Fasting is defined as a time period in which you do not eat. A popular dietary trend embraced by many is “intermittent fasting.” It is an eating plan that switches between fasting and eating on a regular schedule.
What exactly is intermittent fasting, how does it work? Here are the key things you need to know about it.
- Know what it is.
Diets are usually based on what you eat, but intermittent fasting is based purely on when you eat. Under intermittent fasting, you only eat during a specific time. You fast for a certain number of hours each day or eat just one meal a couple days a week. In this process your body will tend to burn fat. Experts on the process have stated that our bodies have evolved to be able to go without food for many hours, a day, several days or longer. In the tribal “hunters and gatherers” experience, humans thrived while not eating for extended periods of time. Food had to be hunted, or gathered, and that took time. In our modern times, food is accessible 24/7, and our lifestyles are much more sedentary, which supports a constant intake of food. Extra calories and less activity can mean a higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses. Scientific studies are showing that intermittent fasting may help reverse these trends.
If someone is eating constantly then every time they eat, they’re running on those calories and not burning their fat stores. In Intermittent Fasting, there are hours without food and in those times, the body exhausts its sugar stores. It works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat instead.
- Pick your plan.
You may want to consult your doctor before you start and customize a plan to augment your health needs, or restrictions. At that point, you can construct your specific plan several ways. They are all based on choosing regular time periods to eat and periods to fast. A popular method is to try eating only during an eight-hour period each day and fast for the remainder. Another way would be to eat only one meal a day two days a week. You may choose longer periods without food, such as 24, 36, 48 and 72-hour fasting periods. These may be dangerous, however. Your body might also start storing more fat in response to starvation.
Expert research shows that it can take two to four weeks before the body becomes accustomed to intermittent fasting. The challenge is to stay with the plan until it becomes a habit, at that point, you feel better and thereby motivated for the long term.
While the plan is based on when you eat, there should be some sensibility in what you eat as well. During the times when you’re not eating, water and zero-calorie beverages such as coffee and tea are legitimate consumables. When you are in your eating periods, pick a range of different foods to be eaten — and enjoyed. The Mediterranean diet is a great choice of what to eat: complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats and lean protein.
- Know the potential health benefits.
Intermittent fasting has worked as well as caloric based diets in terms of weight loss. In intermittent fasting, this weight loss may be accomplished by lowering insulin levels. The body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which cells use for energy or convert into fat and store for later use. Insulin is a hormone that allows cells to take in glucose. Insulin levels drop when a person is not consuming food. During a period of fasting, it is possible that decreasing insulin levels causes cells to release their glucose stores as energy.
Medical professionals report that intermittent fasting can help prevent heart disease. It could lead to a reduction in blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat present in the blood that has links to heart disease. Intermittent fasting may also benefit brain health by preventing inflammation which has links to neurological conditions. It also has been shown to have a positive effect on thinking and memory. Studies discovered that intermittent fasting boosts working and verbal memory. Me have found an increase in physical performance. Young men who fasted for 16 hours showed fat loss while maintaining muscle mass.
- Know how to customize it.
Many experts feel that women should take a more relaxed approach to fasting than men. This may include shorter fasting periods, fewer fasting days or consuming a small number of calories on the fasting days.
- Know how maximize it with your infrared sauna experience.
It is a fact that intermittent fasting and infrared sauna use are effective in helping you shed off those unwanted pounds on their own. But what if you combine the two? It is safe to use the sauna while fasting. Experts recommend that you do your sauna sessions at the end of the first three-hour period after you have eaten and are now fasting. This cycle is the detoxification period. This is when your body will promote weight loss and expels wastes and toxic materials from your body. When your body goes through this process, the high temperature inside the sauna will promote sweating and enhance the detoxification cleansing process, thereby improving the weight loss process. You should not go in the sauna on a completely empty stomach, nor when you are completely full. If you feel that you must eat right before a sauna session, then try a light snack like fruit and wait for at least a few minutes before starting your sauna session.
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