You have likely heard of the recent trend in nutrition and health called intermittent fasting. If not, the main idea is that changing when you eat may have effects similar to changing what you eat. Specifically, When done right intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss and higher levels of muscle-building hormones.
For those of us who are looking for something to help us get better results more quickly, this may seem like an interesting concept to put to the test. However, there are certain situations that can make intermittent fasting more harmful than helpful. Using this article as a guide, you can get crucial information that can assist you in deciding if this lifestyle change is right for you.
The Potential Benefits
People have fasted for many different reasons throughout human history, but only recently are scientists beginning to study the potential benefits of controlled fasting. So far, research has shown promise that there is quite a bit to gain from intermittent fasting.
Not eating for extended periods of time seems like a big sacrifice, but the potential health benefits may be well worth it. When done properly intermittent fasting can have a wide range of benefits like increased fat burning, reducing inflammation, supporting brain health, reducing cancer risks, and even prolonging your life!
How it Works
There are different ways to use intermittent fasting, but the most common way is fairly simple and easy to follow. It is called the 16/8 Method and just as the name suggests you fast 16 hours of the day and restrict your caloric intake to 8 hours. There are other methods that involve not eating for an entire day, or eating very little on alternating days.
Periods of fasting affect your body on a cellular level and influences the hormones that your body produces. Human Growth Hormone levels can increase as much as 400% which can help you build muscle with much more efficiency. Fasting also helps your body access reserved energy in the form of fat easier and assists in lowering blood sugar.
Who Should Try?
If you are a relatively healthy adult without any underlying illnesses, fasting might give you an added boost when it comes to losing weight or building muscle. While it might seem counterintuitive that not eating could lead to muscle growth, there is data that shows intermittent fasting causes less muscle loss than standard reduced-calorie diets.
Who Should Avoid?
Any major change in diet can come with negative side effects. It is important to monitor any changes you feel if you decide to try out intermittent fasting. Generally, people who take medications, have underlying health issues like diabetes, or are pregnant should avoid sudden changes in their diet in general, but especially fasting.
Another thing to consider is that people who have a history with eating disorders should avoid intermittent fasting. If you have any concerns about how fasting may affect your health, consult your physician before making any decisions.
While intermittent fasting might just seem like another fad diet scheme, there seems to be some actual data to back it up. That being said, all people are unique and what might work for some may be unhealthy for others. Hopefully this guide will help you decide if you are a good candidate for intermittent fasting. The key thing is that you can have a diet that is healthy and sustainable for you. Intermittent fasting is a way to simplify your diet and focus a little less on what you eat and focus more on limiting when you eat.
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