Intermittent fasting has it’s good and bad points (as with anything).
Intermittent fasting is one of those practices that will be referred to as individuals in different ways. We do know that the window of fasting can be anywhere from 10,12, 16 or 20 hours. It can be allocated through the day or in the evenings.
Men and women respond differently, and more restrictive fasting practices can be harmful to women. A smaller fasting window for women can produce an anti-stress effect. Fasting may also be a lot more appropriate for overweight individuals, rather than athletes, lean or healthy people. Let’s look at some pros and cons of intermittent fasting so you can see if it will assist with you weight loss plateau.
Fasting at it’s worse.
- We are creating an imbalance of your hormones, leading to overeating and weight gain.
One thing we all need to be working well for us is the hormones regulating hunger, appetite and satisfaction after we’ve eaten.
Both insulin and leptin decrease hunger, sending a message to the brain that we are full, turning off the ‘eat’ button.
Certain gut hormones produce a short term feeling of satisfaction, inhibiting the activity of hormones that turn to eat on.
Ghrelin, NPY and Orexins all stimulate the appetite and promote fat storage, lowering energy expenditure while making us feel tired and lazy
One side effect of fasting is that the hormones above get out of balance, becoming unresponsive to cues that tell us you’re full and should stop eating. As an example, if cells become insensitive to leptin or insulin, your brain won’t register satisfaction and hunger will remain elevated. This could lead to weight gain, and many problems ahead if you decide to go back to regular eating.
One way to combat this problem from happening is by moderating your feeding period in a window of 10–12 hours, as this will not suppress the hunger hormones mentioned above. This will give you a delicate balance of fasting and feasting while allowing you to lead a semi-normal life as a result!
- Can cause stress & insomnia. Going without food for extended periods can increase cortisol via the flight or fight response. When you are overweight, this could be a good thing, as it may improve the bodies ability to use stored fat as energy. On the other side of the spectrum, those already experiencing stress daily, skipping meals and erratic eating patterns can further add to the stress levels. The side effects could follow on with cravings for sugar and carbs.
Another factor to consider is that combining fasting with cortisol can produce obsessive thoughts about food, raising anxiety, yet again heighten cortisol, even more, causing insomnia. Cortisol incites wakefulness which triggers the inability to fall asleep.
Fasting at it’s best.
- Remarkable for fat loss. When done correctly, it consistently produces a fat loss. It’s a whole lot easier and more beneficial than conventional calorie-cutting diets that we’ve become accustomed to over the years.
Many people opt to use fasting on alternate days, in between regular food consumption days, even throw 500 or so calorie days. There is no right or wrong here, just variety to break up the monotony of restrictive eating and predictable plans.
- Fat burning with metabolism flexibility. Our bodies ability to burn stored body fat, making the process a lot smoother. Metabolic flexibility may be the missing link in fat loss programs, as it reduces hunger, food cravings while improving your metabolism and brain function.
Not only does fasting make fat loss a lot more achievable, but you also have the added benefit of preventing the loss of lean muscle mass that often occurs with low-calorie diets.
Alternate fasting may be more useful for maintaining lean muscle mass than any other calorie-restricted diets. Time-restricted eating could be a lot more beneficial for a more muscular individual or athletes. Limiting your daily food intake towards a fixed window of time will increase fat burning and could even promote optimal body composition.
From this, we can gather that intermittent fasting will allow you to experience that weight loss breakthrough you’ve always wanted possibly. Start small, and progress to other protocols, such as low-calorie days, and then slot in some intermittent fasting, with days when you can eat normally. Fasting allows for greater flexibility and peace of mind.
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