The health and longevity benefits of calorie restriction are well known.
Fasting has been used for thousands of years for spiritual and health benefits, and has recently become popular with celebrity endorsements of intermittent fasting known as the “5:2 Diet”!
Although diet advice has long focused on eating regular low-fat meals, intermittent fasting and the counterintuitive 5:2 approach to weight loss have attracted thousands of women and men.
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Some of the benefits of fasting are that it can help create a routine for your body and improve your skin. However, if you want to do this, you should do it as a lifestyle change, not as a crash diet
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
May improve glucose tolerance
Insulin resistance is generally caused by the body’s reduced ability to remove excess glucose from the blood, either because insufficient insulin is being released or the glucose receptors are less sensitive.
A regular routine with strict eating times can make your daily life easier.
Excess glucose is converted to fat and stored in tissues that are not suitable for fat storage.
As the body uses fat for fuel during intermittent fasting, fat stores are depleted, allowing cells to regain insulin function and glucose sensitivity.
Studies show that intermittent fasting can improve many health parameters, especially in prediabetics and insulin-resistant people, where caloric restriction can prevent the need for medication.
Other findings also suggest that short-term intermittent fasting may be a safe and tolerable dietary intervention for those already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and may improve body weight and fasting glucose levels.
It helps to create a routine
Although it can be difficult at first to implement a new way of eating in conjunction with family or work commitments, once you create a plan that works, tweak and adjust it to fit your lifestyle, it will soon simply become the way to eat when it comes to timing and selection of quality meals.
Understanding your body’s true hunger signals and not confusing them with the cravings often associated with eating too many processed foods will give you a better understanding of your body and improve your confidence to maintain healthy habits.
A regular routine with strict meal times can make your daily life easier, especially if you’re feeling well.
It improves the health of your skin
With modern eating habits that rely not only on 3 meals a day, but often snacks in between, it’s easy to see how this fasting state is rarely achieved.
Many skin conditions can be alleviated by eating a quality diet high in vegetables and fiber and avoiding processed foods.
To ensure you get enough nutrients with intermittent fasting, you’ll need to avoid these pro-inflammatory foods that offer little nutritional value, thereby reducing the inflammation often associated with skin conditions like acne and eczema.
Additionally, if you suspect that your skin condition is being aggravated by a specific food sensitivity or intolerance, skipping that food during the fast will give you the opportunity to reintroduce the food one at a time to see if it’s the culprit.
This will make you more resistant to health problems
Intermittent fasting’s ability to reduce weight will result in a reduction in body fat.
This has additional benefits for many health outcomes, including improving heart function, helping to prevent cancer, and generally improving immune health.
It will help you focus
Thanks to control over the regulation of food intake, you are also more aware of your body.
This heightened sense of understanding and connection can help reduce stress and anxiety and allow you to have a clear mind to focus on.
HOW FASTING CAN WORK FOR YOU
Intermittent fasting should be considered a long-term lifestyle choice rather than a crash diet.
Otherwise, it’s likely that if you go back to your original eating habits, you’ll go back to losing weight.
It is also essential that you make healthy food choices; ensuring proper nutrition is vital when fasting to ensure body processes run efficiently and effectively.
That’s why it’s so important to plan your meals to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients.
There are two ways to successfully achieve this way of eating:
Five ways you can get smart fast
There are several ways to ensure that your food provides a balance of nutrients while keeping you full.
- Try a protein shake as a healthy option as a suitable meal alternative.
- Include at least two to three servings of vegetables and two to three servings of fruit per day with each meal. Also include protein with each meal – that means meat, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, legumes.
- Make sure your meals are high in protein to keep you full and avoid cravings. Cauliflower and Quinoa Pilau is a great example because it combines good vegetables and is an ideal make-ahead meal.
- Include more healthy fats in your diet. Foods like olive oil, butter, avocado, nuts and seeds are a great place to start. If you choose nut butter, choose one that is minimally processed and without any additives.
- Limit your intake of carbohydrates like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice, as well as those naughty sweet foods we love like cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolates and desserts. In an ideal world, you should avoid alcohol completely, but significantly reducing your alcohol intake is also great.
The simple concept is to focus on fasting every day for 16-18 hours a day and only consume food in the remaining six to eight hours.
For example, if you eat your evening meal at 6:00 pm, you would not eat another meal until at least 12:00 am the next day, and in between you would fast for 18 hours.
This means you eat normally five days a week and diet for two, preferably consecutive, days a week, reducing your calorie intake on those two days to a quarter of their normal level (500 calories for women, 600 for men).
If you avoid overeating for five days and starve yourself for the other two, evidence suggests that this can be effective as part of a longer-term weight management strategy.
To begin with, increase the gap between dinner and breakfast.
If you’re not hungry, you can skip breakfast altogether; walking from dinner to lunch works best.
Consider an ideal ratio of 16:8 hours, meaning you would eat a low-calorie but nutrient-dense diet during an eight-hour window.
This will usually be from noon to 8:00 p.m.
Spread it over two meals and then fast until lunch the next day.
Repeat this routine at least two to three times a week.
If you feel hungry anytime outside of the eight-hour window, distract yourself with an activity or task so that you are less aware of the hunger pangs.
Engaging in daily brisk walking will help speed up metabolism and maintain muscle mass.
If you choose the weekly approach, do not fast for more than three days in a row to avoid a significant decrease in metabolism and protect yourself from muscle loss.
If you have embarked on this approach for a long time, including the occasional cheat day is not a problem.
WHO SHOULD NOT HAVE A POST
1. Underweight people
Calorie restriction can lead to further weight loss.
Their nutrient and energy requirements are different from adults and fasting may not allow a child to thrive.
3. Pregnant or nursing mothers
Pregnancy is a time when you need to provide good nutrients and enough calories for your growing baby.
4. If you have an eating disorder
Even if you have struggled with an eating disorder in the past, adopting an eating pattern that restricts food may trigger a relapse.
5. If you are recovering from surgery
Limiting nutrient intake and energy production can impair healing after surgery.
6. If you feel unwell or have a fever
It is important to listen to your body and avoid fasting if your body is not in optimal health.
7. If you are taking any prescribed medications, type 1 diabetics and diabetics on insulin
It is essential to consult your GP before starting any weight loss program.
This article was originally published by Healthista