What is Intermittent Fasting?
Fad diets, and trends are hard to neglect, I discussed before if you should become a vegan or to follow Paleo diet or not. Today I’ll discuss a very popular diet mainly among athletes for weight loss, and body building. Some other popular names is, calorie cycling, 5:2 diet, Alternate Day and many others. Its kind of pattern of eating , instead of restrict yourself from a certain good group or go with specific diet plan, you eat normally 5 days a week, then you fast two day, which means no food or the minimum you need which 20% of your calorie intake.
Other forms, it’s the alternate day, which is you can eat a whole day, and then fast the next whole day. You can drink water, and herbal teas. Or some people just eat 8 hours a day then fast the next 16 hr, which also including bed time. To know if its good or bad for you health lets explain how the body works when you eat:
How you get energy from food
When you eat, your body convert the energy to glucose (the simple sugar), and then transfer it by blood to all body organs, and cells like the brain. If you don’t eat for several hours, body will release the energy from the glycogen (a very large molecule of glucose) store in the liver, but that doesn’t last too long. And that’s why normally you need to eat more often, in order to get energy to maintain your body weight and functions.
If you didn’t eat after the glycogen depleted, your body will start breaking down small amount of protein (primarily muscles) into amino acids to synthesize energy, and if the fasting continues more than 24 hours, the body starts to break down fats in order to get energy. And of course it depends on your physical activity level.
For any tissue in the body that don’t need glucose to function, the body will start releasing fat from the adipose cells (fat storing cells) this is the good news! When you replenish the body with food (energy) again, the body start the cycle again.
What Studies Found
It starts back in 1943 on animal, with focus on calorie restriction ad longevity. In this study they found that Intermittent Fasting is better than just calorie restriction, because both of them will make you lose weight but If make you retain more muscles mass and loose more fat cells. The recent studies have different results, like this one they found that intermittent fasting has no effect on lipid profile on glucose level. We need more studies on humans with longer period to know how effective intermittent fasting for weight loss and improving glucose level, and if it has negative effects on the long run.
Is it for everyone ?
Definitely not! fasting may be hurt some people like pregnant, and lactating women, children, elderly, and diabetic. So if you are under one of these categories, Don’t fast until you ask your doctor, and should be observed by surveillance.
Do I recommend it? Will I do it?
Yes! I will! I don’t like to reflect my religious opinions in my blog posts, because what I write here in the blog, is for everyone regardless of their beliefs. But for me, food rules will be different when it comes to the holy month Ramadan which is the ninth month of the Muslim calender. It is excluding any food, or drink from dawn to sunset. Muslim did this, and still doing it for thousand of years.
Now, I’m a Muslim, and I do fast every year, from my personal experience I used to lose around 5 pounds after Ramadan. But it really depends on how much you eat in the allowed hours. Because, one year I didn’t really lose weight, neither gain weight! That was probably because Ramadan came in the summer, and its hard to resist sugary drinks that gives you immediate energy, so it really also depends on the whole calorie intake, and after a month its a bit exhausting. But I think its a great idea to do it one in a while, because you will give your body a rest from endless work of digestion, and breakdown.
Finally,this is a great free report on history, and experiments with documented studies on intermittent fasting, and caloric restriction.I recommend you to read it all, its a bit long, but its worth it!
Will you give Intermittent Fasting a try? What do you think? I would love to hear from you!