Last updated on January 21st, 2023 at 11:55 am
Intermittent fasting meaning
Quick Jump Table
Intermittent fasting, simply stated, is cycling between periods of fasting and eating. It’s currently a very popular method to lose weight and improve health. Not only was it the “trendiest” weight loss search term in 2019, but it was also prominently featured in many review articles.
But there is nothing “new” about fasting. In fact, intermittent fasting might actually be an ancient secret of health. It is ancient because it has been practiced throughout all of human history. It’s a secret because this potentially powerful habit had, until recently, been virtually forgotten, especially regarding our health.
However, many people are now re-discovering this dietary intervention. Since 2010, the number of online searches for “intermittent fasting” has increased by about 10,000 percent, with most of the increase happening in the last few years.
Intermittent fasting can provide significant health benefits if it is done right, including loss of excess weight, treatment of type 2 diabetes, and many other things. Plus, it can save you time and money.
Intermittent fasting weight loss
Intermittent fasting–isn’t that starvation? No. Fasting differs from starvation in one crucial way to control. Starvation is the involuntary absence of food for a long time. This can lead to severe suffering or even death. It is neither deliberate nor controlled.
Fasting is the voluntary withholding of food for spiritual, health, or other reasons. It’s done by someone who is not underweight and thus has enough stored body fat to live off. Intermittent fasting done right should not cause suffering, and certainly never death.
Food is easily available, but you choose not to eat it. This can be for any period, from a few hours up to a few days or with medical supervision even a week or more. You may begin a fast of your choosing, and you may end a fast at will, too. You can start or stop a fast for any reason or no reason at all.
Fasting has no standard duration, as it is merely the absence of eating. Anytime that you are not eating, you are intermittently fasting. For example, you may fast between dinner and breakfast the next day, a period of approximately 12-14 hours. Intermittent fasting should be considered a part of everyday life.
Consider the term “breakfast”. This refers to the meal that breaks your fast, which is done daily. Rather than being some sort of cruel and unusual punishment, the English language implicitly acknowledges that fasting should be performed daily, even if only for a short duration.
Intermittent fasting is not something unusual, but a part of everyday life. It is perhaps the oldest and most powerful dietary intervention imaginable. Yet somehow we have missed its power and overlooked its therapeutic potential.
Intermittent fasting for weight loss
Intermittent fasting’s most obvious benefit is weight loss. However, there are many potential benefits beyond this, some of which have been known since ancient times.
The fasting periods were often called ‘cleanses’, ‘detoxifications’, or ‘purifications’, but the idea is similar e.g. to abstain from eating food for a certain period, often for health reasons. People imagined that this period of abstinence from food would clear their bodies’ systems of toxins and rejuvenate them. They may have been more correct than they knew.
11 Intermittent fasting benefits
- Weight and body fat loss
- Increased fat burning
- Lowered blood insulin and sugar levels
- Possibly reversal of type 2 diabetes
- Possibly improved mental clarity and concentration
- Possibly increased energy
- Possibly increased growth hormone, at least in the short term
- Possibly an improved blood cholesterol profile
- Possibly longer life
- Possibly activation of cellular cleansing by stimulating autophagy
- Possibly reduction of inflammation
In addition, fasting offers many important unique advantages that are not available in typical diets.
Intermittent fasting may simplify life where diet can be a problem. Intermittent fast can be free where diet can be expensive. Where diets can take time, fasting saves time. Where diets may be limited in their availability, fasting is available anywhere. And as discussed earlier, fasting is a potentially powerful method for lowering insulin and decreasing body weight.
Potential side effects of intermittent fasting
There can be several nuisance side effects of intermittent fasting. Here’s what to do if you encounter them;
- Hunger is the most common side effect of intermittent fasting. This may be less of an issue if you’re already on a keto or low-carb, high-fat diet.
- Constipation is common. Less going in means less going out. However, keep in mind this is a normal response to eating less. It is not a concern and should not need treatment unless you experience significant bloating or abdominal discomfort. Standard laxatives or magnesium supplements can help if needed.
- Headaches are common and disappear after the first few times on fasts. Taking some extra salt often helps mitigate such headaches.
- Mineral water may help if your stomach gurgles.
- Other potential side effects include dizziness, heartburn, and muscle cramps.
- A more serious side effect is the re-feeding syndrome. Fortunately, this is rare and only happens with extended fasts (5-10 days or more) when one is undernourished.
Since most of these side effects are manageable, they do not mean you have to stop your fast. However, if you truly feel unwell, are excessively dizzy, profoundly weak, or have other severe symptoms, then you should break your fast. Just remember to go slowly when you break it and prioritize fluids and salt (bone broth is a great way to start). And of course, if the symptoms persist, see you, doctor, immediately. Fortunately, however, severe side effects are very rare, especially if you remain hydrated and supplement with electrolytes.
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What to eat during intermittent fasting?
You should have enough water at regular intervals and tea, coffee without sugar. You can also have carbonated soda and lime water without sugar or salt.
How to start intermittent fasting?
Start with beginner plan of intermittent fasting, which is 13/11. Continue with this plan for 6-12weeks before moving to 14/10 plan.
How to do intermittent fasting?
It is easy. In simple words, in intermittent fasting, you are skipping one of your meal and fasting for specific hours, .e.g. 14hours before you eating your next meal. If you are not sure and need a help to start intermittent fasting, then go for any free mobile app for intermittent fasting, which will help you start and track your intermittent fasting progress.
Does intermittent fasting work?
Yes, intermittent fasting giving an excellent result in weight loss. Intermittent fasting has been shown to boost metabolism and fat burning while preserving lean body mass, all of which can aid weight loss.
Which is the best intermittent fasting app?
There are lots of free and paid mobile apps are available for intermittent fasting. For beginner we advice not to opt for any paid plan. Instead, go for a free app and start using it for 6-12weeks.
Intermittent fasting results
Will I lose weight with intermittent fasting? Most likely. If you have weight to lose, it is extremely likely that you will lose weight if you do not eat. In theory, it’s, of course, possible to eat more after fasting, canceling out the weight loss. But studies show that people eat significantly less overall.
Intermittent fasting “the ancient secret of weight loss” because it might be one of the most powerful dietary interventions for weight loss, yet it has been mostly ignored by doctors and dieticians for a long time.
While intermittent fasting has many proven benefits, it’s still controversial. A potential danger regards medications, especially for diabetes, where does often need to be adapted. Discuss any changes in medication and relevant lifestyle changes with your doctor. People who should NOT fast include those who are underweight or have eating disorders like anorexia, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people under the age of 18.
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