Intermittent Fasting: What Is It, How Is It Beneficial & Should You Go For It?
Unlike other diets where you focus on what to eat, intermittent fasting is all about when to eat.
Among health freaks, intermittent fasting is quite a buzzword. In the present scenario, many are using it to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyles.
So, what exactly is intermittent fasting, how is it beneficial and whether it is good for you – Many such questions must be floating in your head. In this article, we have got Dr. Debraj Shome, Director of 'The Esthetic Clinics' to answer them all.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a natural state where the body stays hungry for 16 hours every day which is a fasting window and then you have to eat two-three meals within an eight hour window. This eating plan doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat. It is not a diet in the conventional sense but can more accurately be described as an eating pattern.
Should you go for Intermittent fasting?
According to Dr. Shome, if you are looking to become ‘Hulk Hogan’ or want to participate in a professional body-building competition then intermittent fasting is not for you. In this case, your body needs to be in an anabolic state so that you can put on lots of muscles. An anabolic state is one where your body is building and repairing muscle fibres, not breaking them down. Moreover, if you are diabetic or suffering due to any other health problem, you should first consult a doctor before trying intermittent fasting.
But if you are living a sedentary lifestyle and want to reduce body fat, get ripped, and want to become fit, then intermittent fasting is certainly for you.
How is Intermittent fasting beneficial?
When you don’t eat for a while, several changes start happening in your body. For example, it starts making stored body fat more accessible and initiates important cellular repair processes.
Dr. Shome explains some of the changes that occur in our body due to Intermittent fasting.
1. Insulin Levels drop - Intermittent fasting leads to the lowering of Insulin levels. Insulin is the hormone that contributes to weight gain so when it drops you start losing weight.
2. Human growth hormone levels increase - Intermittent fasting causes human growth hormone levels to increase dramatically. Growth hormone is responsible for growing your lean body mass and as the level of this hormone goes up, you start appearing more vibrant, intelligent, and awake. Moreover, growth hormone keeps your lean body mass the way it is supposed to be.
3. Body fat reduction - According to some studies, intermittent fasting causes you to lose body fat between 3% - 24% over a period of four-six months. So, while it reduces your body fat, it also helps you to maintain muscle mass which is not the case in other diets. The only thing you need to continue doing while on intermittent fasting is exercising.
If your exercise schedule is in the morning, then you are actually working out while fasting. Your glycogen levels would have been reduced overnight and then when you work out, your fat enters ketosis (a metabolic state in which your body uses fat as its main energy source) to keep the blood sugar levels normal and that leads to the reduction of fat. Moreover, as you are using your body weight during a workout, it also keeps your lean body mass maintained.
Intermittent fasting has different effects on different people so it’s always good to consult a doctor before you start following this eating plan.
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