One of the diet trends people were following recently is Intermittent Fasting (IF), which means reducing meal frequency. IF is a set period of time fasting to optimize the body. IF alters between fasting and feasting. IF does not mean changing food, it means changing time of eating. To simplify, IF is eating normal amount of food in shorter period. Fasting hours include sleeping hours. Meals frequency and timing has many benefits on the body. IF is associated with calorie restriction (CR) and weight loss.
IF has effects on insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, coronary heart disease, cholesterol, brain, lifespan, body weight, and sleeping. IF increases the body sensitivity to insulin, which controls blood sugar. Also, IF protects brain cells from routine damage. IF reduces weight, because body starts to burn fat for fuel. Due to the effect of IF on the fat burning hormones, IF is better than CR in maintaining muscle mass. IF decreases coronary heart disease risk factors. Studies on rats have shown that IF stops the progression of type I diabetic nephropathy. Also, rats show increase in plasma albumin, and HDL cholesterol. Furthermore, studies have shown that IF affects lifespan extension.
There are many types of IF diet plans. Choosing any one of the plans depends on an individual choice. The most popular plan is the 16:8 plan, which is 16 fasting hours and 8 eating hours. It is also called Lengains method. Another type is the 5:2 diet plan, which involves normal diet for 5 days of the week and 2 days fasting with one 500 calories meal. The third type is the alternate-day fasting, which means fasting one day with 500-600 calories meal followed by a normal diet day. Also, there is another diet method, which involves 24 hours fasting day once a week. In this plan, the rest days of the week are normal diet. Exercise is recommended to loose weight. Water, coffee, and non-caloric beverages during fast hours are allowed. Generally, it is preferable that women fast for 14 hours and eat for 10 hours because shorter fasts appeared to be more effective in women.
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