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What is intermittent fasting?
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What is intermittent fasting?

Each season brings a new nutritional trend to lose weight. Now, everyone talks about intermittent fasting. “It is important to note that fasting cannot be considered a diet. Since this pattern implies restricting food for a certain period of time. while the concept of diet refers to the usual intake of food and beverages.

“Intermittent fasting consists of establishing more specific time intervals for meals and between 12 and 16 hours of fasting per day,” says Gemma Tendero, member of the board of directors of the Official College of Dietitians and Nutritionists of the Valencian Community (Codinucova).

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Although the most common intermittent or sporadic fasting formulas are those of daily periodicity (at least 12 hours of fasting, the best known to be the “16/8” pattern). There are others, such as the weekly (usually one day or two a week of fasting, followed or not). Within this second option, the most popular is the so-called “5: 2 diet”. Which advocates normal eating five days a week and a severe reduction in intake (over 75%) the next two. Fasting on a monthly basis (fasting a couple of days in a row each month) is practiced to a lesser extent.

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As for the schedule, how can intermittent fasting be organized?

As described by the endocrinologist, one of the most common methods of intermittent fasting, known as 16/8, is a nutritional methodology based on intermittent fasting and consists of fasting for 16 hours (which usually includes 8 hours of sleep), allowing the intake during the next 8 hours. The most common food “window” is from 10 in the morning until 6 in the afternoon.

Another example of method 16/8: “If the last meal is at 9 at night, the next meal could be at 1 noon, where you could make the normal meal at this time of day.”

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What foods are recommended for meal intake hours?

Usually no strict rules of what can be ingested in the allowed hours. It assumed that with the fasting period the usual intake is reduced by 300 or 500 kilocalories a day.

On the other hand, we must always start from a healthy diet. It is useless to make any kind of dietary strategy. if you do not start from a diet based on fresh foods, especially vegetables and fruits. The amount must be that stipulated with the dietitian-nutritionist with whom one works. since it depends on the patient’s goals, needs, and preferences.

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As for the foods that are recommended, continues the expert of Codinucova. They are those that are part of a healthy diet. Fresh, seasonal and preferably cooked at home. The basis is vegetables and fruits, adding the rest of the plant foods, legumes, seeds, natural nuts, whole foods. Where the composition and labeling indicate that they come from whole grains and foods of animal origin (for those people who do not be vegan) like eggs, dairy, fish, seafood, and meat.

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Does that have health benefits?

Given the results of scientific studies published so far, it seems likely that intermittent fasting can be as effective and safe as an equivalent calorie restriction diet. That is, it may be a useful option, but only for some people, says the specialist in Endocrinology and Nutrition.

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How much fasting is beneficial and what is the point that determines the balance between a long-term benefit or insufficient caloric intake damage is yet to be resolved. There is a lack of evidence and long-term results to propose this type of diet plan extensively. It would also be interesting to consider the possible added value of a physical exercise plan associated with these types of guidelines.

Intermittent fasting may increase insulin sensitivity or be useful in high blood pressure. It also serves to control the sensation of appetite. Some studies suggest that it could play an important role in delaying aging,

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Risks and contraindications of intermittent fasting

Among the side effects of fasting are headaches, dizziness, difficulties in maintaining concentration, alteration of other diseases or medication absorption. Likewise, nutrient deficits can occur depending on the time of fasting and the composition of the diet. Which consumed in the allowed hours. If not done under supervision there may be nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamins and minerals.

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Expert says that we must bear in mind that stop eating does not educate us to learn how to do it and maintain a healthy diet. In addition, in some vulnerable people, it could trigger an eating disorder.

Another prospect is that since it has not been eaten for a particular number of hours.

OR if the fast has been made several days during the week. It can give you the feeling that you can eat anything. Which ends up eating products with high-density caloric and low in essential nutrients, such as snacks, pastries, and junk food.

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Can it cause a lack of energy at some times of the day?

If you take advantage of the hours of sleep to be part of the fast and do not practice an important physical activity. It does not have to occur.

People who have problems with cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease, or pregnant or nursing women, children, and adolescents. The elderly and people with eating disorders should always consult with a specialist before adopting an intermittent fasting diet.

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Regarding the cases in which, in principle, intermittent fasting contraindicated, experts cite the following:

  • People who experience an eating disorder.
  •  with a tendency to stress and anxiety.
  • People with migraines.
  • People with low weight.
  • Pregnant women or in full breastfeeding.
  • People with type 1 diabetes or liver or kidney failure.
  • People with problems with cholesterol, blood pressure or heart disease.
  • The children, adolescents and elderly.

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About Usman Babar

A businessman by profession. blogger by luck. Love to write about Health and Fitness.

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