(AscendHealthy.com) – Are you literally fed up with diets that have endless rules? There are weight loss plans that have so many “eat only…” guidelines, you want to ban broccoli before you’ve even started.
The solution for some “wait, what CAN I eat?” dieters is a weight loss plan that relies on specific meal timing: intermittent fasting. Learn 9 impressive benefits of this approach below.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting involves timing our meals so that we eat only during a specific period. For example, some experts recommend what’s known as the circadian rhythm fasting approach. That diet limits our food intake to 8 to 10 hours during the day.
For the past 10 years, scientists have conducted studies on the different forms of intermittent fasting. These variations include:
- Alternate-Day Fasting: Dieters eat normal meals for 24 hours, then fast for the following 24 hours.
- Prolonged Fasting: Prolonged fasts involve consuming no food for at least two or more days every few weeks.
- Modified Alternate-Day Fasting: Also known as an alternate day modified fast, modified alternate-day fasts provide for highly limited amounts of food one day, followed by unrestricted calories the next day.
- 5:2 Diet: Dieters on the 5:2 weight loss plan eat 25 percent of their typical menu on two non-consecutive days a week. The other 5 days consist of healthy foods that add up to a normal day’s caloric intake.
- 16/8 Fast: This approach allows dieters to eat for eight hours daily before fasting for 16 hours.
What Are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Regardless of the type of diet we choose, our weight loss success may vary based on many different factors. The same is true of intermittent fasting. But intermittent fasting might offer rewards that extend beyond weight loss.
Researchers have discovered the following 9 potential health benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Blast Fat: Intermittent fasting might increase our body’s ability to burn fat, known as fat oxidation.
- Extend Life: These types of diets may result in physical changes that might improve our lifespan and brain aging.
- Disease Shield: Intermittent fasting might reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which, in turn, may protect us against chronic conditions and aging markers.
- Heart Health: Diets that limit our food intake to certain periods might protect against heart disease.
- Metabolic Improvement: By fasting, we may boost our metabolism, potentially speeding up weight loss.
- Convenience: Some of us might value diets that simplify our meal planning, making timing meals the preferred weight loss plan.
- Blood Pressure Perks: Intermittent fasting may result in lower blood pressure.
- Diabetes Deterrent: These types of diets might reduce our risk for type 2 diabetes.
- Anti-Aging: Intermittent fasts may serve as a shield against brain conditions associated with aging, such as dementia.
What Are the Risks and Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. Despite the incredible benefits, this diet may have certain risks and side effects, including:
- Sleep Issues: For those of us used to evening snacks, a switch to eating only during the day may result in hunger. Those bedtime cravings might result in insomnia or other sleep problems.
- Headaches: Reducing our typical food intake may result in what are known as “hunger headaches.” Talk with your doctor for guidance.
- Dehydration: For those of us who consume liquids only when we eat, intermittent fasting might make us feel dehydrated. It’s particularly important to drink enough water on these types of diets.
- Timing Medication: Some prescriptions involve scheduling dosages with meals. Work with your healthcare team to figure out options that might work.
- Condition-Specific Concerns: For those who are pregnant, breast-feeding, underweight, diabetic, or have kidney stones, intermittent fasting may be inadvisable. Be sure to check with your physician before fasting if any of these or other health concerns apply.
From boosting the metabolism to possibly preventing dementia, intermittent fasting offers many potential benefits. By working closely with a healthcare team, we may succeed in using this diet to (literally) have our cake and lose weight too! Always be sure to check with your healthcare provider before starting any new diet.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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