to intermittent fasting involve:
- 5:2 fasting. It involves fasting two days a week and eating normally five days a week.
- Alternate-day fasting. This type of intermittent fasting involves eating a standard diet for one day and either entirely fast or having one small meal (less than 500 calories) the next day.
- Daily time-restricted fasting. Consume normal amounts of food within an eight-hour window each day.
During your fasting time, you can drink water, tea, coffee, and other non-caloric beverages. Also, milk and cream in small amounts may be fine. Furthermore, it is particularly beneficial to drink coffee during a fast since it can reduce hunger.
It is beneficial to check with your doctor before beginning intermittent fasting.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women and those who are trying to conceive need to avoid intermittent fasting. Also, this diet is not acceptable for young children and teens, people experiencing weakness, people with immunodeficiencies, current or past eating disorders, dementia, underweight people, women with a history of amenorrhea, people with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, problems with blood sugar regulation, low blood pressure, people with a history of traumatic brain injury or post-concussive syndrome. People who experience extreme hunger, nausea, irritability, headaches, fatigue, and faintness during intermittent fasting also should avoid this diet pattern.
How to avoid possible nutritional deficiencies
There are no possible nutritional deficiencies if you eat a balanced diet because intermittent fasting limits the time when you can eat rather than restricting the food that you can eat.
Tips on improving dieting experience
- Avoid obsessing over food. Fasting days should be filled with distractions so that you do not think about food, such as going to a movie or catching up on paperwork.
- Count your calorie intake. If your fasting plan allows some calories during the fasting period, you should choose nutrient-dense foods rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fat (for example, fish, lentils, nuts, beans, eggs, and avocado).
- Stay hydrated. You should drink lots of water and non-caloric drinks, including herbal tea, during the day.
- Rest and relax. Although light exercise such as yoga may benefit during the fasting day, you should avoid strenuous activities.
- Improve the taste without calories. You can season your meals with herbs, garlic, vinegar, and spices. The listed foods are full of flavor and incredibly low in calories.
Intermittent fasting focuses on restricting the time when you can eat rather than the foods which you eat. There are many various approaches for intermittent fasting, and there is no single diet plan that will work equally for everyone. However, intermittent fasting is not suitable for a person who is susceptible to eating disorders. In addition, you should remember that fasting for extended periods if your body is unprepared may be problematic regardless of the type of your fasting plan.