Intermittent fasting has become a health craze in recent years. There is so much information on sites about intermittent fasting and other dieting methods that the choices can seem overwhelming. Many diets are becoming a trend and gaining popularity for various reasons, but what’s the deal with intermittent fasting?
If you are new to the concept, it’s essentially eating only during certain hours of the day, while avoiding eating for a period of time in the morning, afternoon and evening. It’s not necessarily a diet, but more of a lifestyle choice.
In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of intermittent fasting and explain how it can help you accomplish your health goals. Keep reading to learn more!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (also known as IF) is a nutrition-based weight management method that alternates between fasting and eating. In their periods of fasting, dieters only consume foods and drinks with no calories at all. Non-fasting periods allow dieters to eat a larger amount of food to make up for the fasting period and achieve the same number of calories per day.
While intermittent fasting diets have existed for centuries, studies have only recently begun to show that these diets are highly effective for weight loss. This eating pattern has been associated with different religions worldwide. It is assumed that our ancestors also had intermittent fasting because they went to sleep early at night compared to our standards and only ate breakfast after hunting and gathering crops, which usually took many hours.
Common Myths about Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a weight loss technique that relies on intermittent cycles. However, many believe intermittent fasting is dangerous or the same as starving. Here are some of the most common myths about this pattern of dieting:
- Myth: Intermittent fasting is a fad diet. Intermittent fasting is not a diet. It is an eating pattern. You won’t restrict food groups at all if you don’t want. It doesn’t promise miraculous results in little time, either. Thus, it doesn’t enter the category of fad diets.
- Myth: Intermittent fasting can cause insulin resistance. Some people think that intermittent fasting can cause insulin resistance. However, the effect is the complete opposite. Some people have even reduced their insulin resistance problems with this method.
- Myth: Intermittent fasting is unsafe. Intermittent fasting is safe for most people. If you stick to a healthy diet and an average calorie intake, intermittent fasting will not cause health issues. There are contraindications, though, as we will address further down in this article.
- Myth: Intermittent fasting may slow your metabolism. People think their metabolism is faster when they keep eating every 3 hours nonstop. But that’s not true. Your metabolism is faster if you have a higher muscle mass, so it doesn’t depend on how often you eat.
- Myth: Intermittent fasting causes headaches. Many people can experience headaches when they try intermittent fasting for the first time. However, that’s maybe because they started making changes too suddenly. There are ways to prevent this from happening.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
There is not only one form of intermittent fasting. Different types can suit different people at different stages. However, each fasting plan follows the same basic principle, which is to eat in a restricted timeframe.
The types of intermittent fasting can be broken down into three main categories:
- Time-restricted fasting: This type of fasting requires you to eat within a set time frame (for example, eating only between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.).
- Twice-a-week fasting: This type of fasting requires you to choose two days in the week and adopt an intermittent fasting method only on these days. It is a good entry point to get used to intermittent fasting.
- Alternate-day fasting: This type of fasting requires you to eat all your calories on one day and fast on the other.