Author: Greg Yau
One of the most common eating strategies used, intermittent fasting has gained significant popularity in recent years.
Unlike conventional diets, intermittent fasting does not specify food types or restrict calories, but rather control the time window under which you are allowed to eat. This eating pattern utilizes the changes in your body's cells and hormones during the fasting period.
During that period, your body's level of human growth hormone (HGH) significantly increases (as much as five times), helping with muscle growth and fat loss (1). Your cells also initiate cellular repairing processes like autophagy, where the cells digest and get rid of old, dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells (1). Insulin sensitivity also increases and insulin levels drop significantly, making stored body fat more accessible for energy use (1). Moreover, when fasting, your body increases the release of norepinephrine, a fat-burning hormone, helping you lose weight and improve your metabolic rate. Overall, intermittent fasting benefits your body's cellular processes, heart health, memory, weight control, and tissue health (2).
There are multiple ways of doing intermittent fasting, and here are some popular methods (1):
16/8 method (fasting every day for 16 hours and cutting your eating window to 8 hours)
5:2 diet (eating normally 5 days of the week, and for the other 2 days, restrict your caloric intake to 500 calories per day)
Alternate-day fasting (fast every other day, and on days not fasting, eat normally)
Eat stop eat (fast on 2 whole days per week, and eat normally for the other 5 days)
Overall, I think intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways to reach your target weight, cut body fat, and improve overall health. It does not require a lot of money to buy certain expensive food products, nor does it restrict the variety of foods in your diet. If you have the determination to make it a constant habit, give it a shot.