In an industry as competitive as fitness is, you find new trends about diets, workouts, equipment or supplements.
In the last few years, intermittent fasting has become a popular habit among gym fans, influencers and even some athletes. It consists of not eating any solids for a determined time. That means that you can have water, coffee, tea and any other non-caloric drink as you are fasting.
Let’s have a look at what is the science behind intermittent fasting and if this practice recommended for everyone.
Intermittent fasting benefits
- Increases the levels of hormones responsible for muscle production and fat reduction
- Improves insulin sensitivity (good for preventing diabetes), blood pressure and slows aging mechanisms
- Improves heart disease risk indicators
- Improves anti-cancer mechanisms, glucose and fat metabolism, DNA repair, immune system and cognitive function
- It helps in the fat loss
- Stimulates the autophagy, a sort of cellular recycling process which, among other benefits, promotes the longevity
Those are just a few of the benefits. If you dig into the scientific literature you would find plenty more.
Intermittent Fasting Methods
- Intermittent fasting 12/12: you don’t know, but you might be doing it. You need to create a “feeding window” of 12 hrs. For example, you get your breakfast at 8 am and you should be finishing your last meal of the day by 8 pm.
- Intermittent fasting 8/16: Adding four more hours of fasting allows you to take advantage of the benefits a bit more. You can skip your breakfast and start eating at 12 pm instead with your last meal of the day again about 7:30-8 pm.
- 24 hrs and more: After a few weeks doing the previous two you should be able to tolerate longer fasting periods. It is a good experience now and then, most of the benefits can achieved with a 16/12 approach.
- The ideal method for you really depends on your schedule, so choose the one that requires the least changes in your daily routine. As always, the key is to be consistent.
- Additionally, there are no strict rules for doing intermittent fasting. It is not necessary to do an exact 8/16, it might be 9/15 or 6/18 and still works. Just get close to the concept.
Who shouldn’t do intermittent fasting?
- Children in growing stages
- Pregnant women
- People with a history of eating disorders
- High-performance athletes (depending on the phase of the program you are).