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Intermittent Fasting: Everything You Need To Know

Supposedly, Intermittent fasting practice promotes weight loss. But is this true? Are there benefits to fasting? What is the best way to practice fasting?

If you also have these questions, read on. Let’s unravel this theme for you!

What Is Intermittent Fasting, And What Are The Types?

To practice intermittent fasting, it is necessary not to eat solid foods or even juices and soups for a period that varies between 16 and 32 hours a few times a week, on a scheduled basis, always returning to your usual diet, preferably based on foods with low sugar and fat content. 

Intermittent fasting today can be divided into two subclasses: alternate-day fasting and time-restricted eating. 

The most common practice is that of alternate days. In this practice, the individual eats every day, with the difference that on fasting days, eating a small meal with about 500 calories is advisable. 

Time-restricted fasting does not consider calorie restriction or changing dietary composition. Food is ingested at a certain time, usually 8, 10, or 16 hours a day.

An example is the restricted fasting method (the most used among the intermittent fasting proposals), which provides 16 hours of fasting followed by 8 hours of free food. Therefore, the protocol is known as 16 x 8. 

Sounds hard. Let’s better understand how schedules work in this fasting model. 

As the time of the night is also counted, a person who decides to follow this diet can have a meal at 4 pm, for example, and then have breakfast at 8 am. However, most people do the opposite, eat at night (for example, at 8 pm) and skip breakfast.

Other formats of this diet are more intense. There are reports of people who spend 18 hours fasting, restricting food to 6 hours. 

To achieve the benefits, one of the most common strategies to start the practice of this fast is to go without food for 14 or 16 hours, only ingesting liquids, such as water and natural unsweetened teas. 

The fasting period, or interval between meals, can be changed gradually until the desired time. 

It is important to remember that intermittent fasting does not start when we stop eating certain foods for some time but rather in preparing the body for the new rhythm of eating. 

Before starting the fast, eating low-carb foods is recommended; this helps reduce hunger during the fast.  

In the first 4 hours without food, the body uses the energy provided by the last meal. After this period, the body begins a process of autophagy. 

During this process, the energy source is provided by the body’s cells containing glucose. In theory, this favors fat burning.

Are There Benefits To Intermittent Fasting?

Undoubtedly, the largest number of people who seek intermittent fasting are looking for a good way to lose weight. But its results go far beyond aesthetics and the search for the ideal weight. 

Properly done fasting brings many health benefits and is a supportive treatment. Animal and clinical studies have shown that, over time, intermittent fasting has become a scientific practice to promote health and physical well-being. 

One of the effects of intermittent fasting is good performance in the aging process and longevity of patients. It reduces the production of free radicals responsible for cell degradation.

Other benefits of fasting are glycemic control, increased resistance to stress, and decreased inflammatory processes. Therefore, it can be indicated for people with metabolic diseases such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and neuro vegetative diseases.   

But after all, how does the body react during fasting? In this period of absence of solid food, cells activate mechanisms to increase defenses against oxidative processes and metabolic stress. 

Many of the cells are repaired. The defective cells, in turn, are eliminated from the body. In the fed state, cells work towards greater tissue accumulation and plasticity. 

Fasting And Slimming

We talk about the health benefits of fasting in general. However, many people seek this practice in an attempt to lose weight. Therefore, it is important to highlight that the practice of fasting itself does not lose weight. 

The research compared people who did a caloric restriction with and without fasting, and the result was the same. For considerable caloric loss, it is always important to practice fasting and physical exercises to eliminate body fat and readjust eating habits.

The difference between the two surveys was that not everyone managed to fast for a long time. The group studied kept fasting throughout the weight loss process, and few could maintain the fasting rhythm after one year. This happened less with the group that ate three meals daily but with food reeducation.

Therefore, regarding weight loss results, fasting is similar to dietary reeducation. But for most people, it’s really hard to maintain this habit for an extended period, which generates new weight gain or the accordion effect.  

However, those who adapt to fasting can develop more control over their appetite. This helps with the weight loss process. However, it is essential to follow up with a professional so that he can guide the meals and identify a possible slowdown in the metabolism.

Also Read: Intermittent Fasting: What Is It, Benefits And Care


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