The 411 on Intermittent Fasting: Should You Do It?

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Intermittent fasting, also known simply as fasting, is focused on when you are eating and not necessarily what you are eating. It is not about calorie restriction but eating for a predetermined number of hours every day or specific days a week.

The easiest and most popular method of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method. With this IF method, you do not eat anything for 16 hours every day, just drink plenty of water, and then eat what you want, yes, even your favourite Korean fried chicken for instance, between the hours of 12 PM and 8 PM.

How does intermittent fasting work exactly?

Each day, organs like your liver, spleen, and kidney function to neutralise and get rid of toxins inside your body to help ensure healthy cells. During fasting, your body will eliminate extra toxins from the food you eat, which in turn offers various benefits for your body.

This includes safe weight loss as well as improved control of blood sugar and blood pressure. Each time you consume anything, your digestive system will break down carbs into glucose, which is a prime source of energy for the body.

It will then be absorbed into your blood and travel throughout your body to provide fuel to your cells.

The Ketosis mode

When you fast, on the other hand, your glucose supply will begin to decline, which will make your body resort to using glycogen or stored glucose for energy. When you have used up all your glycogen stores, your body will start to burn muscles and fat stores to produce its own glucose.

After a couple of hours or days of fasting, your body will get into a state of ketosis, in which fat becomes your primary fuel source, ensuring that you maintain muscle.  Put simply, when your body is in ketosis mode, you will lose weight faster because your body will burn fat for energy.

Consequently, you will also experience faster and improved metabolism.

Crucial things to know before you try intermittent fasting

woman with sport body

If you are generally healthy, you can try IF to see how it works for you. If you have chronic conditions or underlying health issues, however, it is best that you consult with your doctor first. Conditions such as diabetes, eating disorders, anaemia, low blood pressure and being pregnant might not work well with intermittent fasting and could be potentially harmful.

When consulting your doctor, inform him or her of all the dietary supplements and medications you are regularly taking, as some medications and supplements should be taken on a full stomach.

Also, you should adjust your workload and physical activity level on hours or days that you’re fasting because you might feel grumpy or fatigued and have an increased risk of getting headaches and fainting, especially during the first weeks of starting IF.

It’s also best that you schedule longer fasts for holidays and weekends or days where you don’t have to do too much, instead of busy workdays. Done right, intermittent fasting could be an effective and safe way to burn fat and boost metabolism, while giving other extra health benefits as well.