Many people interested in fitness and nutrition have heard the term “intermittent fasting”. Maybe you are wondering what the buzz is all about and whether it can be a part of a healthy lifestyle?
In simple terms, intermittent fasting means going without food for a certain period of time. There are different types of intermittent fasting, including:
- All-day fasting- Usually this means eating an evening meal, and then going without food until the following evening, or approximately 24 hours.
- Alternating days of fasting- This involves fasting on one day and then eating normally the following day.
- Partial-day fasting- This allows for a specific window of time for eating, and then fasting the remainder of the day. Someone might eat during a 6-8 hours period of time, and then fast for the other 16 to 18 hours in the day.
The human body requires energy to digest or absorb the nutrients in food. Once a meal has been digested and all the nutrients absorbed, the body enters a fasted state, and begins generating energy from stored fat and protein.
An intermittent fast might have some beneficial effects on metabolism, and could help control weight and manage blood glucose levels. Clinical studies have shown that lowering food intake could actually slow the aging process by controlling potentially harmful free-radicals that are produced in metabolizing nutrients in food.
A calorie-restricted diet that has 60-80% of the normal intake of food can result in an unhealthy obsession with food. Studies done at the University of Minnesota during the 1940s showed that men who consumed 40% of their normal intake of food developed unhealthy eating patterns such as bingeing.
Most people find intermittent fasting for certain periods of time or on alternating days easier to follow than a strict calorie-restricted diet all the time. It might be worth experimenting with intermittent fasting to see if it helps you reach your health and fitness goals.
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