Fasting diet [intermittent fasting] Review
What do you know about weight loss with a fasting diet? Do you know what a fasting diet is? A fasting diet is a weight loss method in which a person goes through a cycle of two periods of fasting and eating. If you do it right, your metabolism will increase. However, how do you follow the fasting diet? The best way is to plan your meals properly and use foods with the most nutrients. The roots of this type of diet go back to traditional fasting, which was used to improve body health or for mystical benefits. Fasting typically requires you not to drink liquids or eat food for several hours during the day, which continues for a month.
What is fasting?
A fasting diet is one in which you eat and then don’t eat at regular times. Research shows that this diet is a helpful way to control weight and prevent or even reverse some types of diseases.
One of the most attractive benefits of fasting is that many diets focus on what to eat. Or not to eat? Intermittent fasting does not persist! But is this a reward or a drawback? More research is needed to answer this question.
In an intermittent fasting diet, food is eaten only at a specific time, and it is based on the idea that dieting for certain hours of the day or eating only one meal every two days of the week can help burn body fat.
A neuroscientist has studied intermittent fasting for 25 years. He says that our bodies have evolved to go without food for hours or even days. Before humans learned to farm in prehistoric times, hunters and gatherers were trained to survive without food for long periods.
Maybe that’s why it was easier to maintain a healthy weight until 50 years ago. Because people went to bed earlier, stopped eating, and became more active.
In today’s world, TV, the Internet, and other entertainment are available 24 hours a day, and more waking hours have increased the desire to eat.
On the other hand, extra calories and less activity can mean an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases. Scientific studies show that a fasting diet may help reverse this process.
What are the types of fasting diets?
The most common ways to follow this diet are to fast on different days, on consecutive days at a certain time each week, or for a certain amount of time. We will examine the types of fasting diets below.
- Fasting on alternate days: This method has no food restrictions on days of the week. But some days include one meal, which contains 25% of the calories needed daily. For example, you should fast on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and you do not have any restrictions on eating for the rest of the week.
- Fasting throughout the day: In this fasting diet, you fast one or two days a week or get 25% of the required daily calories. You will not have any food restrictions on other days of the week. For example, on one or two days a week, you will receive 400 to 500 calories; on other days, you have no limit.
- Eat within a time frame: You will follow a daily food plan in this diet. After this time, no more food should be eaten. For example, you can eat from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are not allowed to eat the rest of the day, just like when you fast in Ramadan.
Allowed foods in the fasting diet
Intermittent fasting is linked to weight loss, better cholesterol, and less inflammation in the body, according to research.
Clinical trials have shown that fasting is good for your health and can prevent obesity, cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders, according to a study published in 2019 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
But it should be noted that following the principles in this diet may be even more critical than other diets because people stay without food for extended periods, which can lead to overeating. The principles that must be adhered to are as follows:
- Eat fewer processed foods and more often.
- Balance lean protein, vegetables, fruits, intelligent carbs, and healthy fats.
- Cook tasty foods with not too many calories to enjoy them.
- Eat your meals slowly and mindfully until you are full.
- Fasting diets do not have a specific food list. However, certain types of foods are better to consume than others.
In this section, we’ll talk about the important and allowed foods on the intermittent fasting diet: Lean protein
Consuming lean protein makes people feel full for longer than other foods and helps maintain or build muscle. The five sources of lean and healthy protein are:
- Chicken breast
- Plain Greek Yogurt
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- Fish and shellfish
- Tofu and tempeh
As with any diet, consuming highly nutritious foods while fasting is essential. Fruits and vegetables typically contain vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients (plant nutrients), and fiber.
These vitamins and nutrients can help lower cholesterol, keep blood sugar levels in check, and keep your gut healthy. Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories.
The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for the United States of America recommend that for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, most people should consume about 2 cups of fruit per day. Some healthy fruits for consumption during intermittent fasting are as follows:
Vegetables can be an essential part of a fasting diet. Research shows that a diet rich in leafy vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cognitive decline (Alzheimer’s, etc.).
The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for the United States of America recommend that on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, most people consume 2.5 cups of vegetables per day. Some vegetables that are good to eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet include:
Unauthorized food during fasting
Certain foods are not allowed to be consumed during intermittent fasting. These foods include high-calorie foods and contain large amounts of sugar, fat, and salt.
In addition to not being highly satiating, they may even cause hunger in some cases (such as sweets). In addition, high-calorie and fatty foods have few nutrients. To maintain a healthy fasting diet, it is necessary to avoid the following foods:
- Fast food
- Fatty bottom or bottom
Foods with added sugar should also be avoided. Sugar in processed foods and drinks lacks nutrients and contains sweet and empty calories that are not approved for fasting.
These sugars are quickly metabolized and cause hunger. In the fasting diet, the following sugary foods should be avoided:
- Candy and sugar
- Cakes and cookies
- Sweet Cream
- Barbecue sauce and ketchup
- Industrial juices
- soft drinks
- Sugary cereals and granolas
- Any unsaturated fat
What does the research say about the fasting diet?
Limiting caloric intake in animals increases lifespan and tolerates various metabolic stresses. These studies were primarily done on animals and do not apply to humans.
One worry about intermittent fasting is that people will eat too much on days when they don’t have to watch what they eat to make up for the calories they burn while fasting. Research comparing the fasting diet with other slimming methods did not confirm this.
But fans of the fasting diet believe that the stress caused by restricting your calorie intake causes an immune reaction in the body.
These reactions lead to cell repair and positive metabolic changes such as lowering blood fat, bad cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, and blood sugar. Other studies have also shown that intermittent fasting, or fasting, is a low-calorie diet beneficial for weight loss.
What are the benefits of losing weight with a fasting diet?
Very low-calorie and long-term diets cause physical changes in the body, reduce calories, and, as a result, help you lose weight. In intermittent fasting, the body gets used to eating fewer calories.
The fasting diet positively affects the good bacteria in the gut. It also increases the hormone adiponectin in the body, which is considered one of the key factors in fat burning. This diet will improve the body’s ability to melt fat and lose weight.
A fasting diet helps keep diseases like high blood pressure and high cholesterol in check and makes the body healthier overall. Also, it gets rid of people in this situation who gain weight on other diets. Other benefits of intermittent fasting include the following:
Increase the body’s natural calorie burning.
When you don’t eat anything, the body goes into fasting mode to the point where it starts burning fat. This means that your body burns fat calories without doing anything (except lying in bed and breathing).
The minute you wake up and eat your first meal, your body produces insulin. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone. Therefore, the state of fasting you were in will disappear. With intermittent fasting, you can maintain this phase for a few more hours so that you will burn more fat.
Because the body is so adaptable, it adjusts to the fasting routine. As soon as this happens, your control over your appetite and prevention of food cravings will improve. The body teaches itself how to work better with its fats and uses them as another energy source.
energy level stabilization
As soon as your body manages to use more fats as dual fuel, your energy will be more stable throughout the day. Having the willpower to avoid food cravings and overeating because you don’t feel like it is important.
Increasing the body’s ability to repair and detoxify
Digesting food directs the body’s attention and energy toward itself. When you regularly eat and digest food, your body spends less time and energy on maintenance and repair.
When you fast, you give your body a chance to focus on other processes. That is, with a fasting diet, the production of human growth hormones can increase. A healthy and functioning body will find it easier to lose or maintain a healthy weight.
Complications and weight loss problems with a fasting diet
Following this type of eating pattern is difficult for someone who eats many meals and snacks daily. It could also be hard for people who have health problems or who need to eat every few hours to give their bodies the energy they need to work, like people with diabetes.
If a person goes through long periods of fasting, not eating much, and binge eating, they may start to crave unhealthy foods and eat too much.
Most of those who choose the fasting diet can stick to it without any problems and do not suffer from its side effects. But some people have problems with the fasting diet, especially at the beginning.
People may generally experience severe lethargy and weakness during the fasting diet. These symptoms indicate that a person should immediately break the diet and eat something.
Fortunately, these cases are rare. However, it is better to be familiar with the side effects of intermittent fasting and know the solutions to solve these side effects:
- Hunger: Feeling hungry is the most common side effect of weight loss with a fasting diet. To solve this problem, we need to be able to tell when our desire is mild and ignore it. This hunger is felt for a short time and then goes away by ignoring it.
- Weakness and lethargy: Some people feel weak during fasting. Those with a job with high physical activity may feel weak and lethargic. Eating water with salt and keeping the body hydrated help solve this problem.
- Headache: It is normal to have a headache and mild dizziness with a feeling of weakness, and they are resolved by drinking enough water and salt. But severe headaches and feeling dizzy are not normal and mean you should stop fasting.
- Dizziness: Some people may feel that they are not alert and confused while fasting. Mild consciousness is ordinary but should not lead to complete confusion.
- Constipation: It makes sense to have less digestion when you eat less. Less frequent visits to the bathroom during weight loss are regular with a fasting diet and do not mean that you are constipated.
- Heartburn and stomachache: You may have heartburn when you start the fasting diet. Trying an intermittent fasting diet will help you find out if you will experience heartburn with this diet.
- Increased blood sugar: Although intermittent fasting helps lower blood sugar, it may raise fasting blood sugar in some people.
- Refeeding syndrome: Refeeding syndrome is a sporadic but dangerous disease. This disease can occur after long-term fasting in underweight or malnourished people. These people may experience life-threatening changes in fluids and electrolytes during refeeding. Most people who undergo weight loss through fasting do not need to worry about this and will not share it. This is one of the reasons why underweight or malnourished people should not fast.
How many days are on the fasting diet?
There are different types of fasting diets. You must stop eating for 12 or 24 hours in some of them, and in others, two or more days a week. However, fasting days should not be consecutive, and there should be at least one day of rest between them.
You can also eat on fasting days, but not too much! In this diet, women should get 500 calories and men should get 600 calories. But depending on each person’s age, gender, and activity level, three or four times more calories may be needed.
This diet encourages people to eat lean protein, vegetables, and fruits over two small meals with a few snacks on fasting days. Drinking plenty of water or non-caloric beverages such as tea and coffee (without milk or sugar) or soft drinks is fine.
The fasting diet strictly prohibits drinking alcohol on fasting days. The extent of fasting depends on the individual’s desire or goal to reach a certain weight.
But surprisingly, a research team that studied this diet found that people do not enjoy their food on days off (days allowed to eat)! And this is one of the disadvantages of the fasting diet.
How many kilos do we lose with the fasting diet?
A fasting diet can cause weight loss of about 250 to 750 grams per week.
When is the best time for fasting?
Some people choose to fast from breakfast to breakfast or from lunch to lunch one day. But which time frame works best depends on the individual’s body system.
Also, a full 24-hour fast every other day may be difficult for many people. Therefore, it is usually not recommended for beginners. In different fasting regimes, the time priority is based on one’s preferences and plans.
The fasting diet is divided into different types, but in all of them, a kind of fasting is observed to reach the right weight. Some foods allowed in this diet include lean protein, fruits, and vegetables.
Unauthorized foods, like most diets, include high-calorie foods rich in sugar and fat, such as fast foods, sweets, chips, puffs, soft drinks, and industrial juices.
On the intermittent fasting diet, each person can lose about 250 to 750 grams of weight per day, and of course, this diet is not suitable for people with diabetes or endurance athletes.
A fasting diet is a good option for people who have a busy work schedule or are tired of other diets. It will keep going as long as people want it to, and there is no limit in this case.
Who are the best candidates for the fasting diet?
A fasting diet is suitable for the following people:
A fasting diet for people with a busy work schedule
When you have a busy work schedule, eating every two to three hours is not easy and may even require a lot of planning and food preparation in advance.
People who frequently have to travel for work or participate in social events can use the fasting diet. Intermittent fasting can allow people to lose weight while having more flexibility in choosing foods on days when they are busy with travel, entertainment, or other commitments.
A fasting diet for people who are tired of other diets
People who have tried other weight loss programs and struggled with success or regained weight may psychologically need to try a new approach. A fasting diet can be a new way to renew weight loss and achieve the slimming goal.
But it’s important to know that fasting diets aren’t good for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, nursing mothers, or women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Also, these diets are not a good choice for people training for endurance sports such as marathons.
These people should never start a fasting program without talking to a doctor, and they should lose weight under the supervision of a nutritionist or doctor.
Why can’t people follow a fasting diet?
People with the following problems cannot follow the fasting diet:
- an eating disorder such as bulimia that involves self-harm;
- the use of medicines that require eating;
- people who are of growing age;
- pregnant and lactating women;
Now that you understand the fasting diet, you can follow it during Ramadan. A fasting or intermittent fasting diet is helpful for weight loss and appetite. As it was said, the result obtained from the comparison of the fasting diet and other diets is not much different from each other.
Remember to consult your doctor before starting to lose weight with a fasting diet. A fasting diet is not the right choice if you cannot eat or fast for a long time due to a specific disease.