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Future Health

Intermittent fasting! What is it?

November 18, 2020 


Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. There are several different intermittent fasting methods, all of which split the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods. Intermittent fasting is fairly easy to do. Many people report feeling better and having more energy during a fast.

Eating during intermittent fasting is more about being healthy than just rapidly losing your weight. Thus, it is critically important to choose nutrient-dense foods such as veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Here is a great recipe for intermittent fasting.

  • Protein – It is recommended that is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. “requirements may vary depending on your fitness goals and level of activity”.
  • Carbs - 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates (carbs). Make sure to choose foods that are high in fiber and starch but low in sugar.
  • Fats - fats should contribute 20% to 35% of your daily calories. Most notably, saturated fat should not contribute more than 10% of daily calories.
  • Healthy Gut - gut health is the key to your overall health. There are keys foods to eat to maintain a healthy gut.
  • Hydration - Staying hydrated during intermittent fasting is critical to your health. Dehydration can cause headaches, extreme tiredness, and dizziness. The daily fluid requirement is:
    • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) for men.
    • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women.

Intermittent fasting has become very trendy in the past few years, and several different types/methods have emerged. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • 16/8 Method: Fast for 16 hours each day, for example by only eating between noon and 8pm.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: Once or twice a week, don’t eat anything from dinner one day, until dinner the next day (a 24 hour fast).
  • The 5:2 Diet: During 2 days of the week, eat only about 500–600 calories.

Then there are many other variations.

According to a 2014 review, intermittent fasting reduced body weight by 3–8% over a period of 3–24 weeks (22). People also experienced a 4–7% reduction in waist circumference, indicating that they lost belly fat. But the benefits of intermittent fasting go way beyond weight loss. It also has numerous benefits for metabolic health, and it may even help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

There are several things you need to keep in mind if you want to lose weight with intermittent fasting:

  • Food quality. The foods you eat are still important. Try to eat mostly whole, single-ingredient foods.
  • Calories. Calories still count. Try to eat normally during the non-fasting periods, not so much that you compensate for the calories you missed when fasting.
  • Consistency. Just as with any other weight loss method, you need to stick with it for an extended period if you want it to work.
  • Patience. It can take your body some time to adapt to an intermittent fasting protocol. Try to be consistent with your meal schedule, and it’ll get easier.

Most of the popular intermittent fasting protocols also recommend exercise, such as strength training. This is very important if you want to burn mostly body fat while maintaining your muscle mass.

Of course, before you start any diet it is good to do your research first and discuss with your doctor or a professional before starting. You always want to make sure that any changes that involve your health are the right changes for you.