FAST OR FEAST

Intermittent dieting is the recent fitness fad topping charts for weight loss enthusiasts. Read on to know all about it.

One of most popular health and fitness trends currently is – intermittent fasting. And before we come to a conclusion whether it actually works or not, here we discuss what it is and what can be the pros and cons of following this diet.

What It Is Intermittent Diet?

A diet regime, which basically cycles between brief periods of fasting, with either no food or significant calorie reduction and periods of unrestricted eating. It is believed to change body composition through loss of fat mass and weight, and to improve health markers that are associated with diseases such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Deriving from traditional fasting, intermittent dieting has profound beneficial effects on many different indices of health and can counteract disease processes. If done properly it is said that this fasting can delay the onset of a wide range of age-related disorders including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease Parkinson’s disease and stroke all of which are highly influenced by our genetic makeup.

Intermittent fasting is not a diet. It is a timed approach to eating. Unlike a dietary plan that restricts where calories come from, this one does not specify what foods a person should eat or avoid. While it has few health benefits, including weight loss, but is not suitable for everyone.

Intermittent Fasting is not suitable for all.

This fitness regimen is not for all, especially for those with hormonal imbalance issues like, thyroid, PCOS, adrenal, autoimmune disorder. It can also put you on the higher risk of diabetes type 2, due to its fasting pattern.

Below are other health risk factors of intermittent fasting on overall heath:

– Eating Disorder

One of the most extreme effects of this fasting is the risk of developing eating disorders. When you skip one or two whole meals in a row, you are more likely to binge in the third one. The binge-and-purge mentality can force you to develop Bulimia or other eating disorders. For a person with emotional or psychological eating disorders, intermittent fasting could be absolutely disastrous.

– Develop chronic elevated cortisol problem

Cortisol or the stress hormones are closely connected to the metabolism. Elevated cortisol level is one of the effects of intermittent fasting. This diet was thought to be beneficial inducing the body to release fat as energy. However, in the long term, this showed negative effects, especially in women. It resulted in an undesired effect of storing fat and breaking down muscle in women.

– Unhealthy obsession with food

Intermittent fasting can slowly make you obsessed with food. It will be the only thing you would look forward to and think about. While you are fasting, you plan what you are going to eat next.

– Too much on coffee

In most cases, this diet allows caffeine, which can keep you going for hours without feeling the need to eat. So while you are fasting, you may find an excuse to drink more coffee thinking that it will help you stay without food for a longer period of time. However, over time, the caffeine shot can make you an insomniac, which takes a negative toll on your metabolism. The drink releases cortisol in the body, which can increase blood sugar levels and make you more prone to insulin resistance.

– Food intolerance risk and inflammation

Fasting can leave you craving for more food, perhaps a pizza or a boxful of donuts. However, these ‘break the fast’ meals can be loaded with dairy, soy, gluten or other reactive foods. This results in a leaky gut situation and paves the way for food intolerances and inflammation.

Effects of Intermittent Fasting

– Following this diet, Human Growth Hormone (HGH) has shown an increase as much as five times over. This hormone is produced by the pituitary gland, and increases glucose levels, and is therefore suppressed during feeding. Fasting is a great stimulus for secretion of HGH.

– During the period of fasting, the body induces processes that are vital to cellular repair (also called autophagocytosis). Fasting helps the removal of waste material from cells. A study done by stem cell shows that fasting actually shifts them from a dormant state to a state of self-generation. These cells are also regenerated in the immune system.

– It reduces inflammation. Inflammation in the body is the leading cause of several illnesses. Fasting helps reduce oxidative stress, along with preventing and fighting inflammation in the body.

– Aid weight loss. In addition to lower insulin and increased HGH, intermittent fasting increases the release of the fat burning hormone norepinephrine. It can also help lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.

– Genetic changes due to dietary intervention in the form of intermittent fasting are not reported in detail until now. However, it is well established that both CR and IF extend the lifespan and protect against neuro-degenerative diseases and stroke.

If after going through the pros and cons this fasting-feasting regime is on your mind then its time for setting the diet plan right. Read our story “Guide To Start Intermittent Fasting” for that.

Chandni Luthra is founder and director of FutureMed. She has envisioned to transform patient care and improve the healthcare as well as the standard of living in the country by making genetic screening a routine part of health care in India. Her company is one of the very few companies in the country that provide all the verticals of genetic testing under one roof. 

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