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Over the past decade, intermittent fasting has gained popularity as a fitness and health trend. It is an effective method of managing your weight and even controlling certain health conditions. Read on to learn more about intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that consists of cycles of fasting and eating. Unlike dieting, which typically focuses on how many calories and which foods you eat, this method is all about when you eat. Because of this, intermittent fasting is one of the simplest and most affordable means of improving your health. It doesn't require any special equipment or expensive trips to the grocery store.
Human beings already naturally fast for up to eight hours a day. After all, you don't eat in your sleep (unless you engage in somnambular activity, which is a topic for another day). Even without taking that into account, fasting is not a new phenomenon. The practice of fasting has existed throughout almost the entirety of human evolution. Back in the hunter-gatherer days, before the age of refrigeration and the widespread availability of food, people would go for long periods of time not eating when food was scarce.
Various cultures have practiced fasting for religious and spiritual reasons, as well. Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism all have occasions or celebrations that call for periods of fasting. Around the world, many people fast for cultural reasons with traditions that date back thousands of years.
Aside from cultural and religious reasons, there are a range of health benefits that come with the practice of intermittent fasting. Your body runs on calories, to put it simply. When you eat, the calories from that food are used as fuel for everyday activities. Any excess calories from fat, sugar, and carbohydrates are stored as glucose in various places for use later on. After hours without eating, your body will begin to exhaust those stores, causing you to lose weight.
However, the benefits go beyond weight loss once you understand how intermittent fasting works. Fasting eventually causes your body to switch its energy source from glucose stored in the liver to enzymes called ketones stored in fat cells around your body. The use of these ketones not only decreases the number of fat cells, but their release into your bloodstream signals several potent metabolic and hormonal changes. These may include:
There are several different schedules that people use when fasting to ensure that they are getting the most out of the practice without simply starving themselves. For example, following the 18:6 intermittent fasting schedule means fasting for 18 hours with a 6-hour eating window.
The most common method is the 16:8 schedule. Since people sleep for eight hours without eating, it's easy to extend that time period after waking up. You can skip breakfast, eat a small snack around noon, and have your first meal around dinner time. That way, you carve out a window of eight hours to eat and 16 hours to fast, half of which you will spend asleep.
Another method is the 5:2 schedule. This involves regularly eating for five days of the week, then picking two days to limit yourself to a restricted amount of calories. Most people stick to 500 to 600 calories during restricted days, but the amount you take in is up to you, just as long as it's less than what you normally ingest.
Periods of fasting that last longer than 24 hours have not been shown to have an increased benefit. In fact, engaging in longer fasting periods runs the risk of sending the body into starvation mode. Consumption of glucose slows dramatically in a function of evolution designed to preserve your energy stores during times of famine. Intermittent fasting for 24 hours or less is generally safe.
However, certain people may wish to avoid the practice of fasting unless under the direct supervision of a medical professional:
Intermittent fasting will have different effects on different people for a variety of reasons. Even people in good health should consult with a physician before engaging in an intermittent fasting program.
Intermittent fasting has several impressive health benefits for those who practice it. In combination with healthy eating habits, it can virtually turn back the clock on your metabolism. And for an even greater result, Mdrive supplements can help you maintain energy, muscle growth, weight loss, and sexual health as you age. Get in touch with us today to prioritize your health and rediscover your prime.
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