Intermittent fasting is a strategy that is used to make metabolic changes in the body, mainly aimed at losing body fat and mitigating the consequences of a poor diet.
In the following article, we give you all the information about intermittent fasting, its benefits and how to do it.
What is intermittent fasting?
According to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy , fasting consists of abstinence from all food and drink after a certain hour. (1)
In this sense, intermittent fasting, contrary to what many people think, is not a diet , it consists of a protocol where the meal schedule that has been taking place is changed, in order to lengthen a fasting period for a certain number of hours.
What benefits does intermittent fasting have?
The benefits of intermittent fasting derive from changes in the body’s metabolism . Here we mention the most relevant:
1. Helps you lose weight
The limitation in the consumption of food during the fasting period, reduces the consumption of calories and additionally causes the organism to use its own energy reserves to continue functioning, including fats.
In this sense, some studies indicate that intermittent fasting may be an option to achieve weight loss and maintenance. (two)
Note: Intermittent fasting, added to moderate physical activity, ensures weight loss.
2. Reduces cellular oxidative damage
When we consume food in the daily diet, the human body through metabolism generates waste products , causing oxidative stress in cells.
In this sense, and according to an article by the Colombian Society of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery , intermittent fasting minimizes the processes of cell synthesis, growth and reproduction , avoiding the production of free radicals, favoring the maintenance and repair processes. (3)
3. Improves cardiovascular health
Regarding cardiovascular health, intermittent fasting helps reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels , reduces problems caused by arteriosclerosis, in addition to improving heart rate. (4)
4. Decreases insulin resistance
One of the main hormones is insulin and its resistance in the body, it occurs when fat cells grow excessively , causing the secretion of substances that inhibit insulin sensitivity and secreting another in less quantity, which is what produces sensitivity to insulin. this hormone.
Therefore, intermittent fasting significantly reduces the formation of adipose cells, avoiding insulin resistance processes.
To highlight: Studies indicate that intermittent fasting promotes glucose metabolism, preventing the onset of diabetes. (5)
5. Helps control anxiety about eating
Intermittent fasting little by little helps you regulate your appetite , and during the hours in which the protocol allows you to eat food, you will subconsciously have less anxiety to eat . This results as a consequence of the changes that occur in the body’s metabolism .
Note: Incorporating a healthy diet rich in protein and fiber during the hours that the protocol allows you to eat will help to alleviate hunger cravings.
How is intermittent fasting done?
In this regard, there are several types of methods to carry out this intermittent fasting protocol. We mention the most important ones:
1. Select the most appropriate fasting method
In this aspect there are different opinions, since each person has a different objective and will adapt the existing protocols according to their needs. However, all require at least 12 hours of fasting.
Important: Consult your specialist about the available options of this protocol so that the one that best suits your condition and objectives is recommended.
2. Consume liquids that do not provide calories
During the hours of fasting, no type of food can be ingested, only the intake of liquids such as water, tea or infusions is allowed without any caloric load, that is, without adding any type of artificial sweetener.
3. Combine it with exercise and adequate rest
During the fasting period, and during alert hours, it is advisable to carry out moderate physical or sports activities. This will contribute to the mitigation of hunger anxiety and will help in the loss of body fat.
Note: In a background review, they determined that sports activity during the fasting period favors lipid oxidation , lowering triglycerides and cholesterol. (6)
4. Consume healthy foods and in moderate amounts after fasting
It is common that after certain hours of fasting, food anxiety is at its highest, prompting binge eating. At this point, it is necessary to reflect and choose the most convenient for your body.
Note: Choosing food for the daily diet with healthy nutrients and in sufficient quantity is essential in the metabolic adaptability of the organism.
5. Consult a specialist if necessary
It is always advisable to consult people specialized in the subject such as dietitians and nutritionists, who will surely guide you correctly on the intermittent fasting protocol.
Important: The decrease in caloric intake must be carried out with medical supervision , since it affects many factors.
- Intermittent fasting is not a diet , it is a strategy that lengthens the period of food intake.
- The fasting period must include at least 12 continuous hours, in which only liquids without calories must be consumed.
- It is recommended that during feeding hours, healthy foods are consumed.
- Intermittent fasting promotes a change in the body’s metabolism , helping to lose weight and control anxiety about eating.