Intermittent fasting: what is it and is it good for you?

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‘Intermittent fasting’ is definitely one of the buzz words being thrown around lately, and you wouldn’t be the first to be wondering what it’s all about. If you’re looking to revamp your current lifestyle or lose some unwanted weight it might be something to try.

For the majority of people, the main reason for dieting is weight loss, which can involve depriving yourself of the foods that you love, and often strict diets can be unsustainable for long periods of time.

Intermittent fasting, made popular by Dr Michael Mosley who adopted the method after discovering he was a type two diabetic, is a way to lose weight without having to cut out food groups. This can increase your chance of losing weight in the long term as well as lowering your cholesterol. It’s more of a lifestyle choice than a diet.

A common goal for fasting is to make your metabolism more efficient so that you burn more fat. Your body gets used to switching from burning sugar to burning fat to provide your body with energy, which it loses practice at when you eat every three to four hours.

When your body’s running normally, it draws on glucose stored in the liver and muscles for energy. Once these stores are used up, it goes into a state called ketosis. The liver breaks down fat and produces ketones, which can be used by the body for energy. This process means the body is in an extremely high fat-burning state.

There are a couple of popular intermittent fasting methods:

5:2 diet – eat normally five days a week, then limit the calorie intake on the other two days to 500-600 calories.

16/8 diet – eat all of your calories in a shortened time period of between six to eight hours and then fast for the remaining 14 to 16 hours. This can be done every day or a few times a week.

The health benefits of intermittent fasting can include:

  • Weight-loss
  • Improved brain function
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Promotion of cellular repair
  • Decreased sugar and food cravings
  • Increased energy
  • Increased lifespan

Intermittent fasting gives your body time to repair itself and allows it to function more efficiently.

If you’re thinking about fasting, it’s important to choose an option that works with your schedule and amount of activity that you do, and you also need to make sure that your main meal is eaten at a time that you need it the most. You will also need to allow your body time to adapt to the new schedule. Make sure you drink lots of water to flush out any toxins too!

Intermittent fasting may be one to consider if you’re looking to try another weight-loss method. We recommend talking to your doctor before starting any new diet or eating regime.

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