What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting, which is very fashionable lately, consists of making fasting windows, that is, not eating anything for a number of hours in a row and then eating in a normal and balanced way during the remaining hours of the day. Currently, most people who follow this type of diet have a common goal, to lose weight.
But really intermittent fasting is nothing newIn fact, it has been practiced since time immemorial and great figures in history have praised its medicinal benefits since ancient times. For example, Hippocrates defended and wrote: "Eating when sick is feeding the disease." In addition, if we go back to the Paleolithic, men and women fasted because there was no other option, since they ate when they hunted, and they fasted when they were not.
How can intermittent fasting help you lose weight?
During normal times when we do not fast, the body uses fat and glucose for energy. During the fast, not being able to have the glucose provided by food, our body is forced to use our triglyceride reserves, that is, the fat of our body. Therefore, by performing intermittent fasting, following a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle, we will be promoting the loss of body fat or visceral fat that is harmful to our body.
Types of fasting
Fasting 12/12 hours
It is the simplest fast, since it is usually done at night. It is about fasting for 12 hours and eating, in a healthy and balanced way, for the next 12 hours.
Fasting 14/10 hours
In this case we will fast for 14 hours and we will have a 10 hour window to make all our meals.
Fasting 16/8 hours
They are 16 hours of fasting in a row and in the following 8 hours eat in a normal and balanced way.
24 hour fast
Also called Eat Stop Eat. It is one of the most used fasts within intermittent fasting and it is not recommended to do it for more than 2 days a week. It consists of fasting for 1 full day.
Fasting 5: 2 or Alternative day fasting
It is based on alternating two days of semi-fasting (in which calories are sharply reduced) while the remaining 5 days of the week you eat without any type of restriction (always following a healthy diet). This type of fast is very popular in Anglo-Saxon countries, especially Great Britain.
If you want to have an example of how to do intermittent fasting you can visit the myFRESHFOOD website and be guided by our recommendation.
Which Intermittent Fasting Method to Choose?
If you intend to start intermittent fasting, I recommend that you start with the 12 hour oneas it is easy to perform and has many health benefits. It would be enough to have dinner at 21.00:9.00 p.m. and have breakfast at XNUMX:XNUMX a.m. It can be done every day and it is important to always eat a good diet.
What foods can I eat on a fast?
- Water or sparkling water that you can add to flavor, lemon, lime, fruits etc.
- Tea or herbal teas.
- Natural coffee, to which you can add cinnamon to sweeten.
- Low calorie bone broth or vegetable soups.
- In no case add sugars or sweeteners.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
Several studies indicate that
- We feel more energetic, because the adrenaline increases. On the other hand, the liver is capable of giving us up to 70-80% of the energy that our brain needs to do the normal tasks and activities of our day to day.
- Fasting activates a cleansing process in the intestine that favors digestion, swelling and bacterial overgrowth.
- Increase growth hormone, a hormone that favors the maintenance of muscle mass and bone density. This hormone decreases as we get older, so a good way to activate it is with fasting.
- Promotes weight loss retaining muscle mass.
- Improves insulin sensitivity and blood pressure.
- Reduces triglycerides in the blood and improves the lipid profile, reducing coronary risk.
- Helps in degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
- It is recommended in people with hypothyroidism since there is an increase in the hormone TSH or hormone that stimulates it.
- Supports autophagy and consequently a boost in the immune system.
- Limits the growth of cancer cells and makes chemotherapy more tolerable.
* To obtain all these benefits, intermittent fasting must be accompanied by a good diet and a healthy lifestyle.
What is autophagy and why is it so beneficial?
Basically in autophagy the body cleanses damaged cells to create new and healthy. Thus, the body prevents the accumulation of "waste" and components that do not work well, that is, the cell itself feeds on its damaged parts. These "wastes" if accumulated, would result in disease and aging. Autophagy it is activated especially after fasting for 16 hours.
Furthermore, several studies show that autophagy is essential for bone, hair and tissue growth, and the formation of cells and cartilage among others.
What people shouldn't do intermittent fasting?
- People who are very underweight
- Boys and girls
- People with conduct disorders
- People who take permanent medication
- People suffering from gastroesophageal reflux and chronic gastritis
- People with diabetes (consult a professional)
Can I exercise while fasting?
The answer is yes. If you are not sure, I recommend that you seek professional advice before doing so, since exercise is very positive for your health and fasting should not prevent you from doing it. Both strength and endurance are advisable.
Myths about intermittent fasting
1. Metabolism slows down
There are studies that indicate that fasting causes a slight increase in metabolism, it has to do with the release of two hormones (norepinephrine and orexin). It is an evolutionary adaptation that once gave the motivation to go hunting.
A prolonged fast does slow down the metabolism, in the same way as a prolonged period of a hypocaloric diet.
2. Muscle burns
Some studies indicate that a prolonged fast of more than 24-36 hours could be dangerous for the muscle, since when the body has consumed all the amino acids and stored glycogen, it begins to use the protein stores of the muscles to convert them into glucose . However, it will depend on the accumulated glycogen, the physical activity carried out and the diet during the non-fasting moments.
However, several studies have concluded that intermittent fasting retains more muscle mass than a traditional hypocaloric diet with similar weight loss.
3. There is a drop in sugar
Several studies show that the body knows how to maintain adequate levels of glucose in the blood. Eating produces insulin to store excess glucose, and fasting produces glucagon to release stored glucose.
4. You will not perform in training
First of all, the impact of intermittent fasting in athletes depends on many factors, such as the type of exercise, the type of fasting and its adaptation. At the moment there are no indications to confirm that the strategy of fasting while training decreases performance.
A recent study in strength athletes shows that it not only maintains performance and muscle gains, but is more effective for losing fat. On the other hand, training fasting favors adaptations that would not occur with full glucose stores.
Finally, it is important to say that fasting is not the definitive remedy. If you fast but your diet is based on processed and nutritionally uninteresting food, it will never be better than following a balanced and healthy diet. The basis of your health should consist of having a good rest, a healthy diet, doing physical exercise on a regular basis and maintaining good emotional health.