Talks about intermittent fasting and its impact on health did not begin yesterday. Hippocrates wrote about the benefits of temporary abstinence from food, and modern experts – nutritionists and endocrinologists – do not deny its effect. Let’s figure out how to fast correctly.
It is worth explaining that this is not a long-term medical fast, which, by the way, has contraindications. Many of us, without even knowing it, sometimes resort to intermittent fasting, for example, when we run away from home in the morning before we have breakfast. But let’s first clarify the basic points. So, what can you eat when following intermittent fasting? What supplements do you use and does creatine break a fast? This article will tell you all the details about this process.
What is intermittent fasting?
Let’s start with the fact that the term “intermittent fasting” includes different versions of this diet. The day is divided into two so-called windows, one of which has all meals for the day, and the second is just starvation, during which you cannot eat. You can drink water, herbal teas, and coffee without sugar.
The windows’ duration is different – 12/12, 10/14, 1/23, but the most common option is 8/16, in which you can eat for 8 hours a day; the other 16 have a period of “hungry” window. It is enough to give up, for example, late dinner and early breakfast. Then most of the fasting period will be during sleep, and meals can be distributed without special restrictions during the day.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
First, when fasting, the body starts the process of breaking down fat instead of glucose – this natural mechanism allowed our ancestors to survive in the absence of food, and modern people – to get rid of the effects of overeating.
Secondly, even with a relatively short period of starvation, autophagy intensifies – getting rid of obsolete cells and their particles. Combined with increased production of growth hormone (especially active during sleep), which is also counted among starvation effects, it provides a powerful stimulus to cell renewal.
Third, intermittent fasting has a very positive effect on blood sugar levels. This is especially true for those with high blood sugar, including those with type II diabetes (with insulin-dependent diabetes, you cannot starve yourself).
How to properly starve
Let’s take the most optimal option, from which, most likely, it will be easy and quite comfortable to start – 8/16.
It would be logical to leave the period of the hungry window for the night because it will be possible to starve for 7-8 hours without any effort. In the evening, you can drink as much water and tea as you want without sugar, and in the morning, for example, start with coffee, but also without sugar and milk – it affects blood sugar levels and provokes the release of insulin. During intermittent fasting, lemon water is also good. If black coffee is not an option for you, it is better to add a little fat cream or replace it with green tea. If your favorite meal is breakfast, move the food window early; for example, finish it with an early dinner at 6 p.m. Some “starvers” refuse dinner at all.
In contrast to medical fasting, intermittent fasting does not require a unique way out – in those hours that come with meals, you can eat what you want. For the best effect, it is better to prefer intermittent fasting foods consisting of a variety of whole and natural meals or combine intermittent fasting with keto, rather than running happily for the nearest fast food.
Intermittent fasting is considered an excellent tool to normalize blood pressure, reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol in the blood (it is called low-density lipoprotein), improve cognitive abilities, and even enhance the effect of chemotherapy. Followers of intermittent fasting say that it makes them feel lighter and more energetic, more comfortable to focus on work and important things, easier to endure stressful situations, more effortless to fall asleep in the evening, and wake up in the morning.
Have you already practiced intermittent fasting? Please share your experience in the comments below.
Author’s bio: My name is Adam Reeve and I have been a professional personal trainer and fitness instructor for over 10 years. Also, I’m a life coach, wellness writer, and low carb diet enthusiast.