We come across different diet plans every day. The diet plans out there come in a very wide range, from a low-carb diet to an ultra-low-fat diet too ketogenic to the intermittent fasting diet plan. Which one to choose can be a difficult choice as every diet plan has its pros and cons. One can always decide upon the basis of weighing the adverse and positive effects. Today’s topic is what is the intermittent diet plan. Hang in there as you get to know everything about it.
What Is The Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan?
To begin with, it is important to understand what this type of diet really is. But before that, let us mention that intermittent fasting is very popular for various reasons that are not only relative to weight loss alone. You will discover more as we go ahead.
The intermittent fasting diet plan revolves around the idea of fasting and eating. The core emphasis is not on the type of food that should be avoided or consuming but the time around which the food should be eaten. Hence, better known as alterations in an eating pattern than the diet itself.
Fasting has been practiced for years by specific religious communities, but who knew that there would be a diet plan derived out of it?
6 Methods Of The Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan
There are specific ways of conducting an intermittent fasting diet. Some are as follows:
1. 16/8 method
Under this pattern of eating, a person fasts for 16 hours, and the remaining 8 hours are for eating. This way of eating eliminates the consumption of breakfast.
2. 5:2 method
This intermittent fasting plan emphasizes restricting the calorie intake on 2 non-recurring days to only 500-600 calories. For the remaining 5 days of the week, you can consume anything and everything.
If you follow this method, then you would have to fast for an entire day, for instance, from lunch to tomorrow’s lunch or dinner to dinner or any feasible time. This can be done once or twice a week but not consecutively.
4. Warrior Diet
Under this way of eating pattern, you only depend on very limited eating like raw fruits or vegetables for 20 hours, and for the rest of 4 hours, you can consume an unlimited amount.
5. Spontaneous Meal Skipping
As the name implies, there is not any schedule that is followed under this type of intermittent fasting diet plan, but instead, you randomly skip a meal during the day when you don’t have much appetite.
6. Alternate Day Fasting
Again, as the name implies, an alternate-day fasting diet means you fast one day and then have a normal eating pattern the other day, and the pattern follows for as long as you want, or the expected results are yielded. The day you fast, you limit the calorie intake to very low or do not eat anything at all.
Apart from the eating patterns mentioned above, there are many others, or you can come up with your own order as well. The basic idea itself is restraining the food intake for a certain time to let the body use stored fats for weight reduction.
How Does The Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan Work?
The intermittent fasting process works in a way that the prolonged eating pattern allows the body to consume the calories and then relying on the body fat to be burnt to produce energy. Skipping a meal or food for the entire day allows the body mechanism to derive energy from the body fats hence burning them.
If you do not skip a meal, then the body would simply use the calories from the previous food intake to carry out the daily functioning of the body.
It is as simple as it gets. Once the body is out of calories, it will use the fats accumulated in the body to utilize for energy.
What To Eat During The Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan?
The core purpose of the diet is to reduce your body weight and benefit you from a healthy living lifestyle. Although we have established intermittent fasting is all about eating patterns rather than what you eat, it still important to keep a record of what you feed to your body and how much time it will take to process it. Or else the benefit of intermittent fasting will be diminished.
Fruits are the best way to intake the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients altogether. They also help in controlling the cholesterol level and maintaining the blood sugar level. Berries can make the perfect food for intake to be consumed due to many beneficial properties. Raspberries are high in fiber, which can keep you full the entire day on fasting days. Blueberries are an excellent antioxidant that prevents cellular damage in the body. Avocado, yet another fruit, can be eaten during the IF diet. Although it is a high-calorie fruit, unsaturated fats help in reducing the satiety for the entire day. Signaling the body that it is full and hence reduces the urge of consuming more. Other fruits like apples, peaches, watermelon, plum, and organs can also be eaten.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables
If you have been trying out different diet plans, then you might be familiar with cruciferous vegetables and their importance in any diet plan. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, Brussels sprouts, and many more. All these vegetables are full of fiber that has proven to be long-lasting and fulfilling for long fasting intervals. Along with other benefits, these vegetables hold many other health benefits that cannot be ignored.
Eggs can become nice and healthy food meals when you are aiming to eat less. Hence, eating right should become a priority. Eggs are high in proteins that provide the body with much-needed energy and aids in muscle building as well. Eating one large egg at the start or an intermittent fasting time, and you should stay full for longer. If you are full, there are high chances you would likely fast for longer and will not have an urge for any unhealthy things.
Nuts have proven to be a healthy snack to munch on instead of unhealthy snacks. Also, nuts provide good fats that are not harmful to the body. Nuts of all varieties have also proven to be good for health in general. So does that mean a handful of nuts does not harm you during intermittent fasting? Of course not.
Since there is not any hard and fast rule of what to eat and what not to, there are some other foods that could bring benefit to the body like dairy, proteins, seafood, and whole grains.
Drinks That Can Be Consumed While On Intermittent Fasting
Water is no exception, be it when you are on a diet or not. But keeping yourself hydrated is important to prepare the body for long fasting hours in case you plan to do the 16/8 fasting method or trying to stay away from food for 24hrs. Water can be consumed as per the body requirement and should not be missed. Drinking water as much as possible is necessary during the fasting windows, so the body stays hydrated at all times.
Drinking coffee will not break the fast as long as it’s just some coffee along with the skimmed milk. Adding sugar and heavy-fat milk then adds up to the calories, reducing the purpose of intermittent fasting. In fact, coffee can be consumed during the fasting windows or while fasting as well. As per studies, with no added sugar and milk, black coffee does not initiate a metabolic change that would result in breaking of the fast.
Foods That Should Be Avoided During Intermittent Fasting
Though it is crystal clear by now intermittent fasting solely focuses on the eating schedule instead of what you eat. But that does not mean you fast one day and indulge yourself with processed, sugary, or unhealthy food the other day. Because where are the benefits of fasting then? You can see the connection for yourself. Hence, certain foods and drinks should be avoided during IF.
- Processed food
- Fast food
- Sugary items
- Soda drinks
In other words, those food items have high calories, sugar, or salt in them. That will not only slow down the process of shedding weight but also will impose overall negative health effects.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
No diet’s efficiency can be considered until or unless its benefits are uncovered. To be able to understand whether an intermittent fasting diet plan is right for you, considering the benefits is very important.
The prime reason intermittent fasting is used is for reducing weight. Fasting boosts the metabolism rate leading to burning more calories. In addition to that, the waistline and belly fat can also be reduced. What else do you need?
It’s Easy To Do!
Ever thought of giving up on your favorite food while being on a diet? Well, thanks to intermittent fasting that allows you to eat whatever. The ease at which intermittent fasting can be done allows more and more people to try it because there is no specific routine you must stick to yield results.
It Reduces The Risk Of Cancer
Fasting has been proven in some cases to reduce the risk of cancer. The prolonged calorie reduction and reduced food intake has been shown to slow down the progression of cancer, kills the cancer cells, and has shown great effectiveness in chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
It Reduces The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Intermittent fasting has also been shown to help to reduce blood sugar levels. Fasting increases insulin sensitivity, which results in a reduction of insulin levels.
It Improves Life
Longer life can be attained by limiting the food intake achieved through intermittent fasting. Not only does it help in fighting obesity but it also generally reduces the risk of other diseases that contribute to a longer life.
How Long Does Intermittent Fasting Take to Show Effective Results?
The results mostly depend on the method you have chosen for intermittent fasting, as we discussed earlier in the article. But according to the studies, the results start showing within 10 weeks.
How long will it take also depends on the goal you want to achieve. For instance, you might see effective results because it helped you to reduce 5 pounds. But at the same time, a person aiming to reduce 15-20 pounds might not consider it very effective even after losing 5 pounds.
This is also based on your metabolism rate. Some people have a fast metabolism, while others have a lower metabolism rate that takes more time to burn calories.
Lastly, it depends on the food you are consuming during the fasting windows. If you are eating more of the forbidden food (see the foods to avoid), then results are harder to achieve, but if you are sticking to the foods that actually help in making the intermittent fasting effective, then the results should be visible soon.
Is The Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan Healthy?
This again depends on how you take it. Excess of everything is bad. If you keep yourself starved for a day, then it would be very unhealthy to the body, immune system, and muscle mass. But if you indulge in unhealthy foods on a daily basis, that is bad too. An optimal level is required to benefit from the intermittent fasting diet plan.
As we talk about the effectiveness of intermittent fasting, which is proven by the benefits mentioned above, there are some drawbacks to it as well. The drawbacks can include headache, low energy, constipation, mood swings, and difficulty in concentration.
Intermittent fasting can bring enormous benefits alongside reducing weight. It generally improves the lifestyle and has been practiced by many religions for years and years. Hence, no harmful results can be identified if done right. Now it is in your hands how to go ahead with the intermittent fasting diet plan and achieve your goal.
How helpful did you find the article regarding intermittent fasting? Remember to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.