One eating plan that has been getting a lot of press lately is the idea of Intermittent Fasting. There are multiple ways of following an intermittent fasting plan. Intermittent fasting alternates between periods of eating and periods of restricting or eliminating food. These periods of not eating can vary in length but most involve at least 12 hours without any food.
Fasting has been a part of human evolution. Ancient hunter-gatherers were sometimes forced into fasting because they couldn’t find anything to eat. This lack of reliable food sources forced the body to evolve to be able to handle periods without food.
There are multiple methods used when people are practicing Intermittent Fasting. Some of the more popular methods include:
The 16/8 method: In this method, you skip breakfast and restrict your eating window to only 8 hours. During the other 16 hours of the day, you abstain from eating.
Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves not eating for a continuous 24 hours period once or twice a week.
The 5:2 method: With this method, you eat normally for 5 days of the week but consume only 500–600 calories on the other two days of the week. People usually adjust their days of restriction based on their schedules.
These shorter eating periods combined with calorie restriction has been shown to lead to weight loss. Other health benefits of intermittent fasting include:
- Levels of Human Growth Hormone increase which leads to better fat loss and muscle gain.
- Insulin levels drop and insulin sensitivity level increase. Lower insulin levels make stored body fat more accessible.
- Cellular repair is improved.
- Weight loss can occur.
If you want to try this style of eating, be sure to listen to your body. If you are feeling faint or sick, it is time to give your body some nourishment.