What is Intermittent Fasting & How to Start with it?

Intermittent fasting is one of the most famous health and fitness trends of our century. Backed up by extensive researches, intermittent fasting makes claims that regular fasting has not yet made. Conventional fasting procedures are all about which food items to eat and how much to eat. Intermittent fasting means, it simply focuses on when you eat, rather than what you eat. Below is a detailed guide about intermittent fasting, how to do it, its pros and cons, what to eat during intermittent fasting and everything else you might need.

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What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting means at irregular intervals while fasting means abstaining from eating or drinking. So, putting these words together, means fasting and feeding at particular periods. It varies from conventional fasting in the sense that here time of eating is altered rather than what a person eats. In most conventional diets, diet plans are made that minimize the diet taker’s calorie intake in order to achieve results, most commonly of weight loss. Intermittent fasting aims at the same goal, while covering many other arenas along the way. 

How To Do Intermittent Fasting – Beginner Guide

Intermittent fasting, like most other diet trends, is a slow process. It is advisable not to start with extreme fasts from the very beginning. People who are new to this should take baby steps in inculcating this routine. 

For starters, the beginners should start with easy diets. This means that they should fast for a few hours and then eat in some and then fast again. Many people’s general dietary schedules often attribute to intermittent fasts. For instance, if you eat dinner at 8pm every day and then directly eat breakfast at 11 in the morning, that means you have fasted for 15 hours straight. 

After doing such hourly fasts for singular days, you can move up to fasting for whole days and then eating on other. It is advisable not to start with these full day fasts, unaccustomed with the hourly fasts. 

What to Eat During This Fasting or Diet Plan?

Though intermittent fasting specifies only when to eat rather than what to eat, it is well suggested for the diet takers to limit their calorie intake during the eating days or hours. While fasting, only tea, coffee, or other beverages with zero or no calories are allowed. 

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has proved to be very beneficial for health. Lots of scientific research in the field back up these claims. 

  • Weight Loss – Weight loss can be considered the first and foremost reason why people get on diets. Like other diet plans, intermittent fasting also serves to the purpose. With intermittent fasting one can lose belly fat without even having to restrict a lot on the calorie intake.
  • Controlling Blood Sugar – Intermittent fasting is known to reduce to blood sugar levels by proactive production and proper use of insulin. It also reduces insulin resistance helping maintain the sugar levels.
  • Healthy Heart – Research shows that Intermittent fasting helps in maintaining a healthy heart, by maintaining insulin and cholesterol levels
  • Anti-Aging – Research has shown that intermittent fasting can help stay young for long and also increases lifespan.
  • Time Saver – Intermittent fasting saves time by reducing and restricting the eating hours, making days more productive for the fast takers.
  • Financially Viable – Intermittent fasting is not a exclusively rich people diet and doesn’t need a lot a monetary support of the taker to put it in place. The dietary requirement are also not very different from regular eating patterns, making it possible for anyone to take up.

Now all we know about the Intermittent fasting now, its time to understand the types. Specially, for a beginner you must have good knowledge about what type of fast you can do properly.

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Types of Intermittent Fasting

12 Hour Fasting

12 hour fasts are the optimal fasts to start with. Here the taker fasts for 12 hrs and then eats in the remaining 12 hrs. this is the easiest time of intermittent fasting and can be done by most people

16-8 Diet

The 16 – 8 diet, as the name shows, includes dieting for 16 hours and eating for 8. The 16 hours include the night’s sleep as well making it a not so tedious job. Research shows that fasting for 16 hours makes the body use its fat reserves for the required energy, burning fat and helping in weight loss. 

5:2 Diet

The 5-2 diet is a weekly diet plan that includes fasting for 2 days of the week and eating for the remaining 5. During the two fasting days, the calorie intake should be minimised. The suggested calorie intake is 600 calories for men and 500 calories for women. 

Bottom Line

All the above are just advisories or commonly followed practices. It is suggested to consult a doctor before embracing any of the diet plans. Intermittent diet is not advisable for children, old age people or pregnant women. The diet should be done in the comfort of the doer and they should not over exhaust themselves.

FAQ’s

Ques 1. Is 12 hours enough for intermittent fasting?

Ans. To start with, 12 hours is good for intermittent fasting for beginners. But we should always try to get better and fast for longer hours over time

Ques 2. Can I drink liquids during intermittent fasting?

Ans. Yes, one can have coffee or tea or other low or zero calorie beverages during their fasting period.

Ques 3. Does sleep count as fasting?

Ans. Yes, sleeping counts as fasting. So if you sleep for 8 hours and fast for 4 hours each before and after sleeping, this makes it a 16:8 intermittent fasting pattern.

Ques 4. Can women do intermittent fasting?

Ans.  Women can do intermittent fasting. It is just not advisable for pregnant women to fast.

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