Some researches in nutrition in this era suggest that we should eat less often, forcing ourselves to spend more time without consuming food. This practice was common in previous centuries. Mark Mattson, the head of the laboratory of neuroscience at NIA (National Institute of Aging), says that our primary instincts drive our brain to work best when we are hungry and physically active. It happens (to some extent) for success in getting food.
Fasting is a rehearsal that involves entirely resisting from eating or eluding certain foods for a fixed epoch. People have to practice how to fast for periods, mostly for spiritual drives. Fasting is diverse from the likes of a juice rinse out or a two-day deterring diet. There are two categories, traditional and intermittent, each of which pleas to different individuals depending on their objectives and lifestyles. While both are helpful to your brain health, intermittent fasting is better for weight loss and protection.
Introduction to fasting:
Fasting is a practice in which one entirely abstains from eating any food item. Sometimes it may involve the avoiding of only some particular foods for a specific period. Many societies have been practising fasting for centuries, but they mainly do it for religious purposes or as a part of worship. There are two major categories of fasting:
Both two types appeal to different people according to their goals and living styles. Both are beneficial to your body’s health. Intermittent fasting is also suitable for weight loss and fitness of the body.
1. TRADITIONAL FASTING
Traditional fasts usually last 24 hours or sometimes for over two days. They emphasize on developing willpower and self-discipline as opposed to weight loss, consequently makes them a favourite among the people who want to get mentally or spiritually fresh. You want physical benefits too from intermittent fasting, so they must keep it in mind that a single fast will not show the desired impacts. Researches show that it’s a useful tool to help you in understanding hunger and your reaction to it.
If you are a beginner, it is suitable to start with a 24-hour fast and do the following things: Eat dinner, refrain from eating until the next night. Prevent dehydration by drinking enough amount of water and plan your fast for a non-working day. Walking can help you get into nutritional ketosis— a state where your body burns the fat rather than glycogen, but do nothing more diligent until you get accustomed to existing with lower energy levels.
To make the fasting easy for you, try doing it on holidays when you have no burden of work. Since this program is short-term, traditional fasting caters to those who want a radical system reboot. They should prepare you for it.
2. INTERMITTENT FASTING:
In recent years, intermittent fasting has become very popular among people who want to lose weight or improve their health. It is one of the more popular health and fitness trends that regulates metabolism and improves all functions of the body. Many studies prove that fasting can have powerful effects on your body and may help you live a longer life.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a pattern that is a cycle between periods of fasting and eating.
It does not specify which foods you should eat, but it is about which to avoid. In this scenario, it’s not a diet in the typical sense but more accurately explained as an eating pattern.
Standard intermittent fasting methods involve 16-hour or 24-hours fasting, twice in a week. Intermittent fasting mainly involves a long-term routine of short-duration fasts. Its physical benefits are higher than that of traditional fasting. Specifically, it’s highly effective in regulating blood sugar, which prevents fatigue, mood swings, and metabolic health issues. In addition, it can prevent the brain from a number of disorders like ischemia, stroke, neurotoxins, seizures, and oxidative stress etc. It’s also found to be effective in losing weight and getting a better body shape.
INTERMITTENT FASTING METHODS:
There are different techniques of doing intermittent fasting, all of which split the day or week into eating or different eating periods. In the condition of fasting, you don’t eat anything or eat very less.
The more popular methods of intermittent fasting and guidelines for beginners are given below:
The 16\18 Method: Also called the Leangains protocol, skip breakfast and restrict your eating duration to around 8 hours such as 1-9 p.m.
Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, usually once or twice a week, by not eating from dinner on the first day until dinner the next day.
The 5:2 diet: With this method, you use only 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but you are allowed to eat regularly for the other 5 days.
Ø Point to Ponder
By decreasing your calorie intake, all of these methods cause weight loss as long as you do not overeat during eating periods.
Most people find the 16\8 method to be the most convenient and very sustainable.
HOW IT AFFECTS YOUR CELLS AND HORMONES:
- When you observe fast, a lot of things get changed in your body on the cellular level.
- For instance, your body modifies the level of hormones to make the stored body fats (like glycogen) accessible.
- Your cells also begin essential repair processes and change the expression of genes.
- Following are some changes that occur in your body when you are in the state of fasting:
Human Growth hormone:
The levels of Human growth hormone is increasing a lot that is up to five times. It is advantageous in many aspects, like fat loss and muscle gain.
The sensitivity for insulin improves to a reasonable extent and level of insulin drops very fast. Lower levels of insulin make the fat that is already stored in the body.
When you are in the fasting state, the cells in your body, start to repair. This happens because your cells need energy and nourishment through food. When you don’t eat anything, the cells fulfil their energy by digesting old or worn cells, so in this way, cells get repaired by fasting.
Fasting protects against the occurrence of the diseases related to the gene changes. The protection against gene-related viruses are long-lasting, increases the life span of a person.
A tool to weight loss:
Weight loss is now becoming a common disease in recent years, because of a variety of different foods and other unhealthy activities. Variety of foods are the appetizer, which could not be controlled by a common man who has no control over his appetite. But regular fasting can help to do this. By eating and taking fewer meals, intermittent fasting can lead to an automatic decrease in calorie intake. It will change the hormone level to lower down the weight. By lowering down the insulin level and increase of growth hormone levels, then it enhances the extraction of fat burning hormone noradrenaline. Regular fasting may boost your metabolism by 3.6-14%. Intermittent fasting causes less muscle reduction than the standard methods of continuous calorie restriction.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting will only cause your body to lose weight in the desired manner when you eat low calorie instead of eating a massive amount of food and high-calorie intake. Healthy eating habits only tend to lose weight successfully.
Benefits to your health:
Intermittent fasting has a lot of health benefits. These include weight control, brain health. All the internal health issues could resolve due to intermittent fasting and helps you to live a longer and healthy life without any significant health issue.
Here are some main health benefits of intermittent fasting;
Weight loss: Intermittent fasting mainly can help you to lose weight as mentioned above, that is a tool to weight loss, which can burn calories and belly fat without any major restrictions to food and calories.
Insulin resistance: intermittent fasting can help to reduce the resistance to insulin, also lower down the blood sugar by 3-6% and fasting insulin level by 20-31%, which protect against diabetes. Diabetes is mainly caused by more weight and unhealthy eating habits or overeating.
Inflammation: Inflammation is a crucial driver for many chronic diseases. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting reduces the markers of inflammation.
Heart health: Intermittent fasting also helps a lot in improving the health of the heart. It is done by reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood sugar level, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers and also insulin resistance. These factors are heart risks, and when they are reduced, the health of the heart is automatically augmented.
Cancer: Cancer can also be prevented by intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting helps in destroying the old or cancerous cells by autophagy, so the cells which are supposed to cause cancer are removed through fasting and consequently. Hence it protects you from a dangerous disease.
Brain health: Fasting raises the level of a brain hormone BDNF which is responsible for the growth of new nerve cells so as a result makes the brain healthy. It is also found that it protects from Alzheimer’s disease.
Some people should avoid intermittent fastings like those who are weak or suffering from a particular medical condition such as diabetes, low blood pressure, pregnancy or an eating disorder. You should do intermitting fasting after your medical checkup and the consultation of a doctor to avoid any risk and get the maximum benefits.