What is intermittent fasting, and should I be doing it?

What is intermittent fasting, and should I be doing It? The process has been known to be an ancient secret to good health and a long life span, but in recent times, it has a become a widely-used plan across the world.

What actually is intermittent fasting?

As you may have gathered from the name, the process does involve the act of fasting. It culminates in the result of eating for set periods of time – and only during these set periods of time.

There is no specification as to what foods should be eaten in order for this to work. Instead, the process centres on training your body to expect food at certain times of the day. Humans are able to live without eating for extended periods of time – it’s all about striking a balance.

How does it work?

The main reason why people turn to intermittent fasting is its reputation for burning off excess fat. The only reason humans carry excess fat is down to overeating. The body has stored this fat away over time. When we don’t eat, the body then consumes this excess fat to create energy, which is how weight is lost.

Fasting allows the body to use the energy that is already stored, rather than consuming new energy from incoming nutrients.

A few methods to try

Now you have been given a brief insight into the dietary plan, how can you manage your eating patterns?

The 16/8 Method: This plan is the most popular, and involves eating within an eight-hour window. Typically, those partaking in the 16/8 method will eat from 12am-8pm, meaning that the remaining eight hours are dedicated to fasting. Water and coffee are permitted within the fasting period.

The 5:2 Diet: This plan involves consuming a normal calorie count for five days of the week, and then limiting your intake to around 500 calories on two non-consecutive days.

What are the benefits?

According to research, there are many health benefits to intermittent fasting, which may be a reason for you to give it a go! This includes:

Changes in genes, cell function and hormones

Your body can undergo many significant changes during fasting periods, which can be quite beneficial. These may include a drop in insulin levels which helps with weight loss, cell repair and gene expression which prevents disease.

Thought to reduce the risk of heart problems

Heart disease is one of the biggest killers, but intermittent fasting can actually drastically reduces your chances of heart problems. This plan has been known to lessen the risk of high blood pressure and improve blood sugar levels.

Thought to lessen the risk of cancer

Cancer is a disease brought on by the growth in cells, however, the process of fasting means the metabolism rate is boosted, which may lessen the risk of developing the disease later on in life. A study proved that there may be a link between cancer and fasting, in which the side effects of chemotherapy were lessened by not eating for a period of time before undergoing treatment.

Laura Bill writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and graduate jobs.