Intervallfasten – Slimming or hunger enducing?
Intermittent fasting - celebrities, fitness gurus and influencers already swear by it. Even though the idea is not new, this method has experiencing a new hype. But what is interval fasting and what advantages and disadvantages does it bring with it?
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not a fasting cure in the classic sense. Instead, you alternate between phases of eating normally and phases of complete abstinence. This way of eating is designed to make it possible to reap the benefits of fasting without experiencing cravings or feelings of weakness. For many, however, weight loss is the main motivation.
The philosophy behind this method of fasting is based on the assumption that forced pauses in food intake correspond to the evolutionary way of life of humans in the wild. Steadily recurring meals were simply not common in earlier times.
How does Intermittent Fasting work?
If you decide to try intermittent fasting, there are three basic rules to follow:
- find out which method works best for you. The choice depends on how long you can go without food and your daily routine.
- during the fasting phase, only water or unsweetened drinks such as black coffee or tea are allowed. Your body will get everything it needs from your reserves during this time.
- during the rest of the time you may eat normally, except for the usual recommendations for a healthy diet. So little to no refined sugar, white flour, fast food and Co.
What are the variations of interval fasting?
Probably the most widespread variant is the 16:8 method. The 16-hour fasting interval can also be easily integrated into everyday life. Especially those who do not like to eat breakfast have few problems with this method. One possibility is to eat breakfast late and dinner early. So, for example, to eat in the period from 11 am to 7 pm.
You like to eat in the evening? No problem either, you can skip breakfast altogether and start lunch at 12 or 1 p.m. and eat at your leisure until 8 or 9 p.m. in return.
With this method you fast every other day. On one day you eat normally from 8 am to 8 pm. Then there is a fasting interval of 36 hours, until the morning after next. At 8:00 a.m. you break the fast with breakfast.
More extreme and only recommended for a short time is the 20:4 method. Here you may eat only in a window of 4 hours a day, the remaining 20 hours is fasting. This method became known as the Warrior Diet.
Whole fasting days
There are 5:2 and 6:1 variants of this method, which are very popular. Here you are allowed to eat normally for a period of five and six days respectively. On two or one day(s) in the week a fasting period follows. The goal is to condition the body to burn fat as a consistent source of energy.
The distinctive feature in this model is the clear separation of the fasting period and normal daily life. It should be noted that over the daily period of fasting, you should purposefully rest. Excessive work and stressful situations are to be avoided.
Advantages & disadvantages of interval fasting
Studies show that interval fasting removes toxins from the body, improves concentration and prevents diseases such as type2 diabetes. It also leads to a gentle loss of excess kilos. Like most things, intermittent fasting has its good and not so good points.
- Improved blood counts and reduced risk of inflammation.
- Preventing type 2 diabetes
The cause may be a lowered tendency to develop insulin resistance, as very little sugar is added to the bloodstream from external sources during certain periods.
- Improved cell regeneration
The efficiency of body cell regeneration is directly related to targeted restraint. While consuming food, your body reduces its repair efforts. However, if it draws on its own reserves, cells can break down harmful debris and defective cellular components much more easily.
- Cholesterol levels decrease
- Blood pressure is lowered
A regular side effect of fasting is that it can alter the balance of your hormones. Specifically, the reduction of leptin, which is responsible for feeling full, and the increase of cortisol, which can cause your body to become stressed. A University of Virginia study on fasting showed that female college students' leptin decreased by up to 75% and their cortisol decreased by up to 50% after the study's fasting period.
- Hormone imbalances
Specifically, thinner individuals who have less weight to lose and individuals who already have an active lifestyle are most likely to experience hormone imbalances. This can lead to irregular menstrual cycles in women, decreased testosterone in men, and more instances of insomnia and higher stress levels. Overweight individuals are more likely to experience benefits from intermittent fasting and have higher percent fat loss during the fasting period.
For many people, intermittent fasting can be an interesting approach to losing body fat without banning yourself from certain foods or maintaining your current body weight despite some feasting. Since it is easier to follow through than dieting, many may therefore find it easy to simply not eat at all for 1-2 days a week, or not eat for 16 hours every day - with the certainty of not having to give up anything the next day.