24 hours down and not a single calorie in me. You know that feeling you get after four or five hours of your meal? Well, as time passes the huger tends to die down..
There is a good scientific reason for all the hunger pangs. The main reasons are the hormones like epinephrine, insulin, glucagon,etc, and how various organs react to them. But this isn’t a physiology class so lets skip it!
If you are a health conscious person, eating small meals or 3 meals round the clock, fasting for a whole day freaks you out. Some people are so habituated to eating every 4 to 5 hours that if they don’t they start behaving a little hyper and they would say things like
‘ ah! Its been four hours. If I don’t eat soon I’m going to…’
Going to what? Faint? Die of starvation? Simply get outraged?
But surprisingly what might happen is that you may loose some body fat. New research suggests short, periodic fasting may speed up the fat burning machinery and control the release of insulin and glucose. This means that fasting may help your muscle grow during your next work out session. In short this means that you may loose more fat and gain more muscles just by skipping a few meals.
The term given to this pattern of fasting is Intermittent Fasting.
So in intermittent fasting, the word dieting means having a fasting window and an eating window. Depending on the time of the fasting window and eating window, intermittent fasting is of many types. They are:-
The eating window is for 8 hours and the fasting window is for 16 hours. The calorie consumption is completely restricted for 16 hours. The only time when foods of caloric value can be consumed is in the 8 hour window. Usually, this type of IF starts with the last meal of the day. The meal skipped in this method is breakfast. The first meal of the day is breakfast and the last is dinner. Hence you are limiting yourself only to an 8 hour window. During the calorie-consumption phase, it is suggested to aim for a higher protein intake on workout days and prioritizing carbohydrates over fat. Rest days should be lower calorie than training days, continuing the high protein intake but flipping fat and carbohydrate intake.
2.Alternate Day Fasting
With this plan you simply eat every other day. So on Monday, you’d eat within a 12-hour window, say, 8 AM to 8 PM. Then you’d fast overnight on Monday, and all day/overnight on Tuesday. You’d eat again from 8 AM to 8 PM on Wednesday. And so on. Alternate day fasters are encouraged to make good eating choices, but they’re allowed to eat what they want on the non-fasting days.
3.The Warrior Diet:-
The Warrior Diet, pairs a 20-hour fast with a 4-hour feeding window. In this you would eat the majority of your daily intake within a 4-hour over feeding window. The goal of the fast is to increase the actions of the Sympathetic Nervous System which may help to stimulate lipolysis and increase metabolic rate.The feeding window is used to increase the activity of the Parasympathetic Nervous System which will help increase the absorption of glucose and assist with recovery.
Pros And Cons
Longer fasts may harm muscle health and performance. They may also negatively affect nutrient intake: When you eat less of everything, you also eat fewer vitamins, minerals, and beneficial phytochemicals.
That’s why more physique- and fitness-conscious individuals tend to prefer shorter fasts that end in a workout, followed by an eating period of 4-9 hours. Although it’s mostly speculation, there are proposed benefits. THEY are:-
- The fasted workout can stimulate a physiological state similar to an extended fast.
- Eating most of your energy and nutrients in the post-exercise window can help with muscle recovery and nutrient partitioning.
- Helps in loss of fat and building up of muscles if proper supplementation is taken.
- An uncomplicated diet plan with no tricky formulas equations or costly meals.
- It can help reduce insulin resistance and lowers risk of type 2 Diabetes.
- Intermittent fasting can improve numerous risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides and inflammatory markers.
- Intermittent fasting has been shown to help prevent cancer in animal studies. One paper in humans showed that it can reduce side effects caused by chemotherapy.
- Intermittent fasting may have important benefits for brain health. It may increase growth of new neurons and protect the brain from damage.
- Studies suggest that intermittent fasting may be protective against neuro degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
- Intermittent fasting may help you increase your life span.
If you prefer to snack on food throughout the day, or you feel better after eating three square meals, then do what works best for you. The best diet is the one that you’ll stick to, the one that fits with your lifestyle, and the one that you enjoy the most!!
By Soumya Kumar