HOW INTERMITTENT FASTING CAN LEAD TO A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE AND WEIGHT LOSS.

Many people including top celebrities have started doing Intermittent Fasting recently to take advantage of the many health benefits. For those not familiar with the term, intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting.
Interested to know how you can benefit from it? Let’s explore further the benefits of this diet, as well as all the pros and cons of it.
Before we start, it’s important to know that there are different version of it, but the general idea for all of them is that you eat normally some days of the week and drastically reduce your calories on other days.
You can eat mostly what you want on days when you don’t fast. But to lose weight and get the nutrients you need, you should stick to healthy foods and limit treats like dessert and processed foods.
On fasting days, you’ll eat very little food or none at all. For example, the ‘Every Other Day Diet’ says to eat no more than 500 calories during each fast day.
The most popular plan is to fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours.  This plan seems to suit most people.  Personally I like to stop eating at around 7pm in the evening as this is the time when I’m tempted to eat crap food.  I start eating again at 11am the next morning so it’s very straight forward and easy to follow.
Other plans encourage you to skip food entirely for up to 24 or 36 hours at a time. On others, such as the Every Other Day Diet and the 5:2 Fast Diet, you can have some food but only get about one fourth of your regular calories.
The 5:2 Fast Diet involves eating 5 days a week and fasting for the other 2 days, when women can get no more than 500 calories and men no more than 600.
That’s a quarter of the amount you likely eat on the days when you don’t fast. Whether you eat those calories in one sitting or spread them across micro-meals throughout the day, is up to you.
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General benefits 

Numerous studies show that intermittent diet can have powerful benefits for your body and brain.
The possible secret behind the diet’s health-boosting benefits, is that fasting puts your cells under a mild stress. Scientists think that the process of responding to this stress, on your low-calorie days, strengthens cells’ ability to deal with stress and potentially fight off some diseases.
Improved function of cells and Hormones
When you don’t eat for a while, your body initiates important cellular repair processes and changes hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible.
You can lose weight and belly fat
Intermittent fasting can be an incredibly powerful weight loss tool. Intermittent fasting helps you eat fewer calories, while boosting metabolism slightly. It is a very effective tool to lose weight and belly fat.
It can reduce insulin resistance, lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes
Interestingly, intermittent fasting has been shown to have major benefits for insulin resistance and lead to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels.
It can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body
Studies show that intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. This should have benefits against ageing and development of numerous diseases.
Oxidative stress is one of the steps towards aging and many chronic diseases.
It may be beneficial for heart health
Studies show that intermittent fasting can improve numerous risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides and inflammatory markers.
It induces various cellular repair processes
Fasting triggers a metabolic pathway called autophagy, which removes waste material from cells. When we fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular ‘waste removal’ process.
It is good for your brain
Intermittent fasting may have important benefits for brain health. It may increase growth of new neurons and protect the brain from damage. What is good for the body is often good for the brain as well.
Young woman eating healthy salad after workout

Fit woman eating healthy salad after workout

It may extend your lifespan, helping you live longer
One of the most exciting applications of intermittent fasting may be its ability to extend lifespan. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting extends lifespan in a similar way as continuous calorie restriction.
Tips
• Make sure you eat enough quality foods in the 8 hours to make it through the 16 hour fast
• Don’t use it as an excuse to go nuts in the 8 hours eating junk food
• There are different types of fasting, so pick one that suits you best
• Its a healthy way of eating unlike a lot of so called “diets”

Pros

• Weight loss
• Health benefits
• Easy to follow
• No late night food binges

Cons 

• It can be dangerous for people with certain conditions like diabetes
• Getting “hangry” if you haven’t eaten enough food in the 8 hours
• Eating crazy amounts of food in the 8 hours, more than you usually would
Sources: WebMd and HealthLine