Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan: Good or Bad and Benefits

Intermittent fasting diet plan results in weight loss with other benefits

People are increasingly curious about intermittent fasting diet plan benefits and its pros and cons.

Already 1400 years ago, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him) said: “Observe the fast – it will improve your health.” Now, modern research has revealed intermittent fasting (IF) benefits, and all scientists are talking about it. 

Chinese scientists believe that fasting for one month a year is the basis of life and youth, and German scientists agree with them, who have found that fasting for 10-15 hours has a beneficial effect on the body.

More or less, every religion has guidelines about fasting for its followers.

Fasting is one of the best ways for weight loss. Fasting cleanses the body of poisons, gives rest to the gastrointestinal tract and strengthens the immune system. Water fasting is the most common, and can last from one day to more than a month.

Fasting: Good vs Bad?

Since man, in the course of his long evolution, had to often starve. We are adapted to this to a certain extent, as it creates energy reserves to use in case of necessity. 

For example, the body of a man weighing 70 kg contains an average of 15 kg of fat, of which about 10 kg can be used. In the muscles and liver, the body can store about 500 g of glycogen and convert it to glucose when needed. There are no reserves of protein in the body, but in an extreme situation the body can do with one third of the required amount of protein.

In order to survive, the body goes into “economical mode” during starvation, the rate of the main metabolic rate decreases to 15 kcal per kilogram of body weight per day, i.e. a person spends only about 1000 kcal per day for basic metabolism.

During fasting, the most important thing is to satisfy the tissue energy requirements, i.e. maintaining glucose and fatty acids levels in the blood. Normally, the only source of energy for the brain is glucose. 

During fasting, the body uses up its glucose reserves, which last for about 20 hours, and tries to break down more fat. Thus, fasting that lasts no more than 24 hours does not pose a threat to health.

Intermittent fasting diet plan offers several benefits
Body responds better so follow intermittent fasting (Source Unsplash)

Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan

Intermittent fasting diet plan involve eating patterns that only allow you to eat at certain times. For example, only 4 hours a day. Or 8 hours. Or 5 days a week. For the rest of the time, you should forget about food, limiting yourself to drinking water or (in mild versions of fasting) vegetable and fruit juices is allowed.

In 2017, intermittent fasting diet plan became a viral trend in Silicon Valley. Top managers of large companies go on corporate hunger strikes, dieting with their employees. 

Soon after, the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology, received in 2016 by the Japanese Yoshinori Osumi was about deciphering the mechanism of cell repair and regeneration after following intermittent fasting diet plan .

The scientist investigated the process of autophagy – the mechanism by which living cells get rid of defective proteins and organelles. 

Yoshinori Osumi found out that the degree of autophagy, that is, the speed of getting rid of accumulated “garbage”, depends on the level of energy in the cells. When energy is low (the cell is hungry), it destroys damaged or old proteins more intensively, making them a source of energy.

The most obvious effect of IF fasting days is weight loss. Weight loss help to improve cardiovascular health and blood circulation. Due to the rather long fasting intervals, the body receives fewer calories, which quickly affects waistline and hips.

Several published research articles show that IF significantly caused weight loss by 3–8% in 3–24 weeks. IF was also effective in minimizing visceral fat mass, fasting insulin, and insulin resistance.

Natural Immunity Booster

As one of natural cell repair and regeneration remedy, intermittent fasting significantly strengthens lymphatic system. The human body is designed in such a way that every second, more than 2.5 million cells die and are born in it, the body is constantly busy with their renewal. 

During fasting, the body begins to work more actively, which has a positive effect on cell regeneration process.

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

Weight loss is one of the most prominent effects of IF. The secretion of gastric juice during IF decreases which reducing the stomach acidity, from the excess of which many people suffer, and subsequently reducing the likelihood of peptic ulcer disease

Moreover, research published in Endocrinology Journal highlights that IF is helpful to achieve muscle mass retention as compared to calorie restriction.

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Taking excessive fluids help in intermittent fasting (Source Pixabay)

Intermittent Fasting Plan

Before we start, we need to remind that although many people no longer have the prejudice that “dieting is bad for the body”, there are still some misunderstandings about intermittent fasting. First of all, fasting is not “not eating anything”, in some cases it actually refers to “limiting calorie intake as much as possible”; there are many types, not just “eating less for one or two days”.

You can apply some methods very easily.

There are two broad categories of intermittent fasting: one of which is all-day fasting. The main methods are:

Plan 1: 16/8 Method

If you are aware of the intermittent fasting benefits: say weight loss, reduced inflammation, reduced desire for food, more energy and better sleep. Then definitely you will be thinking to fast to achieve these benefits. So let’s check how the 16: 8 method works at all.

16:8 method of intermittent fasting is gaining popularity among researchers. This method includes:

  • 16-hour fast “in”
  • 8-hour feeding period.

Example: You have your first meal close to noon, say at 11 am, and then eat from then until seven in the evening. During this eating period, you eat two to three meals, which of course consist of a healthy diet. Emphasis on healthy: Why? 

It quickly happens that in a period of eight hours, everything is on the plates. The choice of food is very important.

Fats consumption starts when body shifts from storage mode during intermittent fasting
Body shifts from storage mode when we apply intermittent fasting

Many experts say that intermittent fasting can help with weight loss or stagnation. Fasting awake the body from the ‘storage mode’ and mobilize the fat supply as a source of energy.

This means that without a constant food source (fuel) that you get from eating all day, your body will switch to fat consumption, it has already stored. This is why people are very successful at losing weight with the help of intermittent fasting.

Plan 2: 5:2 Diet

The 5:2 fasting method is a highly respected form of intermittent fasting, which specifically refers to the recommended calorie intake for 5 days a week, and the remaining 2 days to reduce the calorie intake to 25% , which is recommended on fasting days Women consume 500 calories and men consume 600 calories.

Point to be Emphasized

  • The two days of fasting are generally discontinuous, because continuous reduction of calorie intake makes it difficult to control appetite
  • Choose a healthy diet for the remaining 5 days instead of compensatory overeating

Eat Stop Eat Method

Fast for 24 hours a couple of times a week. During the 24 hour fast, the founder Brad Pilon prefers to call “24 meal break,” no food is consumed, but you can drink sodas. Then you return to eating after the fast is over. “Act as if you weren’t fasting,” says Pilon. 

Some people today have to end their fast at their regular mealtime with a large meal, while others are fine by finishing their fast with a daily snack. However, if it works best for you, fix the time when your program changes, ” he says.

Alternative Day Fasting

Fasting every other day suggests that you limit yourself to eating every other day. There are several ways to do this fast, and some allow for about 500 calories on fasting days. Many laboratory studies have shown that intermittent fasting has positive health effects.

Avoiding food entirely may seem too extreme and is not recommended for beginners. By sticking to this method, you will go to bed hungry several times a week. This is not very pleasant and can be an overwhelming task for many.

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Intermittent fasting regulates body’s physiological processes (Pixabay)

Spontaneous Meal Skipping Method

Spontaneous skipping of meals means that you can skip one meal and two meals when you are not hungry, instead of following a certain fasting method. In other words, when you are not hungry after breakfast, skip lunch and eat dinner again when you are hungry.

Conclusion

In general, intermittent fasting can be a pretty good thing that can improve your quality of life. So it makes sense to give it a try. Unless, of course, your medical advisor doesn’t mind.

Disclaimer

This website provides information about natural foods and their potential health benefits to improve overall human wellness. The content provided in this platform or linked to this blog could not be considered as an alternative to advice of professional medical practitioners. You should consult your health care provider in case of disease incidences and severe emergencies.

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About the Author: The Food For

My name is Dr. Kashif Ameer. As admin of The Food For Blog, I love to write on the health benefits of natural foods. I completed my doctoral program in Food Science and Biotechnology back in 2018. My research work involved in developing innovative and functional foods, food safety, food processing, nutritional improvement of food products, extraction of phytochemicals from plants matrices and detection of irradiated foods. I have rich experience in scholarly publishing and serving as an associate editor for the Journal of Ginseng Research.

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