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A beginner’s guide to improving your health and losing weight

It’s every nutritionist’s dream: Imagine being able to eat whatever you want most days of the week and restricting your intake to one or two days at a time while you lose weight. Believe it or not, intermittent fasting doesn’t just help your waistline. In fact, fasting helps stabilize blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and keep your heart healthy. There are a variety of approaches to intermittent fasting, and numerous studies confirm the numerous benefits to your overall health and well-being. Whether you fast a few hours a day or skip meals two days a week, intermittent fasting can be an easy way to improve your health and reach your weight loss goals.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting, also known as cyclic fasting, has grown in popularity in recent years as more research emerges uncovering new benefits of intermittent fasting. In a 2016 cellular metabolism study titled “Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan,” the authors discuss how fasting allows people to rely less on their glucose stores for energy and instead to rely on their ketone bodies and fat stores. Therefore, intermittent and periodic fasting has benefits ranging from prevention to improved treatment of disease. Even fasting-mimicking diets that are not real fasting can produce positive changes similar to those caused by fasting.

However, intermittent fasting is not a new concept. It has been used for centuries in times of food scarcity and even plays a central role in many major religions. In fact, once a year Muslims celebrate Ramadan, a month of fasting from dawn to dusk. It’s difficult to define intermittent fasting because there isn’t one right way to do it. In fact, there are many variations of intermittent fasting around the world. Each of them follows a different dietary pattern, which is often strictly followed in order to achieve physical or even mental results.

How does it work?

Extensive research on the concept of intermittent fasting suggests that it works in two different ways to improve different facets of health. First, intermittent fasting leads to a reduction in oxidative stress on cells in the body. Second, fasting improves the body’s ability to manage stress at the cellular level. Intermittent fasting activates cellular stress response pathways similar to very mild stressors and acts as a mild booster to your body’s stress response. As is regularly the case, your body slowly strengthens against cellular stress and ages less and develops fewer diseases.

The most common types of intermittent fasting are:

– Alternate-day fasting: You only eat every other day. On fasting days, some eat nothing at all and others very little, usually around 500 calories. On non-calorie fasting days, we eat normally (but healthy!).

– The Warrior Diet: This diet consists of eating only fruits and vegetables during the day and eating a large meal in the evening.

– The 16/8 fast: With this method, you fast for 16 hours each day and limit your food to eight hours. Most of the time, this simply means not eating after dinner and skipping breakfast the next morning.

Eat-Stop-Eat: Practice the “eat-stop-eat” method by choosing one or two days a week when you fast for 24 hours, and then from dinner that day to dinner the next eat nothing during the day. On the other days you should have normal calorie days.

– 5:2 diet: You eat normally five days a week. For the remaining two days of fasting, you should limit your calorie intake to 500-600 calories per day.

5 benefits of intermittent fasting

1. Promote weight loss

One of the main benefits of intermittent fasting is its ability to accelerate fat burning and aid in weight loss. In fact, many people prefer intermittent fasting over traditional diets because it doesn’t require you to meticulously measure your food and track calories and grams burned.
Fasting leads to increased fat burning and rapid weight loss by forcing your body to use stored fat for fuel. When you eat, your body uses glucose (sugar) as its main source of energy and stores what’s left as glycogen in your muscles and liver.

If you don’t provide your body with a steady stream of glucose, it begins to break down glycogen to use as fuel. Once the glycogen is depleted, the body looks for other sources of energy, such as B. fat cells, which he then breaks down to provide the body with energy.

A 2015 study looked at the effects of a one-day fast on body composition and found that it reduced body weight by 7% and body fat by 5 kg on average. All-day fasting yielded similar results, but with a reduction in body weight of up to 9%. (4) The effect of an all-day fast on your precious muscle stores is less clear. Another study looking at the 16/8 intermittent fasting method showed that it significantly reduced body fat while maintaining muscle mass and strength.

2. Improved blood sugar

When you eat, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream. A hormone called insulin is responsible for moving glucose from the bloodstream to cells where it can be used for energy. Insulin doesn’t always work effectively when you have diabetes, which can lead to high blood sugar levels with symptoms like fatigue, thirst, and frequent urination. Some studies have shown that intermittent fasting benefits blood sugar by keeping it well regulated and avoiding spikes and dips. In one study, participants with diabetes fasted an average of 16 hours a day for two weeks. Intermittent fasting not only resulted in weight loss and lower calorie intake, but also helped significantly lower blood sugar levels.

3. Keeps your heart healthy

One of the most impressive benefits of intermittent fasting is its heart health benefits. Studies show that intermittent fasting improves your heart health by reducing certain risk factors for heart disease. In one study, fasting was shown to affect several components of heart health. It has been shown to increase good HDL cholesterol and lower bad LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

4. Reducing Inflammation

Inflammation is a normal immune response to injury. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can lead to chronic diseases. Some research has even linked inflammation to conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. A study published in Nutrition Research followed 50 people who observed Ramadan and showed that they had decreased levels of certain inflammatory markers while fasting during Ramadan. Another 2015 study found that longer duration of overnight fasting was associated with lower markers of inflammation. In the journal Rejuvenation Research, fasting on the second day was found to reduce markers of oxidative stress.

5. Reduced hunger

Leptin, also known as the satiety hormone, is a hormone produced by fat cells that signals it’s time to stop eating. Your leptin levels go down when you’re hungry and go up when you’re feeling full. Because leptin is produced in fat cells, overweight or obese people tend to have higher levels of leptin in their bodies. However, too much leptin in circulation can lead to leptin resistance, making it harder to effectively turn off hunger stimuli. Lower leptin levels could lead to less leptin resistance, less hunger, and possibly even greater weight loss.

The best way to practice intermittent fasting

As discussed above, there are many types of fasting with different options to fit any schedule or lifestyle. It’s best to experiment and find the one that works best for your unique needs.

For beginners, the easiest way to get started is with the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting, a form of time-restricted eating. This usually means not having an evening snack after dinner and not having breakfast the next morning. For example, if you do not eat between 8 p.m. and 12 p.m. the next day, you have already fasted for 16 hours.

Keep in mind that intermittent fasting should be viewed as a lifestyle change rather than a diet. Unlike traditional diets, there is no need to count points or calories or log foods in a food journal every night.

To get the most benefit from intermittent fasting, fill your diet with healthy, whole foods on the days you eat to get as many nutrients into your day as possible. Also, always listen to your body. If you feel weak or tired from not eating all day, try upping your intake a bit and have a light meal or snack. You can also try one of the other intermittent fasting methods and see what works for you.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.

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