Intermittent fasting is the new big thing. The question is, is it right for you? First off, I personally consider intermittent fasting an advanced health and fitness diet program. If you are a person who doesn't eat healthy now, then altering your diet toward healthy foods should be your first priority.
I've known people to go without food until the end of the day and then drink a soda or a diet soda and have doughnut or a chocolate bar. By doing that they do themselves more harm than good. This kind of strategy will lead to being diabetic. From a health and fitness standpoint, if you plan on doing intermittent fasting to lose weight, then you need to pay even more attention to the types of foods you eat.
One of the benefits of intermittent fasting is thought to be that the body has a greater ability to absorb nutrients from food. Obviously, this does you no good if you don't eat nutrient dense foods. To get into shape and build muscle, and to lose weight long term, you have to have the proper nutrition. There's no way around that.
I have noticed that many people who are younger than myself have a lot of diet advice on YouTube. Some believe that the reason you should try intermittent fasting is so you don't have to be as restrictive to what you eat. Personally, I think that's the completely wrong reason to do intermittent fasting. For young people out there reading this, I want to advise you that when you are young, in your teens or 20's, you can get away with just about anything and still feel like you are making progress. If you eat anything and exercise, assuming that you have good genetics, you might see progress, and believe that you are ok in your diet only to find out that, as you get older, your diet plan was garbage.
Take advice from older guys, as you get older you notice right away if something is working or if it's not because it takes a superior diet and exercise plan just to keep going forward. Some of you younger people can choke down cheeseburgers, head to gym and still make gains, but just think what kind of progress you'd make by eating clean in your younger years while it is still easy to grow muscle and recover quickly.
For people that are struggling with weight gain, the temptation to just go without food is a strong one, but this usually just leads to overeating later on. This is exactly why so many people in their late 30's and beyond are overweight. Yo yo dieting never works. The reason being, is that these types of foods are addictive. Food manufacturers add enough sugar and sodium and other ingredients that create addictive behavior in their customers. Studies with rats have shown that sugar by itself can be as addictive as hard drugs. Sugar in fruit isn't as addictive because the fiber slows down the absorption of the sugar.
Yo yo dieting leads to muscle loss which leads to more fat gain. On the other hand if you were to eat real fruits and vegetables and healthy meats you eventually lose any addiction you might have to food and begin to eat to live, not living just to eat. Once you have the right types of foods down, then you have begin to look at intermittent fasting for it's added benefits such as longer life, human growth hormone production, and weight loss. For the average person, though losing weight will be a gradual natural constant once you get rid of your processed junk food addictions, that is, until you reach your natural weight. Exercise is important of course. Studies show that for weight loss, nothing beats weightlifting. That being said diet beats exercise in terms of weight loss.
So, as I've said, intermittent fasting is an advanced diet plan, but if you have already been eating clean for a good long while and want to go to the next level, then still keep this in mind -- if you fast too much for an extended period of time, you could still conceivably slow your metabolism down as the body tries to adjust to the lower level of food. This is why the best approach to intermittent fasting, I believe, is an off and on approach. At the time of this writing I am just getting into intermittent fasting. I've delayed breakfast here and there, and have seen a little success.
I've done really well with eating small meals throughout the day, but I am a little concerned that, while the foods I eat aren't the sugar filled snacks that spike insulin, I have concerns about eating too often having some negative consequences later on down the road. So, for this reason, to reach new levels of health and fitness I am trying to get used to skipping meals occasionally, and I plan on going longer without food as I progress, probably about once or twice a week.
I found that even going only to 11 a.m. while working in the yard, I lost a pound, and I kept it off once I went back to normal eating patterns the next day, even two weeks later.
Now that that is all out of the way, here are the
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent fasting helps to normalize insulin and leptin sensitivity and it boosts energy efficiency. Eating sugar for example, will cause insulin resistance. The more sugar you eat the higher your insulin, the more your body becomes resistant to it, which is the opposite of what you want. Insulin resistance leads to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Fasting helps to reset the body to using fat, instead of sugar, as a primary fuel which makes it easier to lose fat.
Fasting raises HGH. According to an article I read by Dr. Mercola, it can be raised as high as 1,300 percent in women and 2,000 percent in men. HGH slows down the aging process and it burns fat.
Fasting reduces oxidative stress. Fasting decreases the oxidative radicals and prevents damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids.
There are many ways to tackle intermittent fasting, but as I said, I personally, believe the best way is to make sure you alternate your fasting schedule so that your body doesn't get wise and slow down your metabolism. That being said, if you can operate on less food throughout the day long-term, and don't go back to eating higher quantities of food later on down the road, you may be better off in terms of aging and longetivity.
Everybody is different and, as such, there are many variables to deal with in coming up with the perfect plan for the individual. So do what works best for you, keeping in mind the benefits and the possible drawbacks.
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