With this blog, I have tried to convey the best of my experience and current information regarding Intermittent Fasting and I hope it helps you if you are considering starting your weight loss journey through Intermittent Fasting or are already in the process or you wish to shift to Intermittent Fasting from some other fasting or diet plan.
Relevant information that will be covered includes:
- Basics of Intermittent Fasting
- Types of Intermittent Fasting ( to be chosen according to your daily routine)
- Challenges for Beginners
- Intermittent Fasting for diabetics/thyroid/pregnant women
Intermittent Fasting has been there since ever but gained popularity among folks around 2012 and since then obese people have been fascinated to try this fasting technique. It is a tried and tested way of losing overall body fat in a short duration. Briefly, in Intermittent Fasting, we are supposed to eat within 8 hrs of the day and fast for the other 16 hrs. The overall idea is to reduce the workload on your digestive system which might not be possible if we consume all 3 meals i.e. breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Our body gets energy in the form of glucose from the food we eat. During these rest 16 hrs, the body is utilizing glucose to generate energy but when glucose levels lower, then the energy generation cycle shifts to body fat. Therefore, prolonged fasting hours will lead to body fat breakdown.
Intermittent Fasting is a feel free to eat diet and is not restricted to any particular food choice as in other fasting or diet plans. You are liberal to eat the food of your choice may it be carbs or proteins or vegetables/ fruits but you have to have your meal at particular hours of the day.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are mainly 5 types of eating patterns in Intermittent Fasting and you can choose your pattern according to your lifestyle. The most popular and convenient one is the time-restricted 16/8 pattern as described earlier. Another one is the 5:2 pattern, in which you can have your normal 3 meals 5 days a week and then lower your calorie intake to <600 Calories for the other 2 days. You may choose normal and fasting days according to your comfort. It’s better not to fast for 2 consecutive days. The other one is the Eat-Stop-Eat pattern where you can fast for 24 hrs once or twice a week but you might find this pattern difficult to follow. In the Alternate-day fasting pattern, you can fast every alternate day by lowering your calorie intake to <500 Cal and eating normally on other days. Lastly, in the Overnight fasting pattern you can have moderate portions of your meals in the window of 12 hrs, trying to close this window on or before 7 pm and again resuming back to your first meal on or after 7 am in the morning. The significance of this approach is that you don’t have to skip any meal and also it is easiest to implement after the 16/8 pattern.
If you are a beginner or new to the fasting world then you might face gastric problems (heart burning, nausea) empty stomach but it’s normal. Our body cycle needs time to adapt to what’s new. So beginners can binge on low-calorie snacks in between or better rely on healthy drinks till the body cycle totally adapts to Intermittent Fasting. Otherwise, you can always have water or light drinks such as lemonade, and fresh juices in between your Intermittent Fasting. Most importantly, no need to put your body under the immense pressure of losing weight through Intermittent Fasting. You may discontinue this fasting if your body is not adapting to it.
Intermittent Fasting for Diabetics/Thyroid/Pregnant women
It is a popular myth that diabetics should not opt for fasting. Whereas current research evaluates the effect of Intermittent Fasting on diabetes parameters. According to it if you are a diabetic and dealing with obesity then you can safely go ahead with Intermittent Fasting. It will overall reduce your blood sugar and insulin levels and assist you in shedding pounds.1,2 But if you have thyroid, you better consult your doctor before starting Intermittent Fasting because for some it might help lose weight but for others, it might be not safe. Pregnant women are easily prone to Gestational Diabetes which eventually disappears after birth. But researchers have evaluated that Intermittent Fasting for pregnant women improves Gestational Diabetes, lowers blood sugar levels, significantly lowers excess body weight, improves mood swings during pregnancy, and enhances fetal growth.3
How long can Intermittent Fasting be extended?
Scientists suggest continuing Intermittent Fasting for at least a year to examine the metabolic changes your body is going through and verify its long-term effects during weight loss.4 However, a lot of information regarding it is yet to be disclosed and approved by health practitioners. Considering all factors, you can safely continue with Intermittent Fasting till you hit your target weight. Now keep a track of your body weight on your smartphones with Dr Trust wide range of smart scales.
- Nowosad, K., Sujka, M.(2021).Effect of Various Types of Intermittent Fasting (IF) on Weight Loss and Improvement of Diabetic Parameters in Human. Curr Nutr Rep10, 146–154.
- Albosta, M., & Bakke, J. (2021). Intermittent fasting: is there a role in the treatment of diabetes? A review of the literature and guide for primary care physicians. Clinical diabetes and endocrinology, 7(1), 3.
- Ali, A. M., & Kunugi, H. (2020). Intermittent Fasting, Dietary Modifications, and Exercise for the Control of Gestational Diabetes and Maternal Mood Dysregulation: A Review and a Case Report. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(24), 9379.
- Patterson, R. E., Laughlin, G. A., LaCroix, A. Z., Hartman, S. J., Natarajan, L., Senger, C. M., Martínez, M. E., Villaseñor, A., Sears, D. D., Marinac, C. R., & Gallo, L. C. (2015). Intermittent Fasting and Human Metabolic Health. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115(8), 1203–1212.