A lot of people have been doing intermittent fasting in the last few years. You may have heard it in your local gym or perhaps while listening to an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Many say it brings a lot of health benefits to your body.
But is it really for you?
What is Intermittent Fasting
Before we go deeper into the discussion of intermittent fasting, it’s always a good idea to first know what it is.
Intermittent fasting is a time-restricted eating pattern designed to make a person only have a short duration of eating time. Fasting period would usually last more than 12 hours a day. There are also other forms of intermittent fasting where the fasting period lasts for 48 hours straight.
If you’re planning to do intermittent fasting, it might be a good idea to know its pros and cons first.
Here are some of the benefits of doing intermittent fasting.
Easy to understand
There are a lot of fad diets that are popular nowadays. And some people find other diets hard to follow since not everyone has a nutrition background or has the time to do their research online. For starters, not everyone knows the difference between different macros. This makes it difficult to follow a diet such as keto diet.
But with intermittent fasting, you simply have to know when to eat and when not to eat. Plus, you normally don’t even need to count your calories.
It helps you lose weight
The reason why intermittent fasting is popular is that it is effective. And not only that, you could easily see the results in a few days. In one study, all 27 participants who did intermittent fasting lost 0.8% to 13% of their weight with no adverse reaction. It means that it can effectively put your body on a caloric deficit.
Can help diabetic patients
Aside from weight loss, intermittent fasting can also help people with type 2 diabetes.
In a review of multiple medical studies published about intermittent fasting, it has been discovered that the majority of available published studies point to the effectiveness of intermittent fasting when it comes to managing a person’s fasting blood sugar, fasting insulin, and even reducing a person’s insulin resistance. Some patients even reversed their need for insulin therapy.
Better cardiovascular health
Are you dealing with bad cholesterol levels? Intermittent fasting can help improve lipid profiles. It can lower LDL and triglyceride levels.
Some studies focused on individuals during Ramadan. Studies discovered that individuals fasting during Ramadan showed improved cholesterol levels. However, researchers haven’t explored the long-term metabolic changes.
But what it means is that it can help promote a healthier cardiovascular system. Intermittent fasting could potentially help lower blood pressure and the risk of having a heart attack.
Could potentially increase your life span
Animal subjects who did intermittent fasting showed a better metabolic response, less stress, and fewer age-related diseases.
Could it have the same effect on humans? Possible, given how it can improve the cardiovascular health and metabolic responses of the body.
Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect setup for everyone. Here are some cons that you will have to know before you even decide to commit to doing intermittent fasting.
It is possible for people to still gain weight
Even with the number of studies pointing that intermittent fasting can help individuals lose weight, it’s still possible that you will not get the same results. Even worse, it is still possible that you end up gaining more weight.
How can you gain weight even if you’ve fasted for at least 14 hours? It’s possible to still be at a caloric surplus even if you’ve fasted for 14 straight hours or more. This is why it is still important to be watchful of what you eat even when you’re in your non-fasting period. Some individuals go to the extreme of still counting calories or doing keto diet along with intermittent fasting.
Could trigger eating disorders
Whether you’re skipping meals or restricting the amount of food that you eat, these are things that can lead to eating disorders. For people prone to having eating disorders, it is a good idea to talk to an expert before you even decide to go 100% committed to intermittent fasting.
Some find it hard to focus when fasting
A lot of people are simply not used to fasting. At times, some individuals fast for 16 to 24 hours straight without trying to get accustomed to the feeling of being constantly hungry for most of the day. It’s important to first try fasting for 14 hours for a few days or even weeks before you even extend your fasting period.
Even if there are lots of studies to support the benefits of intermittent fasting, keep in mind that you should still follow the basic nutrition principles if you want to see great results. Ideally, you will still have to eat nutritious meals. Also, keep in mind that it’s not for everyone. For instance, some individuals find it hard to focus when they are hungry. Or perhaps, you’re an athlete who will need to constantly take food to have enough energy for your training or workout.