Fasting not only helps to lose weight, but helps our body to conserve the energy that it would normally be using for digesting food, and lets us use that energy toward healing when we are sometimes sick or injured.
Restricting our calorie intake during illness is a way to help our bodies rebuild themselves.
A study in American Journal in Clinical Nutrition looked at short-term modified alternate-day fasting as a new dietary strategy for weight loss and for heart health protection for adults that were overweight or obese.
Over a 10 week study period, the researchers found that after 8 weeks, participants had not only lost weight, but they had lost body fat percentage as well.
When our body has used up glucose stores during fasting, it burns fat for energy resulting in weight loss.
In addition to the weight loss, the participants in the study had decreased their total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triacylglycerol concentrations. They also had a lower systolic blood pressure.
What Is The Best Fasting Program For You
This type of fasting program is a liquid-based diet where you get all of your nutritional needs from drinking only juice and avoiding solid foods.
Alternate Day Fasting
This is a 24 hour period of not eating, followed by a 24 hour period where you are allowed to eat regular meals.
Choose any 8 hour time frame for eating during the day and the other 16 hours, avoid any caloric intake.
For example: you might choose 9:00 am to 5:00 pm for your eating hours, which means that you should not eat prior to 9:00 am, or after 5:00 pm.
A 20 hour fasting program is similar to the 16-hour program except that your window for eating is shortened to a 4 hour time frame.
Multiple Day Fast
Fasting for multiple days can be the most challenging program and it requires some additional preparation.
People who fast for more than 24 hours prepare by starting with a juice fast for at least 24 hours first.
It is possible for human beings to go 7 days or longer (many people have completed 40 day water fasts) with only water without severe health effects.
If you select a fasting program to try, plan to stick with it for a period of 2 weeks at a minimum, unless you are experiencing health problems as a result.
This will allow your body to learn to use up stored fat during the times that you are fasting.
Your weight loss, and other body needs may differ from those of another person depending on your health goals.
For example, it may be important for you to consume protein following a workout to build muscle, so you may want to make sure that your fasting program does not interfere with your training.
Consult a nutritional specialist if you have concerns about what will work best for you.
5 Tips for Starting Your First Fast
If you do give fasting a try, keep these general tips in mind:
- Drink plenty of water. Staying well hydrated will make the fasting periods much easier to get through.
- Fast overnight. Throw yourself a bone and aim to fast through the night, so that you’re (hopefully) sleeping during at least eight of those hours.
- Rewire your thought process.Think of fasting as taking a break from eating, not as a period of deprivation. It can be a way to break up the monotony of worrying about what you need to eat next and when. This is the mindset that will allow you do follow a fasting plan long-term, he says.
- Over-commit. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the best plan is often to start when you’re busy — not on a day when you’ll be sitting on the couch wanting to snack.
- Hit the gym. Pairing intermittent fasting with consistent exercise will help you get better results. It doesn’t have to be hardcore or crazy.It can be something as simple as a full-body strength training routine two or three times per week,
- Improvements in blood pressure
- Lowers the cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity
- Reduce the risk of diabetes
- Reboot the immune system
- Lose weight
With the potential health benefits of fasting widely hailed by nutritionists worldwide, it is no wonder many of us are putting our love for food to one side in order to give it a try.
- Increased stress levels
- Sleep disrupt
- Reduced stomach acid and increased heartburn
People who should NOT follow this diet include people who are:
- Individuals under the age of 18
- Pregnant women
- People with diabetes 1
- Individuals recovering from surgery
While intermittent fasting may have health risks, nutritionists claim it can be good for us if individuals consult their doctors before adopting such a diet and adhere to it correctly.
Do not do it on your own.
Consult a physician before you try fasting!
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