Intermittent Fasting Benefits and Side-Effects

Pippa Palmira
Mar 5 · 11 min read

You might have the urge to click away from this page once you learn what intermittent fasting is. Take it from us though; it is the answer you have been looking for.

Intermittent fasting requires intermittent fasting from food.

The idea of not eating may scare you in the beginning, but once you read about the benefits, you will find yourself wanting to join in all the fuss. There are many set beliefs about dieting.

Individual groups will argue about the importance of breakfast, while others consider eating six small meals throughout the day is best. The thing is, fasting has been a healthy way of eating and balancing out our diets since we lived in caves.

Thanks to the rampant availability of fast food and meals, our way may take a bit of a sacrifice. However, it has been proven to show results. We are always accustomed to be eating, or pressured via social media and advertising techniques to think about our next meal constantly.

With our hectic way of living, it may even be more comfortable for many folks to follow an intermittent fasting style of diet than other strict dieting plans. Intermittent fasting can be adjusted to your work and free time; scheduling your fasting periods is simple and straightforward.

There are a variety of ways to go about it, with differing fasting times. But mostly, the idea is to get your body burning your current fat supply for energy consumption rather than the food you have recently eaten.

How Intermittent Fasting Works

To understand how intermittent fasting works, you must first learn basic human biology. Food supplies us with energy or calories, which provide the fuel our bodies require to do mundane and extraordinary things.

When we don’t use up all the energy we consume, our body stores it into fat for later use. The primary hormone responsible for this is insulin. In other words, the basic formula is: the more you eat, the higher your insulin and the more fat is stored.

The issue is that we never give our fat resource future use because we are always eating. Also, we are still giving more energy to our body than we spend. When we fast, we force our bodies to use the already stored fat instead of giving it a renewable supply.

Also, regular intermittent fasting will increase your body’s insulin sensitivity. In other words, less insulin is made when you do eat carbohydrates again. You can comprehend your body as being in two states: one where it is being fed (high insulin) and one where it is not (low insulin).

With intermittent fasting, the ideal is seeking a balanced state between the two so that there’s no net weight gain. You force your body to use stored calories. This is a normal biological process that many mammals, such as bears, do for survival.

Benefits to Intermittent Fasting

The benefits of intermittent fasting are quite vast to mention. The top six reasons to follow through with this type of diet are the following:

Increase of Autophagy

Autophagy is a natural cell process that helps repair and recycles old or damaged molecules. This process dramatically decreases when the body’s insulin level is high. Autophagy helps prevent cancerous cells and keeps skin looking bright and young.

Weight Loss

The number one reason is the apparent weight loss that occurs from stored fat sources. Intermittent fasting can be what you need, even if you have diabetes. Being obese makes intermittent fasting a very viable option as well.

Increased Metabolism

While fasting for long periods, your growth hormone level increases and this also quickens your metabolism. At the same time, you will experience higher insulin sensitivity, which is always a good thing.

Targeted Weight Loss

If you have tried to remove that stubborn belly fat and failed, then this kind of diet is for you. With intermittent fasting, you will target those pesky areas. After all, those are where most fat is stored, and your body will have no other choice but to use it.

Targeted areas include belly and arm fat as well. This type of targeting is more successful if you choose to fast sixteen hours straight.

Improved Digestion

You will undoubtedly eat less with intermittent fasting. As a result, your digestive system has enough time and rest to efficiently and adequately digest the food that you do consume.

Also, to make up for the food you are not able to eat, your water intake will increase tremendously. Water is an excellent solution to digestive issues. With less consumption of food, you will also have fewer episodes of bloating.

More Energy and Less Hunger

It may not seem believable and even a little contrary, but you will also experience more energy and less hunger with intermittent fasting.

Our digestive systems take up so much of our energy. However, since it will be resting for long periods of time, you will have all that incredible energy to spend on something else.

Given enough time, you will also start to feel less hungry. This is because of a decreased ghrelin hormone or the hunger hormone.

Types of Fasts

The 8-hour Eating Window Fast

This is the most popular form of intermittent fasting and can be the easiest to do. It consists of eating within an 8-hour window and fasting the rest, which is 16 hours.

With this fast, 8 out of those 16 hours of fasting can be done while sleeping. This means in reality; you will only avoid eating for eight hours while awake. Depending on your social circle, work and daily life, the 8-hour eating window fast may be the best for you.

The 20:4 Hour Fast

This type is a bit harsher, with only a 4-hour window to eat as you wish. The other 20 hours must be attributed to fasting. It is a fast for those who are more impatient for results, but it will be a rough road in the beginning.

The 24-hour Fast

The 24-hour fast amounts to eating only around three times a week, which should be reserved for hardcore benefit-seeking people.
To do a 24-hour fast, you will either eat lunch one day and skip dinner. Then the next day, skip breakfast and eat lunch but not dinner.

The 5:2 Day Fast

Dr Mosley called this type of fast in his book, ‘The Fast Diet.’ It allows you to eat a regularly scheduled diet for five days, while you fast the next two days. During your 2-day fast, you are allowed up to 500 calories per day.
You can choose to spread out those 500 calories or consume them in one sitting.

The 36-hour Fast

You must make it a rule to fast 36 hours in between meals. For example, if you eat dinner, you should then not eat anything on the following day. Wait until breakfast the next day after that to eat.

Longer Fasting Periods Like the 48-hour FastThere are fasting periods longer than 48 hours, as unbelievable as that sounds. It may seem crazy to fast for more than two days, but it all depends on your health and goals.

Any extended amount of fasting should be consulted with your doctor beforehand. This is so that you can be aware of any possible complications, especially if you suffer from certain health conditions.

You should also take a multivitamin if you plan on fasting for long periods of time to avoid deficiencies of any kind.

What About Women Fasting?

A woman’s body is more attuned to calorie intake, shortage of or overabundance. Calories even dictate menstrual periods and more.

Calories are essential for a woman’s health, and therefore, intermittent fasting should be done with a knowledgeable background. Men have no issue with prolonged fasting, but women should avoid long periods.

Women will require a more moderate approach to intermittent fasting. One that is followed up with a doctor and regular checkups.

Exercising while Fasting

Exercising while fasting is beneficial, especially if you wish to burn off fat. Depending on the type of exercise you do, you may require eating afterwards.

For example, weight lifting should be followed by a high-protein meal.

Exercising with an empty stomach will force your body to use stored fat for energy. The meal you eat before applying is not what is used up in most cases anyway.

If this is your first time exercising while fasting, you may experience a less driven attitude or workout potential. However, this will slowly go away as your body gets used to it.

Do not give up too quickly, but do avoid overexerting your body on the first day of your fast. Taking things slow is the way to go.

Coping with Side Effects in Fasting

Intermittent fasting may be wonderful, but it comes at a price. There are also quite a few side effects in fasting that you should be aware of and tend to. The main side effects include:
• Headaches
• Constipation and diarrhoea.
• Irritability
• Mood swings
• Low blood sugar levels

Other side effects can include binge eating when you are allowed to eat and to bloat. The critical factors in avoiding the adverse side effects are hydration and taking things slow. When you do eat, you need to keep a healthy and balanced diet.

Getting your required vitamins and minerals from a pill source may also be appropriate. Most side effects are healthy and not hazardous and tend to be seen in sugar withdrawals.

Your body will slowly get accustomed to your new diet. When that time comes, the side effects will reduce in frequency and strength. Though rare, serious side effects should be discussed with your doctor, or in case of emergency, treated quickly.

How to Cope with the All-consuming Hunger
• Drink Fluids
• Hunger pangs will be your number one enemy, but water will be your friend. Drinking plenty of water will help stave off those hunger pangs during your fasting periods. Water is a wonderful life source and drinking more of it is not a bad thing.
• Water helps keep your body healthy and robust and will help subdue that hunger until your next meal. You can also choose to drink tea, such as chamomile, for a change in fluids.
• Natural juices may also be allowed, but be wary, since fruits tend to have a lot of sugar. You can try vegetable juices such as carrot to avoid the sugar rush and keep your tummy a bit busy.
• Limitations will depend on the exact type of fasting you are doing. However, water should be your main fluid intake during any fasting.

Keep Busy

Keeping your mind and body busy is another perfect way to ignore or subdue hunger pangs. If you are physically and mentally entertained, you will notice your hunger go away for quite a while.

Find a hobby you enjoy or a start doing those things you have been putting off to keep your body busy and your mind away from food.

Avoid Stress

Another good tip is to avoid stress. You can find stress-relieving activities to do, such as gardening, to keep that stress away.

Human beings tend to eat or get a drive to eat when they are feeling stressed, anxious, or emotional.

Keeping yourself sane and in peace will help you reduce any feelings of hunger and is essentially the healthiest way to be.

After all, stress has been proven to be a killer and the cause of many ailments.

Can’t I Reduce Calories — Isn’t That the Same as Fasting?Reducing calories is not the same as intermittent fasting and will never work the same either. Caloric reduction only makes your metabolism slower and has a slim chance of working out during a short period, let alone as a long-term dieting plan.

The reduction of calories has been proven repeatedly not to work. Aside from the immense self-control, you will require to reduce your calories; lowering calories will only get you so far.

On the other hand, fasting requires a more extended period of food sustainment than what reducing calories will give you.

It’s That Simple

Intermittent fasting makes life easier by making meal preparations happen less, along with less cleaning up-time to do.

Also, if you tend to eat on the healthy side already, it is necessarily the perfect plan for you to follow.

Spend less money on food and have more time on your hands to do other stuff.

For instance, do the activities you have been holding back on for whatever reasons.

For those with families to tend to, you can choose to do certain fasting periods that are easier for you to avoid succumbing to eating while meal prepping.

The best thing about intermittent fasting is that it does not control what you eat.

Of course, you should still choose to eat only the best nutrients possible, including vegetables and fruits, over sugary foods.

It also means you should maintain a healthy and balanced diet to avoid any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

However, other than the universal dieting guide we all have to follow whether intermittent fasting or not, you are free to choose a high-protein meal or a moderate carbohydrate meal.

It all depends on your ultimate goals.

Intermittent fasting is a great customizable dieting plan that will keep you feeling satisfied and happy with what you are eating.

Not all of the types of intermittent fasting have scientific research to back them up, which in no way means they are less likely to work.

It only says that intermittent fasting has a lot of potential to it that should be looked into carefully.

The research that is available on intermittent fasting is mostly positive and has been proven to work. It all depends on your body and your specific health needs.

Plans should be customised fit to your particular needs and no one else’s for intermittent fasting to accomplish the most.

Seeking guidance from a knowledgeable source is the perfect way to get the best type of intermittent fasting for you.

Conclusion

Whether it is the first time you hear about intermittent fasting, or, have already taken a dive into what it is, be aware that it all depends on you.

Intermittent fasting is a plan that requires self-control, effort and guidance.

Being tuned to what your body needs, nutrient-wise and health-wise, is essential.

For one thing, having a qualified doctor or intermittent fasting expert to guide you through your journey will be a crucial step in keeping you on track.

As with any life-changing plan, intermittent fasting will also require time and adjustments. The problematic part is wanting to have a change so badly that you take the first step.

Afterwards, it is a matter of repeatedly choosing to do what is right for your body over the usual rule of overeating society has inflicted upon us all.

As briefly mentioned before, intermittent fasting can be done even if you suffer from an underlying health condition. However, it is essential to look into your case professionally.

This is so that you will avoid suffering from any unnecessary side effects or causing more damage than good with your choices. Fasting has been a healthy way of life for many humans and other animals for millions of years.

It is only recently that the world has taken a more binge-eating approach to meals, especially unhealthy ones. Eating has never been so easy before.

You only require a microwave — or not even that in some cases — to have a whole meal already served.

A quick drive to a take-out place or even a phone call will have you eating a meal in five minutes or less. In most cases, these quick meals are unbalanced and unhealthy.

They are composed of ingredients that won’t treat your body well in the long run.

Intermittent fasting may seem like a harsh way of dieting, but we assure you that it is not.

As discussed, there are different levels of fasting. All you have to do is find the one that is right for you.

Also, it should be done with the same precautions as any other dieting plan to avoid potential side effects. Just because it’s good for you doesn’t mean you should abuse or overexert your body.

When it comes to health, it is necessary to try different things and find what makes your overall health better.

Researching the subject and finding real reviews as well as life experiences with intermittent fasting is easy enough to do from the comfort of your home.

Read more about this exciting “new” lifestyle that will change the way you see food and allow you to experience a healthier and better life.

Pippa Palmira

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