Intermittent Fasting: Does It Really Work?
You’ve probably heard everyone from health gurus to Hollywood celebs promoting the benefits of intermittent fasting. But are you still wondering what the term means, how to give it a try and, most importantly, does it work?
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting probably isn’t what you commonly think of when you hear the word ‘fasting.’ Intermittent fasting is just not eating for an extended portion of the day. Many experts who endorse intermittent fasts suggest those who are fasting should avoid eating for around 14 hours every 24 hours.
How Can You Go on an Intermittent Fast?
It is easier than you think to give intermittent fasting a try to see if it is right for you. The first step is speaking with your doctor to ensure you are physically healthy enough to restrict the time you can eat. Once you get an okay, choose a 14-hour block of time to refrain from food.
The ideal fasting period is from mid-afternoon through breakfast time the following morning, but skipping dinner is often unrealistic. Perhaps it is easier for you to eat an early dinner followed by a late breakfast. Whenever you set your eating window, you need to eat right. Choose healthier menu options like fresh fruits and vegetables, but you don’t have to restrict your calories.
Remember, you need to remain hydrated even when you are not consuming food, so drink plenty of water. Many people who fast successfully also allow themselves to drink black coffee or tea during the fasting portion of the day.
Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
The answer is yes, according to some research. The secret seems to be that by eliminating continuous eating throughout the day, the body limits the release of natural insulin. Insulin prevents autophagy or the breaking down of old, unhealthy cells from taking place. Intermittent fasting stops insulin production and allows autophagy to create space for new healthy cells.
According to Healthline, intermittent fasting has several benefits, including:
- Reducing insulin levels
- Promoting the repair of cells
- Helping to eliminate belly fat
- Benefiting heart health
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