Intermittent fasting: schemes for beginners, menus, pros, and cons
Intermittent fasting is a diet that can help improve immunity, favor detoxification of the body and also improve mental disposition and agility.
This type of fasting consists of not eating solid foods for 16 to 36 hours in a row, a few times a week, on a scheduled basis, then returning to your regular diet, preferably low in sugar and fat.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting, or fasting, implies clear periods in which you need to refrain from eating.
Such a system is usually used by those who want to lose weight, but at the same time do not want to deny themselves their favorite food.
Rules and schemes of intermittent fasting
The main rule is to adhere to the intervals between meals. There are several options for intermittent fasting: 16/8, 18/6, 20/4, 5/2, and 36 hours without food.
Fasting schemes 16/8 and 18/6
- The most common fasting method is the classic: 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. It is not difficult to adhere to such a regimen since half of the fasting interval falls on sleep.
- Fasting 18/6 is stricter, it is suitable for those who have been adhering to the principles of fasting for some time.
20/4 Fasting Scheme ( Warrior Diet)
The real warrior diet, or OMAD - one meal a day. Under this scheme, food can be taken only once a day.
Fasting scheme 5/2
- This principle is designed for a week. For five days you adhere to the usual diet, and for two days you either completely abstain from food, or its total calorie content should not exceed 500-600 kcal.
- It is important to remember that you can not starve for two days in a row, it is better to break them into a week.
Fasting scheme 36
- You should carefully prepare for such fasting both mentally and physically since if you had breakfast at 8 am on Monday, then you can “lunch” only at 8 pm on Tuesday.
- Compliance with the rules of fasting does not mean at all that you need to eat all the time, you can fit 2-3 meals in them.
- In order not to bother with counting hours, you can simply skip the first or last meal, or download one of the applications that will track the time of consumption of food for you.
Pros and cons of intermittent fasting
Fasting has many advantages:
- Body cells get rid of toxins and toxins, which provokes the development of various diseases.
- Slow down the aging process.
- The level of insulin in the blood decreases.
- Body fat is converted into energy.
- Increases the level of growth hormone, which mobilizes the process of fat burning.
- Cholesterol levels return to normal
- The normal intestinal microflora is maintained.
- Stress is reduced.
- Brain function is activated.
The benefits of fasting are supported by scientific studies. For example, American scientists have found that fasting helps to lose weight more effectively than simply adhering to the rules of nutrition.
Cons and contraindications of intermittent fasting
However, like any diet, intermittent fasting has many contraindications, including:
- Deficiency of vitamins and minerals in the body.
- Eating disorders (bulimia, anorexia).
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding.
In addition, discomfort, dizziness, weakness, and even headaches may occur during the first time of intermittent fasting, which is a quite typical reaction of the body to stress (hunger).
Does it really work?
“It works, in cases where the excess weight is large enough. Then the reduction in meals can really give a result”.
In the long term, there is no point in intermittent fasting, since the longer you starve, the more your body will resist losing weight:
“Hungry people have increased levels of ghrelin (hunger hormone) and decreased levels of leptin (satiety hormone). All this will not contribute to active fat burning and will subsequently lead to breakdowns”.
How long can it take to get results?
In the short term, due to the reduction in the number of meals, you can get a result in a few days.
However, there is no point in long-term intermittent fasting - then the weight will either go away slowly or stop at one figure, the nutritionist believes:
“In losing weight, only one rule is important - a calorie deficit. If the amount of incoming energy from food is higher than the body needs, then the weight will increase.
What matters is not the intervals at which you eat or fast, but the number of calories digested. An active lifestyle will boost the metabolism of a person who is losing weight on any food system by burning those same calories from food.
But still, there are no advantages to intermittent fasting over frequent and fractional meals.