Intermittent Fasting: Benefits beyond Weight loss

Intermittent fasting

Lately we’ve been hearing the term intermittent fasting a lot. So many people around us are giving it a go and reaping the benefits of this super beneficial lifestyle change. It sounds like a super technical term way out of our reach, whereas in reality it’s extremely simple to adapt into our lives. This is not just a fad which you do for a little while and then give but rather a lifelong habit. So many celebrities have been following intermittent fasting and advocating for it. What makes it so special? Most of us aren’t fully aware of what intermittent fasting is, how to do it, and what benefits it can provide.

The Definition

The statement that Intermittent Fasting is a diet is a myth. Intermittent fasting is actually better described as a diet pattern which alternates between specified periods of fasting and eating. This may seem unnatural but is in fact one of the most natural ways of consumption for Humans. Fasting has been a major part of human evolution as in ancient times people did not have means to store food after hunting and would have to go extended periods of time without food. This is why our bodies naturally adapt to fasting and can survive without food for long periods. Fasting is a prevalent part of religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism. As Muslims, we observe fasting every year in the month of Ramzan and that concept in not at all different from intermittent fasting. During Ramzan we fast for 14-15 hours from sunrise to sunset, during which we cannot consume anything, and can eat regularly for the rest of the 9-10 hours. This is the same concept as Intermittent fasting. There is no fixed way to follow Intermittent Fasting. Methods of Intermittent fasting usually consist of 16 hour fasts per day or a 24 hour fast 2 times a week. Intermittent fasting in no way restricts what we eat. It only specifies the timings of when we can consume our meals and when we cannot. That is how Intermittent fasting differs from regular diet plan which specify what types of food we can eat and in what amounts.

Intermittent fasting as a weight loss tool

The main reason for people to start Intermittent fasting is to lose weight. It can be a very powerful weight loss tool only if it is done right. The restricted eating periods can reduce the calories you in take which can in turn cause healthy weight loss. Alternatively, if you start eating much more during intermittent fasting, it can cause massive weight gain. Secondly, Intermittent fasting can boost your metabolic rate by around 3%-14%. This is caused by the change in hormonal levels and lowered insulin levels. Intermittent fasting increases the amount of the fat burning hormone norepinephrine in our bodies. Lowered insulin levels make access to the stored body fat much easier which further aids weight loss. A fast-metabolic rate means that your body burns more calories even when it is at rest. When more calories are burned, you end up losing weight even at when your body is in a state of rest.

Intermittent fasting as a health rejuvenation tool

Studies have shown that Intermittent fasting can have many benefits for our health and can help us live longer. One the greatest health benefits of intermittent fasting is weight loss itself. Obesity can lead to an array of health problems which can be fatal for us. The second most important health benefit that Intermittent fasting provides is control over insulin levels. This can protect us from type 2 diabetes as blood sugar can be lowered by 3-6% whereas fasting insulin levels can be decreased by a massive 20-31%. Furthermore, intermittent fasting can leave you with a much healthier heart. It reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides which can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease. Lastly intermittent fasting can have anti-aging capability by increasing skin health and extending lifespans in the long term.

A healthy lifestyle choice

Intermittent fasting makes maintaining a healthy lifestyle much simpler. With a fixed routine, it is much easier to schedule your meals and avoid eating the wrong types of foods at the wrong times. The biggest reason of weight increase is eating the wrong type of foods at the wrong hours, which can easily be controlled during Intermittent fasting. Hence this is a lifestyle choice that you should definitely make. The most important factor is that unlike other diet plans and routines, Intermittent fasting is a sustainable way to lose weight and stay fit.

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Salman Masood

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