Intermittent Fasting (IF) is the hot new phrase that is being used all across the health and fitness community. It is an eating pattern, rather than a diet, that goes between periods of fasting and feasting. There are different ways to accomplish this style of eating, but the most popular patterns are highlighted below.
• 16/8 protocol-skip breakfast, restrict eating period to 8 hours (ex: 12-8pm), and fast for 16 hours
• 24 hour protocol-fast for 24 hours, once or twice per week
•5:2 protocol-eat normally, then consume 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days in the week
The most common reason for participating in IF is to lose weight. Weight loss is accomplished because you are reducing your daily calorie intake. However, this eating pattern is also beneficial on a cellular level and what actually happens inside your body. Through fasting, the human growth hormone increases, which results in both weight loss and muscle gain. It is helpful for cellular repair and new growth of cells, especially in the brain. Additionally, it may improve insulin sensitivity, which means stored body fat is more accessible.
While the benefits are abundant, intermittent fasting is not for everyone. People who are underweight or have a history of eating disorders are not encouraged to partake in this eating plan. And there are some studies that indicate this way of eating is more favorable to men than women. Before starting intermittent fasting, one should consult with a doctor or medical professional.
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