By Ms. Avni Kaul
Nutritionist, Wellness Coach & Certified Diabetic Educator, Founder, NutriActivania
Just think about waiting 16 to 18 hours before eating again. Or an entire day spent without breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This is what proponents of intermittent fasting do on a regular basis.
Nutritionist Avni Kaul says, in actual terms, intermittent fasting (IF) means cycling through periods of voluntary abstinence of food (or significant reduction of calorie), infused with intervals of normal food intake.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Unlike some unusual nutritional plans, intermittent fasting needs minimal effort you simply do not eat, or eat very limited quantities, for hours at a time. No meal preparation, counting calories, or restaurant guesswork.
But there are various ways to go about the diet. Some intermittent fasting proponents maintain time-restricted eating, squeezing all the meals into an 8 to 10-hour period, followed by a 14 to16 hours of the overnight fast. Others opt about the 5:2 diet, which means eating normally for 5 days of the week followed by 2 days of eating 25% of their regular caloric intake (which is around 500 to 600 calories for most of the people). Others normally restrict food intake completely on certain days of the week, relying completely on water, black coffee, and tea to keep off hunger cues.
In this article, Delhi’s top nutritionist and dietitian Avni Kaul talks about 4 potential benefits one can get from intermittent fasting. Here they are:
Intermittent Fasting Changes The Function of Cells, Genes, and Hormones
When you do not eat for a while, various things happen in your body. For instance, your body initiates essential cellular repair processes and changes hormone levels to make stored body fats more accessible.
Here are some of the changes which occur in your body during intermittent fasting:
· Insulin levels: Blood levels of insulin reduce significantly, which facilitates fat burning.
· Human growth hormone: The blood levels of growth hormone could increase as much as 5-folds. Higher levels of these hormones facilitate fat burning and muscle gain and have several other benefits.
· Cellular repair: The body induces essential cellular repair processes, such as the removal of waste materials from cells.
· Gene expression: There are beneficial changes in various genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against diseases.
Several benefits of intermittent fasting are linked to these changes in hormones, gene expression and functioning of cells.
Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight
Many of you who try intermittent fasting are doing it in order to reduce weight. Normally speaking, intermittent fasting will make you eat lesser meals.
Unless if you compensate by eating more during the other meals, you will end up taking in lesser calories.
Also, intermittent fasting improves hormone function to facilitate weight loss.
Lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) all enhance the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.
For this reason, short-term fasting increases your metabolic rate by 3.6 to 14%, assisting you to burn even more calories.
In simpler words, intermittent fasting works on both sides of the calorie equation. It improves your metabolic rate (increases calories out) and lowers the amount of food you eat.
All things are taken into consideration; intermittent fasting can be a powerful weight loss tool.
Intermittent Fasting Reduce Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in The Body
Oxidative stress is one of the main steps towards aging and several chronic diseases.
It involves unstable molecules known as free radicals, which reacts with other essential molecules such as protein and DNA and damage them.
Various studies indicate that intermittent fasting enhances the body’s resistance to oxidative stress.
Alongside, studies show that intermittent fasting help fights inflammation, another key influencer of all sorts of common diseases.
Intermittent Fasting Is Beneficial For Heart Health
Heart disease is one of the world’s biggest killer. It is known that several health markers (“risk factors”) are linked with either an increased or decreased risk of heart disease.
Intermittent fasting is shown to improve numerous risk factors, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, and blood sugar levels.
However, several of these are based on animal studies. The effects on heart health need to be studied a lot more in humans before recommendations can be made.