Intermittent Fasting gains traction as diet alternative

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By Jordan Ruimy

In the last few months research about Intermittent Fasting has become more and more prominent in the fitness community. Intermittent fasting is a simple technique to obtain good health. Many studies have recently proven that high frequency meals are inefficient for weight loss. 

Intermittent fasting, or IF for short, means that you eat as much as you like but do so in a restricted time frame. It’s a way of achieving some of the benefits of caloric restriction without having to count calories and be hungry all the time

Intermittent fasting is a nutritional lifestyle that allows you to increase fat burning hormones such as leptin by following a fast for a desired amount of hours followed by an eating “window.” For example, you fast for 16 hours out of a day and have an 8 hour window to eat whatever you want. This is a very convenient type of diet for the 9-5 worker that doesn’t have the time to eat during his work hours and can only do so when at home. 

At first, I had real skepticism with IF. Weren’t we always trained to have a meal every 2-3 hours to rev up our metabolism and lose weight?  That is until I realized tons of people were achieving lean body mass, decreased body fat, increased energy and better blood sugar levels throughout the day with IF. 

Eye opening research on IF is coming out to prove its benefits. Brain cells become more active after not being fed for a large amount of hours. Some academics are going as far as saying that if you practice IF you have a higher chance of living a longer and healthier life. 

“Suddenly dropping your food intake dramatically — cutting it by at least half for a day or so — triggers protective processes in the brain” explains Professor Mark Mattson, head of neuroscience at the U.S. National Institute On Ageing. Researchers at the University of Newcastle found that an 800 calorie diet for 8 weeks reversed diabetes on a small number of overweight people. And this is just a few of the thousands of examples out there on the benefits of IF.

When doing IF, you should still be eating around 2 meals a day. Those meals must be ideally big in nature because you are going to try to get back all the nutrients you missed during the course of the day. Preferable foods include proteins such as eggs and chicken and carbs such as veggies and fruits. 

However when doing IF you can afford to eat slightly less nutritional foods once in a while, as long as it’s not done on a daily basis. However if going to the gym, make sure you have BCAAS or a Whey protein shake before embarking on the workout. Eat 1 hour after weight training by taking more protein or veggies. 

Intermittent fasting offers multiple health benefits, as long as it’s done properly. Many will see IF as a way of not eating for a long period of time, but it isn’t about starving yourself. It’s about re-feeding your body when the times comes for it. 

The positives that come with it far outweigh the negatives and as research continues to come along promoting its health benefits, who knows? Maybe one day your GP will recommend that you barely eat during the day and stuff yourself at night. One can only dream.

 

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