The diet known as “intermittent fasting” refers to the practice of abstaining from food for a period of time and then eating for the same period of time. Many intermittent fasting practitioners choose the 24 hour cycle of fasting, during which they eat nothing during the “on” day, and then eat healthy foods on the “off” day. It is important to note that intermittent fasting requires a real commitment. Unlike many fad diets, this type of fasting represents a real lifestyle change.
Research conducted on animals has revealed that there are several benefits to this lifestyle change, and you’ll be happy to know that it can be very beneficial to your health!
Specifically, intermittent fasting can increase your life expectancy by 40-56%! That in itself is reason enough to do it. However, other advantages include a reduction in body weight and body fat percentage.
When you fast, your body is forced to burn its fat stores for fuel. This process removes aged and damaged cells in body as well. It rids the body of unwanted and unnecessary materials and aids the body in better metabolizing the foods that you do eat.
Researchers also report that intermittent fasting can help age-related deficits in cognitive function, as well. This research implies that intermittent fasting may be of use in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Your risk of heart disease and other diseases of the heart can also be reduced when you make the switch to intermittent fasting. Your risk for other chronic diseases and diseases most likely will also be reduced.
It is important that when you switch to intermittent fasting that you consume healthy foods. You should consume between 50-100 grams of carbohydrates per day. Many women eat between 1200-1500 calories a day and will continue to lose weight when restricting carbohydrate intake. Men should take in up to 2,000 calories a day. Of course less is better, and you should determine your calorie intake based on your activity level.
As a general rule, drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and exercise in the evening, if possible. This will help with those late night cravings.
Once you start eating and drinking healthier, your body will not crave as much—if any—junk food, so making healthy food choices will just get easier and easier as you progress in your intermittent fasting routine.
In addition to normal intermittent fasting, there is also a diet known as “periodic change fasting.” In this diet plan you consume about 20% of your normal caloric intake one day and then eat normally—yet healthily—the next day. This diet is more realistic for most people because it doesn’t require complete abstinence from food for an entire 24 hour period. Just as important, this type of intermittent fasting yields nearly the same benefits as normal fasting.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you keep your healthcare professional abreast of your plans so that he or she can work with you to achieve your goals. If you want to lose weight, lose fat and feel better, then intermittent fasting may be the answer for you!