Updated: January 20, 2021 9:36:49 am
Unlike fad diets that call for the elimination of certain food groups like fats or carbohydrates, Intermittent Fasting (IF) is an eating pattern in which one has timely meals within an eating window and fast at other times. It does not put any restrictions on what one eats — whether it is whole grains, vegetables, protein, or fruits — in terms of quantity and quality in the eating window.
The basic principle of IF is to give the body time to digest food, and in the process, burn out excess body fat and hence, detox. It is considered more attuned to the body’s circadian rhythm, and therefore, beneficial.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), intermittent fasting — going without food for long hours periodically every week, or avoiding food for fixed hours every day — could work wonders for those with obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
“…intermittent-fasting interventions ameliorate obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia (abnormal amount of lipids), hypertension, and inflammation. Intermittent fasting seems to confer health benefits to a greater extent than can be attributed just to a reduction in caloric intake,” researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported in NEJM.
The three most widely studied intermittent fasting regimens are fasting on alternate days, the 5:2 formula of fasting for two days each week, and daily time-restricted eating — having food within a period of six-eight hours and fasting for the rest of the day and night.
Here’s what lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho had to mention about IF to lifestyle portal Tweak India.
Beginners can embrace the 16:8 format where “you allow the body to fast for 16 hours to eliminate toxins, cleanse and repair the systems, and eat only for eight hours in a day”.
*Eat your last meal before 8 pm, and resume eating at noon the next day. Perfect for those who are used to hitting the snooze button in the morning, and skipping breakfast.
Coutinho’s tips for beginners
*During the fasting phase, drink only plain water without any additives (no tea, coffee, green tea, apple cider vinegar).
*Break the fast with a lemon and water concoction, followed by a whole fruit. You can then eat nuts after 20 minutes and a light homemade meal (like dal, rice, cooked veggies) an hour after that.
*Follow this with a snack and dinner during the eating period, and then begin your fast.
What to note?
*Please consult with a doctor if you have chronic health issues, before embarking on an IF diet, said Coutinho.
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