The intermittent fasting diet has many health benefits for the body, and it has many different methods from which you can choose what suits you best. What is this diet? What are its many benefits to your health?
What is an intermittent fasting diet?
Intermittent fasting is a diet that mainly relies on refraining from eating for certain hours during the day or for certain days of the week, and it has several forms and methods.
The most common form of intermittent fasting is eating only during the 8-hour period of the day, and refraining from it during the next 16 hours from the rest of the day, which is known as the 16: 8 diet.
It is possible to do intermittent fasting of type 16: 8 either daily or day after day or during certain days only per week.
Intermittent fasting is an easy-to-follow and effective diet, especially since it does not include many rules or food deprivation.
The benefits of intermittent fasting
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting, especially of type 16: 8, is associated with many health and aesthetic benefits, the most important of which are:
1- Weight loss
This diet helps reduce the amounts of food eaten during the day and thus reduces the calories entering the body, and intermittent fasting helps to improve metabolism and burn body fat.
2- Slow down aging
Some studies have found that intermittent fasting may help significantly delay the aging of the body and the manifestations of aging.
3- Improving blood sugar levels
Intermittent fasting improves insulin levels and blood sugar and reduces the chances of developing diabetes.
Intermittent fasting methods
It is possible to do intermittent fasting by following more than one method. Here are the most common methods of intermittent fasting:
1- Fasting for 12 hours a day
This method is considered one of the methods most suitable for beginners especially, as this method of fasting depends on refraining from eating solid food for 12 continuous hours of your choice, and eating healthy food during the remaining 12 hours.
Intermittent fasting here helps convert the fat stored in the body into energy, which causes weight loss.
2- Fasting for a full day every week
This type of fasting is based on refraining from eating completely for 1-2 days per week (i.e. 24 continuous hours at a time), while allowing only fluids during the fasting period, such as water, coffee, and tea without sugar.
But it must be noted that this body of intermittent fasting may involve some risks and annoying symptoms, such as fatigue and headache, especially in the early periods of its followers, which may become less severe with the body’s habit of this pattern of intermittent fasting.
It is also preferred for beginners to resort to fewer hours before reaching the full 24 hours, to gradually return to the body.
3- Fasting day after day
This method is based on fasting on a day and eating normally the next day and so on. Here, a person may choose one of the following methods:
Avoid eating any solid foods on the day of fasting.
Or eat a maximum of 500 calories a day.
Some studies have shown that intermittent fasting with this method may greatly help lose weight and improve heart and circulatory system health, especially for obese people.
It is not preferable to follow this type of intermittent fasting by beginners or those with certain medical conditions.
4- Fasting for 16 hours
This is the most common intermittent fasting principle, which we explained in detail in the introduction to the article, which is called the 16: 8 diet and this type of intermittent fasting are especially suitable for those who have not used the fasting method for 12 years.
This type of intermittent fasting may particularly help to combat many diseases, especially: obesity, diabetes, liver disease, and various infections.
5- Fasting for two days a week
Intermittent fasting of type 5: 2 helps to reduce the number of calories consumed every week, especially during fasting days, usually:
Men with this type of intermittent fasting only get 600 calories during the day of fasting.
Women get 500 calories during the day of fasting.
It is preferable not to perform fasting for two consecutive days, but to include days in which food is normally eaten between the specified fasting days. However, studies on the benefits of this type of fasting are still very limited.
6- Missing meals
In this type of intermittent fasting, you only need to miss some of the main meals during the day (1-2 meals). But you must make sure here that the meals that are eaten are healthy and sufficient.
This type of intermittent fasting may suit many groups, as meals are eaten only when feeling hungry and leaving them when a person does not feel hungry.
7- Military style
This type of intermittent fasting is the most severe and severe of the above-mentioned methods and depends on doing very little amounts of food often consisting only of vegetables and fruits during a period of 20 hours of fasting in exchange for eating a large main meal at night during the 4-hour period in which eating is allowed Food naturally.
The main evening meal should contain sufficient and balanced amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and other important nutrients.
But it is worth noting here that the risks of this type of intermittent fasting are numerous, as the body may not get enough of the dietary fiber and some important elements, which leads to raising the chances of developing cancer and reducing the body’s immunity.
The dangers of intermittent fasting
Although the benefits of intermittent fasting are many and many, they do come with several potential risks that you should realize and know well, and here are the most important:
Various digestive problems and disorders.
Weight gain caused by excessive eating outside fasting hours.
Side effects that may arise when starting and gradually fade with the body’s habit of intermittent fasting, including fatigue, general weakness.
Intermittent fasting may negatively affect fertility in women.
General advice for successful intermittent fasting
To get the desired and healthy results from intermittent fasting, it is preferable to follow the following important rules and guidelines:
Take a break whenever the body needs it, and avoid extreme activities during the fasting period.
Including the granulated food in the prescribed rations outside the fasting hours, even in small quantities, to avoid any excess or deprivation.
Using some healthy food flavors in abundance, may suppress the appetite and increase the feeling of satiety for longer periods, especially garlic, vinegar, and various healthy herbs.
Choose healthy foods that have scarce calories and are large in sizes, such as popcorn and watermelon.
Get enough water all the time and eat hot, sugar-free herbal drinks during the fasting period.
Please consult the physician of your choice before starting this, or any, diet plan or exercise program