When most people think of “intermittent fasting,” they only think of starvation and tend to ignore the health benefits. Research studies reveal that reducing your daily calorie intake by 20 to 40 percent is an effective way to lose weight, improve cardiovascular, boost metabolism health, and prevent disease. However, most people find it difficult to eat less during the day, especially if their daily diet consists of eating five to six meals every two to three hours. Realistically, who would want to feel ‘hangry’? So before you adopt a new diet regimen, intermittent fasting, here’s what you need to know.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting (IF) involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating.
This eating system typically focuses on when to eat, not necessarily what to eat.
There are several different methods of intermittent fasting, but most people use the 16/8 method.
The 16/18 method consists of eating during an 8-hour period and fasting for 16 hours.
During the 8-hour eating period, you can eat high protein, low carb meals. Also, you can snack on fruits and nuts to help you stay fuller for longer.
However, during the 16-hour period, you must avoid food and only consume water, tea, coffee, and non-caloric beverages. During this process do not drink caffeine in the evenings. You want to sleep for 8-hours or more to help maximize your weight loss results.
After about 2-3 days of completing the 16/8 method, some people then fast for 24-hours at least twice a week.
Overall, fasting can improve and prevent various health risk:
- Prevent obesity
- Reduce blood sugar and insulin levels
- Lower risk of type 2 Diabetes
- Increase human growth hormones (anti-aging hormones)
- Help prevent Cancer and Alzheimer’s disease
- Increase heart health
- Help increase brain function
Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan
Here are the most popular intermittent fasting methods, per Healthline:
- 16/8 method: As mentioned previously, you fast for 16 hours and only eat between noon and 8pm.
- 5:2 method: Pick two days out of the week where you only consume 500-600 calories.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: Once or twice a week don’t eat anything for 24-hours. For example, don’t eat for 24 hours on Monday and Thursday.
If you have any medical issues, please consult with your physician before starting a new diet regimen. It’s always important to find the diet regimen that works best for you.