Understanding the Basics of Intermittent Fasting

While conventional dieting techniques tended to focus on what types of food dieters should eat and avoid, new weight loss methods are beginning to focus not on what is being eaten but on when food is being consumed. One trend that is gaining popularity in the fitness community, known as intermittent fasting or simply IF, can help dieters both lose weight and keep it off. Read on to find out about some of the benefits of trying this contemporary dieting technique.

What is IF?

The key concept behind this technique is regulating when food is being consumed, making it more of an eating pattern than a real diet. It might involve skipping meals periodically or even fasting for entire days. Researchers believe that the reasoning behind the success of this technique is that bodies burn fat at lower rates when they are in a fed state, as this causes higher insulin levels.

Put in simpler terms, after a dieter finishes a meal, his or her body shifts into a post-absorptive state and stops processing food. This state can last for between 8 and 12 hours. While skipping meals used to be quite commonplace early on in human history due to either unavailability of food or religious devotion, the excess of recent centuries has meant that contemporary humans must actively make the decision to fast.

Methods for Fasting

There are many different ways to fast, including the lean-gains method, which involves fasting for 14 to 16 hours per day and eating during the remaining 8-10 hours, eat-stop-eat methods, which involve performing 24-hour fasts once or twice per week, and the Warrior Diet, which consists of partial fasting throughout the day. Other methods include the Fat Loss Forever diet, which is a hybrid method that incorporates components from all three IF programs, and the Alternate-Day diet, which involves partial fasting only every other day. Choosing the right method is primarily a matter of personal preference.

The Benefits

In addition to helping dieters lose weight IF also comes with several other benefits. It can help participants to keep hormones such as insulin and leptin in balance, reduce inflammation, and even reduce participants’ chances of getting cancer. Of course, this form of dieting is not for everyone, so it doesn’t hurt to discuss these options with a doctor prior to beginning to fast.