Intermittent fasting is an increasingly popular nutrition trend that is found interesting by many people who want to lose weight. UC Davis Health Registered Dietitian Melinda Gong explains the concept of intermittent fasting and discusses the pros and cons of this eating plan.
Where Does Fasting Come From?
First, it is important to define fasting. Fasting means not consuming food consciously. In contrast, hunger is a condition that involves the inability to eat, based on factors beyond a person's control.
The practice of fasting dates back to ancient times and was a common practice to help heal the body. It has also been claimed to have religious origins and can strengthen people's religious ties. For example, there is an example where fasting during Ramadan is practiced especially from morning until evening.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
The idea of intermittent fasting is based on the idea that the body can obtain energy from fat stores more quickly and efficiently. Glucose is the main source of energy coming from carbohydrates, but in case of glucose deficiency, the body turns to fat burning. This condition occurs more during times of food deficiency. Our body's fat storage capacity is almost unlimited.
Intermittent fasting can be implemented in many different ways. There is no one perfect fasting plan, and finding the best one often depends on your personal lifestyle.
Fasting for 12 hours or more daily is one method. The average person sleeps about 7 hours, so sleep time is included in the fasting period. Not eating after dinner can help the body increase fat burning. This approach can be especially effective if you have a habit of snacking in the evening.
Another form of intermittent fasting involves alternate-day fasting. This approach means eating whatever you want 5 or 6 days a week and fasting 1 or 2 days a week. It is recommended to drink water and broth on fasting days so that you do not become dehydrated. This type of fasting can be especially beneficial for people who have a busy work schedule and cannot eat regularly.
Remember: It's important to choose healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat meats, plant proteins and low-fat dairy products in your meal choices.
Is Intermittent Fasting Right for You?
This question can be difficult to answer. Overall, it is important to determine your goals and the reason you want to try intermittent fasting. Is this something you intend to pursue for life?
Many people consider trying fasting to lose weight, but if it's not a sustainable plan and you can't keep it up for life, you may regain the weight you lost. Intermittent fasting may aid weight loss, especially when you choose balanced meals and consume controlled portions during fasting times.
Pay attention to your own eating habits. If you find that you have a habit of snacking at night, intermittent fasting can provide discipline and help you eat less. If your dinner time is late, you can adjust your eating times to allow your body to start fasting earlier.
Other health benefits of intermittent fasting are still under research and not enough is known about how it affects chronic conditions. If you're considering trying intermittent fasting, it's important to talk to a health advisor first. Any type of fasting can be risky if you take certain medications or have certain health problems. Your healthcare provider can evaluate your health history and provide guidance. It's important to try methods that you're happy with and can implement sustainably. If sticking to a certain eating pattern seems stressful, intermittent fasting may not be right for you.