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How Intermittent Fasting Works And What Are Its Benefits

There are many diets so it is not always easy to know all of them in detail or to know well what their benefits and risks are. One of the most talked about trends lately is intermittent fasting, also known as “interval fasting” or ” intermittent fasting” in English. This type of interval diet is very popular among athletes and for many people who want to lose weight it turns out to be the ultimate method. But what is intermittent fasting really? How does it work? What are its benefits? Is it dangerous to fast like this?

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

As its name suggests, intermittent fasting is a model of eating that goes in cycles, with periods of fasting and eating. Strictly speaking it is not a diet, but rather a meal program. It is not about thinking precisely what to eat, but about focusing on when you eat.

There are several methods of intermittent fasting. The most popular are:

  • The 16/8 method: known as the “Leangains” method. With it you can eat for 8 hours and you have to fast for 16. Simply put, the normal fasting period includes sleep and a few more hours. You can skip breakfast, for example, and eat your first meal at noon and keep eating until 8 a.m.
  • 5:2 diet: the idea is that for two days a week you reduce your calorie intake to a maximum of 500-600 calories a day. The days do not have to be consecutive. The other five days you can eat whatever you want.
  • Eat, stop, eat: This type of intermittent fasting alternates fasting days with eating days. You eat whatever you want for 24 hours and then take a total food break the next day. You have to repeat this pattern once or twice a week. Calorie-free drinks (such as black coffee, unsweetened tea, etc.) are allowed.

The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

How does it affect the body? Intermittent fasting does a lot more than just restricting your calorie intake . It also changes your body’s hormones so they can make better use of your fat stores. The following changes occur:

Intermittent fasting improves insulin sensitivity, especially in combination with exercise. This is very important for people who have weight problems because low insulin levels are associated with better fat burning.

The opposite is insulin resistance. Some studies have shown that weight gain can interfere with insulin’s ability to lower blood sugar levels, resulting in more insulin. This favors the storage of fat.

Growth hormone secretion increases, speeding up protein synthesis and making fat available as an energy source. This means, in a nutshell, that you burn fat and build muscle faster. This is why growth hormone is taken in large amounts in bodybuilding as a doping agent.

In addition, according to studies, fasting activates autophagy, which removes damaged cells, contributes to repair and helps the body’s regeneration process.

Does Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?

If you skip meals and create a caloric deficit, you will lose weight. Unless you compensate for periods of fasting with foods that are full of fat and sugar. It Can Happen: This type of eating pattern doesn’t necessarily tell you what foods you can and cannot eat. Some studies have found that intermittent fasting (if done right) can be effective in both preventing type 2 diabetes and cutting calories. In addition, the body learns to process the food consumed during the eating period better and more efficiently.

Other studies have found that a combination of the 16/8 method and strength training (both weight and weight) can reduce more fat than strength training alone. ( 1 ) However, no evidence of muscle gain was seen in study subjects.

Note : this type of diet is not necessarily effective for those with diabetes or high blood pressure, or for pregnant or lactating women. Remember that you should consult a doctor or a professional nutritionist before changing your eating habits.

How To Combine Exercise With Fasting

There are certain points that you should keep in mind if you want to combine fasting (such as intermittent fasting) with physical exercise :

If you are trying to lose weight , for example, it is very important that the caloric deficit is moderate and that you only try to lose 0.5-1% of weight a week .

Include strength sessions in your training routine and increase your protein intake (it should represent 25% or more of your total energy intake) to maintain muscle mass.

In addition, you should train just before the largest meal you eat of the day. If, on the other hand, your intention is to combine high intensity training with periods of fasting, we recommend that you consult it beforehand with a doctor or specialist in nutrition and sports issues.

Is An Intermittent Diet Suitable For Everyone?

If you are in good health, you could try intermittently fasting based on your goals. However, it is not advisable for certain people.

People with any of these conditions should avoid intermittent fasting:

  • Diabetes and other types of metabolic disorders
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer

Also, this type of fast is not appropriate for:

  • Kids
  • Pregnant women
  • Lactating women
  • Elderly people
  • People who have had eating disorders

Fasting And The Social Aspect

Intermittent fasting can be a great way to lose weight, but have you ever stopped to think about the social aspect?

Imagine: some friends invite you to a birthday. At the table you find all kinds of food and your friends serve themselves a generous portion. And you? Do you sit next to it and drink water? And what if you also have dinner? If you want to plan your fasts well, you have to be able to enjoy food with your friends and family. But generally speaking, this type of pattern doesn’t leave you much latitude to improvise, so remember not to isolate yourself – the social aspect is part of healthy living too!

An intermittent diet is definitely not for everyone, but it can be a good way to lose body fat. As it is not a flexible and spontaneous eating style, if your lifestyle needs that flexibility margin, it is more advisable that you try other techniques, such as those that focus more on macronutrients , in which you can eat whatever you want as long as you stay within the macronutrient parameters that you have set.

What To Do When You Get Hungry?

Many people who try intermittent fasting complain of bouts of hunger, fatigue, and cravings, which makes sense if you skip meals. But others say that hunger goes away once you’ve passed the critical phase (about two days). If you’re really hungry in between, you can try drinking green tea or coffee to help you get to the next meal.

Intermittent Fasting: 8 Tips To Get Started

If you want to try intermittent fasting, you should keep the following tips in mind:

Don’t go overboard with food proportions after you’ve fasted.

An anxiety disorder can be identified by avoiding social events, fighting with others, missing work, or being unable to sleep. To do this, it is best to follow the mantra of “Eat real food!” and avoid the processed. Go for foods rich in fiber (fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grain cereals), quality protein (fish, soy, eggs, legumes) and good fats (vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, avocado).

Drink lots of water or sugar-free infusions. This tool can help you calculate your water needs.
Be patient. You may find it hard to get used to fasting this way, but you can drink unsweetened coffees or teas when you feel hungry.

Do strength training regularly and make sure you eat enough protein so you don’t lose muscle mass.

Remember that the most substantial meal should be after workouts.

Rest is very important! The lack of sleep can cause weight gain. Take the time it deserves to rest??

Intermittent fasting is not suitable for everyone. Before starting, it is advisable to consult a doctor or nutritionist.


Intermittent fasting is not for everyone, but it can be a good way to reduce body fat. You should watch the food you eat when you eat, as you cannot fill yourself up on hamburgers, fried foods, and pizza. Remember that fasting is only a tool to do once in a while (and be aware of what you are doing!). It is not about stopping eating: the important thing is to follow a healthy and balanced diet. For more information on other types of diets you can consult this article in which we analyze the aspects to take into account.


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My name is Debra Cargill, I live in my home in Springfield, Massachusetts and have been looking for new direction in my life. I started blogging recently and I've discovered a new passion in life. This blog is all about health, wellness, life issues and about lifestyle in general where I cover a broad range of topics on the subjects....

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