Jane Sandwood explores the latest diet fad and shares her views
Finding a diet plan and sticking to it can be the hardest part of making any lifestyle change, and these days it seems like there are a million diets all claiming to be the best and fastest. When you’re evaluating whether a diet is right for you, however, there are several things you should take into account. If you exercise everyday, if you have any allergies that might make it difficult or unsafe, and whether you have the motivation to stick with it are all important factors that can make a diet one person’s miracle and another’s nightmare.
Intermittent fasting and your metabolism
One new diet that has been gaining traction recently has shown to be effective for people with all different activity levels and lifestyles. Intermittent fasting is the practice of holding off from eating food for longer periods of time to help kick start the metabolism and help the body burn fat. When done safely, intermittent fasting has been proven effective and fits easily into any schedule. You don’t need to buy all sorts of new foods or count every single calorie, you simply choose a period of time, from about 16 up to about 36 hours where you drink only water (or some also include tea and coffee).
How to transition to intermittent fasting
This absence of food doesn’t harm your body, but rather prompts it to burn fat reserves instead of calorie from food. Intermittent fasting is not starving yourself, because when you do eat, you can eat regularly and ensure your body has enough nutrition to function. The fasting simply keeps your body primed to burn body fat much more easily. When starting out, it’s good to work your way up to longer periods of fasting to make sure you’re safe and healthy, and to give your body time to adjust to the new pattern. If you’re planning on heavy exercise, stress, or taxing your body in other ways, you should plan your fasting around this to prevent any health risks until you understand how your body reacts to the fasting. And, as always if you have any questions or concerns you should talk them through with a doctor, nutritionist or trainer who has more insight into what you need to do to stay healthy and safe.
The science behind fasting
Your body runs differently when it is ‘fed‘ for three to five hours until it returns to a ‘fasted’ state, where it has digested the food you’ve eaten and is absorbing nutrients. During this absorption period, your insulin levels spike to bring your blood sugar down after it goes up with food intake, and if you don’t eat more food during this insulin spike, which lasts between 8 and 12 hours, your body will digest fat and sugar reserves instead of returning to a fed state and digesting food. This means that your body will naturally burn fat without strenuous exercise, and you’ll see results in no time even though you’re still eating the same foods as before.
It might seem a little scary, because we associate not eating with poor health and suffering, but when managed carefully, intermittent fasting can help you lose weight, reduce your risk of disease, build muscle mass, and increase your energy levels all without feeling deprived. If you think it might be something you want to try, read up on it and talk to a doctor, trainer, or nutritionist today and see if intermittent fasting could be a safe and effective weight loss solution for you.
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