Does Intermittent Fasting Works

Does Intermittent Fasting Work to Boost Immunity?

Let me tell you Intermittent Fasting Does Work.

We just need to understand how, and the strategies that will work in our favor.

Be it losing weight or maintaining health or just keeping things under control.

Intermittent fasting has been a newly developed trend in the industry.

It is an eating pattern which has become famous among people looking to lose weight. 

Unlike other diet plans, it doesn’t focus on what you eat rather it focuses on when you eat. 

It does not restrict the quantity and type of food all that matters is the time of consumption.

Now, lets understand.

What is Intermittent Fasting and How Does it Work?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves cycling between the period of eating and fasting. 

Its main focus is limiting your meal to a specific time window.

An example of Intermittent fasting is 16:8 intermittent fasting. 

It involves eating for 8 hours and restraining from eating for 16 hours. 

Another example is a 5:2 method where the person eats normally on 5 days,

And restricts the calorie count to 500-600 calories on 2 days. 

There are various other methods of Intermittent fasting. 

Does the Intermittent Fasting is Effective Enough to Work on your Body?

1. Does Intermittent Fasting work for weight loss? 

Many studies have shown that intermittent fasting boosts weight loss via its several mechanisms.

First of all, restricting your calorie intake to a specific window decreases the calorie intake. 

Besides, it promotes the level of norepinephrine hormone which in turn boosts metabolism. 

It also leads to a reduction of insulin, the sugar management hormone which can increase the fat-burning process. 

Intermittent fasting works wonders,

if performed in conjunction with the ketogenic diet. 

It can speed up the ketosis process and thus promote weight loss. 

The keto diet involves having fat-rich food and limiting the intake of carbohydrates,

Thus pushing the body in a ketosis mode, 

Which is a metabolic state in which the body starts using fat as a source of energy,

Instead of carbs due to the unavailability of carbohydrates.

When done in synergy with intermittent fasting it aids the process of weight loss.

2. Does Intermittent Fasting work for PCOS?

Today a lot of women suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome also known as PCOS/PCOD.

It is a hormonal disorder common among the women of reproductive age,

This is characterized by an irregular menstrual cycle,

Or excess male hormone (androgen) levels.

It leads to weight gain in many women other than those symptoms

The symptoms are

  • excessive hair growth on face and body,
  • male pattern baldness,
  • infrequent, or prolonged menstruation can be experienced.

It may also contribute to long-term health issues such as diabetes or heart disease. 

How does Intermittent Fasting work for Women Suffering from PCOS?

1. Weight Loss-  

Weight loss has been the trickiest part for women with PCOS. 

It is always been advised to lose weight to a woman with PCOS.

But many trials and errors fail and the women are left with the same weight,

Or maybe on a higher scale with disappointment.

But Intermittent fasting can help such women,

As it helps reduce insulin levels.

2. Lower Insulin Levels-  

Insulin is closely linked to PCOS and women suffering from PCOS tend to be sensitive to insulin.

Normally a woman produces testosterone but a woman with PCOS produces too much of it,

And insulin stimulates the release of testosterone from ovaries.

3. Lowers Blood Cholesterol-  

Women with PCOS suffer from high cholesterol levels,

And intermittent fasting helps to reduce cholesterol levels.

4. Inflammation Reduction-

PCOS women tend to suffer from inflammation.

They suffer from chronic low-grade inflammation.

So intermittent fasting can come here to their rescue. 

Does Intermittent Fasting work with some set of Disadvantages for PCOS in Women?

These disadvantages can be listed down as follows- 

1. Leads to a Blood Sugar Crash and Cravings-

Intermittent fasting involves a period of fasting and feasting.

In the period of fasting, there may be a sharp crash in the sugar level of women suffering from PCOS

Because there is a risk of low blood sugar episodes associated with PCOS.

Its symptoms include dizziness, headaches, sweating, hunger, and on the worst side could be passing out.

In periods of low blood sugar,

The body craves carbohydrates which might lead to binge eating in the eating window. 

2. Less Focus on Nutrition-  

The intermittent fasting focuses on a time of eating in a way of trying to restrict the calorie intake.

Hence the focus shifts on calorie restriction rather than proper nutrition,

As in the periods of non-fasting days one might resort to overeating,

Or binging on whatever they feel like which might undo the effects of fasting. 

So, it is important to emphasize here that PCOS in women should consider the following before practicing intermittent fasting-

  • Intermittent fasting is not a diet but an eating pattern that works only if followed as a ritual.
  • If followed for shorter periods it might possess more negative impacts then positive.
  • However, when a woman suffers from an eating disorder,
  • She should not consider intermittent fasting
  • If a woman is going through extreme stress it is better to avoid intermittent fasting
  • Intermittent fasting with its various benefits listed above
  • Such as reduction of inflammation, lowering blood cholesterol etc benefits a woman with PCOS but
  • You should consider visiting a doctor before starting it.

3. Does Intermittent Fasting Work for Blood Pressure-  

Intermittent fasting has shown to be beneficial for patients with high blood pressure.

It has shown to reduce blood pressure if followed in continuity.

Studies have shown a reduction of systolic blood pressure especially,

When 16:8 intermittent fasting is followed,

Where a person fasts for 16 hours and has an eating slot for 8 hours.

But researches have so far shown that the blood pressure reduction,

This happens only if intermittent fasting is maintained as a lifestyle.

If a person bounces back to normal eating routine the blood pressure reaches the initial levels. 

4. How does Intermittent Fasting works when it Affects Hormones?

Human Growth Hormone-  

The studies have shown that the levels of growth hormone increase,

As much as 5 folds during the fasting period which is beneficial for the body. 

Insulin-

Insulin increases when we eat and fall when we fast.

It increases insulin sensitivity and the level of insulin falls considerably which helps in fat burning,

And makes the stored fat more accessible.

Norepinephrine- 

When we follow intermittent fasting.

It helps as the body goes into deficit mode nervous system sends norepinephrine to the brain to fat cells,

Which inturn break fats into fatty acids which are then burned for energy.

Thus helping you reduce calories and losing weight. 

Intermittent fasting has various benefits but it is also associated with hormone disruption in women.

First of all, it can disrupt estrogen levels an imbalanced estrogen can show the following signs- 

  • Low energy
  • Poor glucose levels
  • Poor muscles
  • Decreased bone density
  • Reduced skin and hair health

The imbalance caused in one hormone can even disturb the functions of other hormones,

Such as it can cause disturbances to cortisol,

Which are a stress hormone and thyroid hormone which may show signs such as-

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia 
  • Low energy
  • Dry skin
  • Dry hair
  • Irregular periods

5. Does Intermittent Fasting Works to Maintain Muscle Weight?

Generally, the worst side effect of dieting is muscle loss with weight loss.

But studies have shown intermittent may be helpful in maintaining muscle with a fat loss.

It shows that weight training three days per week with intermittent fasting,

This will help you lose fat along with maintaining the lean mass.

Some researchers have shown that,

  • Alternate day fasting coupled with 25-40 minutes of cardio exercises such as exercise on a bike
  • Or cross-trainer (elliptical machine) at least three times per week can help maintain lean mass during weight loss.

To sum up, exercise is important with any type of dietary pattern.

It is highly recommended to maintain muscle weight. 

6. Does it Help to Lose Belly Fat? 

Intermittent fasting normally limits the meals thus reducing the intake.

It also enhances hormone function to aid weight loss and increases the breakdown of body fat,

And facilitates its use as a source of energy which increases your metabolic rate helping you burn more calories.

This even results in the fall of inches in the waist circumference.

Thus indicating a loss in belly fat which is the culprit for various diseases. 

7. Is Intermittent Fasting Simply to Follow?  

Intermittent fasting involves having meals in a particular time window,

Hence you don’t have to plan and cook for meals more often.

In a particular slot it is done, and cleaning after meals is also less of a task.

It helps you to maintain weight while spending less time on eating activity. 

8. Does it Work on Travel? 

Traveling with its excitement comes with a question of how to maintain good eating habits and weight.

Maintaining a routine and eating healthy goes for a toss and all the efforts are taken to lose weight go in vain.

For people who are not on a weight-loss mission, it can be the question of maintaining a healthy routine.

So intermittent fasting comes as a savior in this case. It has been a good travel strategy.

So one can treat their travel days as fast days and eat on the other days.

      
Intermittent Fasting does work with lots of benefits?

          The following other benefits are associated with intermittent fasting- 

1. Improves Heart Health-   

Intermittent fasting reduces bad cholesterol,

It also helps regulate blood sugars and insulin resistance,

Which all are known to be risk factors for heart diseases.

Thus it helps improve heart health.

2. Disease Prevention-  

As it is rightly said that prevention is better than cure.

Intermittent fasting helps to prevent various diseases such as

  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Heart conditions
  • Some cancer
  • Neurodegenerative diseases

Time-restricted fasting such as the 16:8 fasting method may also protect learning and memory,

Also it slows down diseases affecting the brain.

3. Increase Life Span-

Studies conducted on animals have shown that intermittent fasting has boosted their life span.

Human studies in this area are limited and potential benefits on their life span is still a matter of research.

4. Promote Improved Body Composition-  

In fasting mode, a person consumes fewer calories.

Thus promoting weight loss.

In fasting, the body starts using stored sugars for fuel.

Thus using the stored fats which results in fat loss.

Thus it leads to a change in body composition by creating a calorie deficit, promoting weight loss, and decreasing fat.

It gives a kick-start to better metabolism. 

5. Helps Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease-   

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases.

It is a progressive disorder that is the most common cause of dementia,

Where there is a continuous decline in a person’s thinking, behavioral,

And social skills which disrupt the person’s ability to function independently.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease as of now,

So it is critical to prevent it from showing up.

Studies conducted on rats shows that intermittent fasting helps to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Animal studies have also shown that intermittent fasting may even protect from other neurodegenerative diseases,

Such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.  

Every coin has two sides in a similar manner, there are various downsides to intermittent fasting as well.

Following is the list of various downsides of intermittent fasting

Intermittent Fasting does Work with some Downsides?

1. Fasting Diets are Rigid-  

Intermittent fasting is a dietary pattern that is to be followed in a rule-based method.

There is a strict and rigid pattern to be followed.

It is suitable for someone who follows rules.

It can be dubious and more bad than good for people who do not have a proper eating schedule

Or people who are traveling five days a week or are constantly changing time zones,

In such a case it will bring more stress than the perks associated with it.

If you are someone who can’t eat according to a clock then you will have to think over it. 

2. Feasting can Turn into Binging-  

You might feel hungrier than you could have thought o,.

Especially if you haven’t consumed enough protein in the eating window mostly in the case of 16:8 intermittent fasting.

You might wake up with hunger pangs especially in the initial days,

This is till the time your body adjusts to the pattern.

Besides fasting for a period might lead to bingeing in the eating window.

The major worry here is setting off binge eating behavior

Because you might get so hungry that you might binge way over your daily amount.

In other words, eating only in a dedicated window does not mean all- you- can- eat- buffet set up in those 8 hours.

It is a dietary pattern that calls for dedication and mindfulness eating,

Otherwise it would defeat the purpose of fasting. 

3. Low Blood Sugar Issues

Low blood sugar or low blood sugar level is a side effect of diabetes,

Hence they are recommended to stay away from fasting.

But intermittent fasting can even trigger low blood sugar level in non-diabetics too,

Especially if you suffer from thyroid issues.

Even a person without any such issues can experience low blood sugar level,

And feel dizzy, nauseated, and shaky.

It can also show symptoms such as blurred vision, headache, sweating, fatigue, and paleness. 

4. The Research in This Field is Less-  

One of the various downsides of intermittent fasting is human research in this field is minimal.

Most of the most compelling ones are performed on rodents.

So there is a way to go before we understand everything about intermittent fasting. 

5. Effects on Social Life-  

Eating is an important part of socializing.

The food is the key aspect of any celebration. 

This time-restricted dieting pattern may be at times difficult especially in cases when you have parties to attend.

It can be a difficult task in a social gathering where everyone around is enjoying the food

And sipping on the beverages you might have to be awkwardly stand out of the crowd,

As your eating clock does not permit you.

Not to mention the birthday parties the office lunches the family dinners etc.

So intermittent fasting can take a toll on your social life. 

6. Digestion Issues-  

Eating a large volume of food in a limited time may interfere with the digestion process,

For some of us as it may require a lot more time to digest

And cause additional stress on the GI tract, leading to indigestion and bloating.

It can be a great cause of difficulty in people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

People suffering from IBS already suffer from a more sensitive gut.

However, people with digestive issues are recommended to eat at regular intervals,

And not skip meals to have proper bowel functions.

7. Slower Metabolism-

Intermittent fasting can lower the metabolism as the body goes into starvation mode,

And uses muscle protein as a source of fuel if not properly nourished,

Thus impacting your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). having a negative impact on the long-term. 

Does Intermittent Fasting not Work for Some People?

 Intermittent fasting is not everyone’s cup of tea. Intermittent fasting is not recommended in the following cases- 

1. Does Intermittent Fasting not Work for those suffering from Eating Disorder-

Intermittent fasting requires a disciplined approach.

It can be difficult for people suffering from eating disorders such as binge-eating disorder, bulimia, etc.

Such people should first consult their doctor for attending their eating habits before going for any such diet.

2. Does Intermittent Fasting not Work for Pregnant Women-

Pregnancy means eating for two that is for yourself and the baby.

Carrying a baby in itself is a task on top of that if you follow a restrictive dietary pattern,

It may negatively affect your blood sugar levels, energy levels, and deprive your baby of essential nourishment.

Hence intermittent fasting is not recommended for pregnant women.

3. Does Intermittent Fasting not Work for a Person Suffering from Diabetes-  

Although some studies suggest that certain diets including intermittent fasting help control diabetes.

Intermittent fasting is not recommended for people with acute diabetes who are dependent on insulin.

Prolonged fasting levels can affect the blood sugar levels and may even lower them to dangerous levels.

Hence those with diabetes are recommended to have nutritious meals more frequently throughout the day. 

1. Persons Who are Underweight-  

Intermittent fasting is focused on restrictive eating it has been a great diet protocol for losing body fat.

But if you are underweight or anorexic any kind of calorie counting and restrictive diets is not a good idea. 

2. A Woman Who is Trying to Conceive- 

While intermittent fasting could be good for trimming down,

It may not be so great for your eggs as when the body is well nourished it ovulates better.

Another way round when the pituitary and hypothalamus glands sense deprivation

Or starvation mode will postpone or hinder ovulation,

Hence it is not recommended for women trying to conceive. 

3. Women with a History of menstrual problems– 

Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation.

Women who have missed at least three menstrual periods in a row,

Female bodies are in general very sensitive to calorie restrictions as it perceives it as stress.

Even if it is said that intermittent fasting does not restrict calories just gives you a shorter window to consume calories,

It doesn’t make much difference as the brain gets starvation signals when we are hungry,

And thus sends the body in emergency mode.

Hence if you are a woman suffering from amenorrhea,

Or a problem of missed periods intermittent fasting is not recommended for you.

Tips For Successful Intermittent Fasting:

1. Food Quality-  

The food quality you eat is of utmost importance in any type of diet.

Even though you have an eating window that is not restrictive of calories,

You should focus on eating mostly whole and single-ingredient foods.

2. Food Environment-  

Choose those days for fasting (in case of intermittent fasting other than 16:8 method),

When you have minimal social or work-related engagements.

Avoid places of temptations.

3. Drink Smart and Drink Often-

Intermittent fasting allows you to drink water, coffee, or tea in the fasting period.

You should drink properly and keep yourself hydrated.

4. Count Calories-  

Though there is an eating window calories still matter.

So focus on eating in such a way that doesn’t compensate by bingeing,

And put your efforts in vain.

5. Stay Busy-

Distractions like work or outings help to shift focus from hunger.

Hence intermittent fasting is advisable on busy days.

6. Consistency-  

Consistency is the key to achieve anything.

The same goes for diets in the same way intermittent fasting should be followed consistently to see results. 

7. Patience-  

Your body may take time to adapt to the new pattern.

Hence you need to be patient and consistent with the intermittent fasting before seeing any results.

8. Listen to Your Body-  

Your body gives signs if something is not working.

Hence you should focus on the signs if after trying intermittent fasting you start to lose hair.

Or feel uneasy or you feel like you may pass out.

However, in any such uncommon and unusual signs then you should quit it and play safe. 

Final Thought:

Intermittent Fasting Does Work for most of the People.

Intermittent fasting has many potential health benefits such as weight loss, fat loss, improves heart health etc.

It works wonders if you make health your priority first and focus on improving health.

With intermittent fasting, you should also focus on eating real food, exercising, and taking care of your sleep.

Intermittent fasting is a more flexible way of eating.

In the end, every person has their own way of eating and diet personality.

At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all perfect diet suitable for everyone.

Intermittent fasting is great for some people not others.

What is most important that you assess your own eating habits and find out what works best for you

And it is recommended to consult your health professional before starting with any dietary pattern. 

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