Life can be pretty harsh at times, especially as far as food and our weight are concerned. Generally, foods that taste great, are packed full of fats, salt, sugar, and other ingredients that do the body no good at all, and can cause us to gain a substantial amount of weight in the process. To make matters worse, all of the healthy foods we enjoy eating, seem to be pretty bland, and with the exception of a few foods, are pretty tasteless and uninspiring in the process. This is why so many people who start faddy, calorie-restrictive diets tend to fail. They go from one extreme of consuming large quantities of junk food, to another extreme of eating super-healthy, and super-bland, foods and produce. Obviously there are many fantastic ways in which you can use fresh and healthy produce to lose weight, but for the most part, weight loss diets tend to be pretty boring, which is why intermittent fasting is proving to be so popular. The primary concern that people have when following intermittent fasting protocols, is whether or not the diet will affect their metabolisms and have a negative effect on them. Here’re more about intermittent fasting, and how it affects the metabolism.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting, or IF, for short, is not actually a diet at all, but rather a pattern of eating instead. Put simply, you will cycle between periods of fasting, in which you consume limited, if any, calories from whole foods, and periods of eating, in which you can basically eat what you like, within reason of course, within a certain eating window. Whereas most diets place an emphasis on which foods you should and should not eat, IF diet plans place an emphasis and when you should and should not eat. This is why experts refer to it as an eating pattern, as opposed to a diet itself. Because of this, the “diet” can be adapted in numerous ways, and there are many different IF diet plans and programs currently being utilized. The 5 and 2 diet for example, is a form of IF, and if you aren’t familiar with this diet, which appears to be all of the rage these days, the basis premise is that, for five days of the week, you can eat normally, in that you don’t count calories, or particularly watch what you’re eating either. For two days of the week however, you will consume just 400 – 500 calories, depending on your gender, and you can still lose weight.
Is IF safe?
A lot of people, particularly those who are unfamiliar with the premise of intermittent fasting, will be quick to try to convince you of how dangerous fasting is, and how unnatural it is. In reality, having three or four square meals per day, at the same times each day, is far more unnatural from an evolutionary standpoint. You see, for millions of years, ever since our caveman ancestors roamed the earth, food was not guaranteed, we basically ate when we could, and we ate as much as we could during that time, because we didn’t know when the next meal would come along. Farming and becoming self sufficient changed all of that, yet we’ve only been self sufficient for around 10,000 years, which is nothing compared to the millions of years that we alternated between cycles of feast and famine. Because of this, our bodies are evolutionarily programmed to respond more favourably to fasting, and for anybody to call it unnatural, well, just explain the above to them and see what they have to say to that.
Will intermittent fasting affect the metabolism?
In a few words, yes it will. And before you panic, it will affect the metabolism, in a number of very favourable and beneficial ways. Studies have found that IF actually benefits the metabolism, even after you end an eating pattern, which is why IF is such a great way of losing fat and maintaining a healthy weight. Here are a few ways in which IF affects the metabolism:
It eliminates waste – One of the benefits of IF is the fact that it helps to eliminate waste and toxins which build up when we eat and drink “normal foods” at “normal times”. As you’re cutting down on certain foods at certain times, it provides a window for the body to cleanse itself and eliminate waste and toxins, that would ordinarily just be replaced an hour or two later, the next time we ate or drank something. This additional time to cleanse itself helps the metabolism to run more efficiently, because it isn’t having to worry about removing toxins and breaking down food, so it can focus on other processes which target fat cells instead.
It turns the body into a fat-burning machine – Another great benefit of IF on the metabolism is that it basically trains the body to become a fat-burning machine, allowing it to burn off excess body fat and use it as energy. You see, normally, sugars, or carbohydrates that would be converted into sugars, would be used as a primary source of energy throughout the day, but if you’re depriving your body of these sugars, it has to get its energy from somewhere else, which just so happens to be your body fat stores, which actually, are why we store body fat in the first place, so again, it’s another testament to how IF helps us revert back to our natural states.
Stable blood sugar levels – Another claim that people make regarding IF, is that they claim that it can cause unstable blood sugar levels, putting you at risk of diabetes, when in reality, IF has the opposite effect. As your body is steadily burning body fat at a steady pace throughout the day, there are no spikes in blood sugar levels, which means that we don’t suddenly feel hungry, because sugar levels remain steady throughout the day. If anything, IF is a great way of preventing diabetes.