Intermittent Fasting: Types, Health Benefits and Risks

In this article we will focus on an exciting subject that is close to my heart: fasting and more specifically, a variant of fasting called intermittent fasting.

Fasting Not Allowed To Eat
Fasting Not Allowed To Eat

As a reminder, fasting consists of performing a full calorie reduction for a certain period of time. In principle, we temporarily stop eating, only water is allowed.

It is not easy to talk about fasting because we learned from the start that a lack of food is not good for our health. It is undoubtedly the case of a large number of people who think that this practice of food restriction is ridiculous and dangerous for our health … Actually, it is not!

On the contrary, nowadays a large number of studies draw attention to the incredible therapeutic and purifying properties of fasting:

Weight loss, improvement of certain chronic diseases, improvement of cognitive abilities, cleaning of the digestive system and general purification of our bodies; the benefits of fasting are numerous!

Intermittent fasting with water only

Fasting is a therapy that has been for millennia present in many spiritual teachings and movements, as well as in a large number of traditional healing methods around the world.

And this for the simple reason that it would be one of the best ways to purify body and mind. Long forgotten, fasting is back in the spotlight.

I would now like to talk more specifically about the benefits of intermittent fasting.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is just “halfway” fasting! Instead of chaining whole days together without eating (= traditional fasting), we will ALTERNATE fasting periods with normal periods of food intake over a 24-hour day.

For example, it is possible to divide your day into 16h – 8h: you will fast for 16 hours but you can eat as you wish during the remaining 8 hours.

To elaborate further:

If today you stop eating at 8:00PM you can only have your first meal at noon the next day.

Do you understand the logic?

There are other variants of intermittent fasting where fasting is more or less long: 17:7pm, 18:6pm, 19:5pm, etc………

→ The longer the fasting period, the more effective the intermittent fasting will be!

In short, intermittent fasting consists of not eating solid food in the morning while waiting for lunch to make the first meal.

I have chosen to talk to you about intermittent fasting because this is easier to achieve than traditional fasting with water and.

Intermittent fasting: a difficult cure?

As mentioned above, be aware that intermittent fasting is a simplified version of traditional fasting, but it will not necessarily be a health walk for everyone!

The biggest challenge for the fasting person will be not to eat in the morning!

It can even be very disturbing not to eat in the morning, especially for people who are not used to it.

A few minutes after waking up, we often suffer from this bloody, painful stomach that growls and that we (wrongly) often associate with a sign of hunger.

In fact, it’s a natural sign of your body showing you that your digestive system is in total purification and yes, it’s not pleasant to go through  it.

And that’s exactly the purpose of intermittent fasting! If you are in pain, this is a good sign, it means your body has a lot of work to do!

Fortunately, after some intermittent fasting, your stomach will completely stop grunting in the morning and you will be able to do without food without any problems.

For the record, I personally couldn’t do without food after I woke up But after improving my diet and fasting intermittently, this need for food in the morning just disappeared.

By the way, did you know that eating early in the morning is not something natural for people?

Eating as soon as you wake up: a bad habit!

Finally, if we go back a bit, we realize that the intermittent fasting reproduces the form of nutrition of our ancestors (especially our Palaeolithic ancestors).

At that time they didn’t have a fridge at hand and had to look for food in their area before they could eat much later in the morning. Our bodies were genetically programmed to function in this way.

Only much later, in parallel with the growth of modern industry, clock radio and early morning work, was breakfast introduced to provide the energy and stimulus needed to make the employee productive.

What better way to start the day than with a bagel and coffee?

Lunch is traditionally a meal consumed around noon. It would be the perfect time to have your first meal of the day!

It wasn’t until later that breakfast appeared and quickly became the most important meal, while for our body this meal makes no sense, especially if it consists of sweets and cakes!

Why is intermittent fasting so good for our health?

Intermittent fasting is for everyone: men and women, young and old, people with serious health problems, but also people who just want to stay fit.

There is one essential point you need to understand: when you fast, your body systematically enters a self-healing mode.

The law of homeostasis

The law of homeostasis: the principle of self-healing of the human body

This great law that governs nature tells us that:

Any system left to its own devices without external disturbance spontaneously returns to its equilibrium situation through multiple regulatory processes.

Translation: When our body is no longer trying to digest food, it becomes able to mobilize its vital energy to activate the self-healing resources it needed for cleansing.

Eating too much is tiring and prevents our body from healing.

This is simply explained: by eating constantly, a lot of energy is used on digestion.

It must be known that the digestive system uses more than 50% of our resources, some foods still need a few hours to be fully digested … That’s why we often feel tired after a big meal.

The food we eat is also responsible for the dispersal of large amounts of toxins, waste and unusable materials throughout the body (especially if we eat unhealthy food).

This tires our bodies even more because our immune system is constantly on the defensive.

List of beneficial effects of intermittent fasting:

The benefits of intermittent fasting are numerous, one can say that it aims to purify the entire body and improve all its functions.

In support of my remarks, I would like to give you a short, non-exhaustive list of the effects of intermittent fasting:

  • Weight control and satiation
  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Lowering of the risk of diabetes
  • Reduction of cardiovascular risks
  • Decrease in the mortality rate
  • Reduction of obesity
  • Improvement of cognitive functions
  • Slow aging of the brain
  • Combating oxidative stress (cell aging)
  • Positive effects on the level of bad cholesterol in the blood
  • Weight and satiety regulation (hunger)

Intermittent fasting: a very good way to lose weight!

Intermittent fasting is also a very good way to regulate your weight, eliminating excess fat, the reason is simple:

When you fast, you no longer bring enough glucose (sugars) into your body, which is normal because you no longer eat.

The body is then in a state of stress and will use its own fat reserves to provide the body with the energy it needs.

Interestingly, researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center (Murray) Utah have shown that fasting would cause a significant increase in the level of the growth hormone (HGH) secreted by our bodies.

HGH is a hormone that is also known as  “fat burner”, it also helps to protect muscle mass and regulate blood glucose and various other hormones. for more on the benefits of HGH read more!

Intermittent fasting is therefore very useful if you want to speed up your fat loss.

Intermittent Fasting Steps

    1. choose your type of intermittent fasting

To start your intermittent fasting, you must first choose your method of fasting, as we have seen above:

More 16-8, 17-7, or 18-6…?

If you’re a beginner, I suggest you start with version 16-8, which is easiest, but nothing prevents you from testing something more difficult if you want more results.

Remember that the longer the fasting period is, the greater the health benefits.

    1. How many days?

Then choose how many days you want to fast….

There is no real rule, which depends on your motivation, your tolerance for fasting and your professional/family limitations.

You can start by devoting 1 day of the week to intermittent fasting and then gradually increase it to 2, 3, 4, etc..

Some people practice this lifestyle every day of the year (or almost every day of the year).

Others occasionally do it for one or more weeks in spring or in other periods of the year.

You can also do it during your weekends.

Anyway, it’s up to you! Please note that intermittent fasting is a low risk practice for most healthy people.

    1. Arrange your meals

“So, what do we eat?”

During the feeding phases: you eat as usual and above all to your satisfaction! There are no changes at this level.

The only precautionary measure concerns the first meal of the day that breaks the fast, avoid foods that are too heavy to digest, such as fat, grains, dairy products, etc. Instead, choose vegetables (preferably cooked) and fruit juices.

During fasting: Don’t forget to drink enough water!

    1. My tips and tricks

The fasting phases are a time of concentration on themselves. To facilitate the body’s regenerative work, it is better to be in a quiet and caring environment.

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