Is Intermittent Fasting Unhealthy? Everything You Need to Know About
What is Intermittent Fasting? Is Intermittent Fasting Unhealthy? Should you try it? These are the questions I can find in various different forums from people all over the world. This type of diet is getting more and more popular among people, in fact, this is one of the most popular health and fitness trends, but many still don’t know what intermittent fasting actually is and if is it safe and good for us.
I will answer the most common questions about intermittent fasting and give you an idea of what this diet is all about.
What is intermittent fasting?
This is a type of diet which involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating. This diet is very different from other diets, because it doesn’t say what food you should eat, but it says when you should eat that food. The main goal of intermittent fasting is to split the day into fasting and eating periods by shortening the eating period and extending the fasting period.
Most people in the world do not eat and fast while they are sleeping, which can be somewhere between 6 – 10 hours of fasting. The goal is to extend your fasting period and the best way to do that by not eating at least a few hours before sleep and skipping your breakfast.
Intermittent fasting types
The 16/8 method: This is the most popular method of intermittent fasting. Where you have to fast for 16 hours a day and eat for 8 hours in the middle of the day.
The 18/6 method: this method is a different version of the 16/8 method where you have to fast for 18 hours and eat 6 hours in the middle of the day.
The 20/4 method: this is the most extreme version of the 16/8 method where you have to fast for 20 hours and eat just 4 hours in the middle of the day.
The 5:2 method: for five days of the week you have to eat normally and following with two days of modified fasting consuming very little amount of calories, somewhere between 500-600 calories a day.
Eat stop eat method: for six days of the week eat normally and one day of the week fast for a full day.
There are more intermittent fasting types, but I’m not going to talk about them, because they are not as popular and I think some of them are too extreme and not worth the risk to try them.
Why intermittent fasting works?
This works, because of the extended starvation period which decreases insulin level and makes our body burns fat to get energy and help to lose weight quicker.
Food makes our insulin levels to spike up, which leads our bodies to store sugar and produce body fat (turn sugar into fat). Eating every three hours as told by many ‘’Gurus’’ increases our insulin level all the time and our body keeps storing those extra calories.
Eating less often is actually better and can help to lose weight and increase metabolism because we don’t spike our insulin level that often gives our body the opportunity to start burning that fat and turning it into energy.
It can also help your digestion system because it has more time to digest food properly and get rid of all waste and toxins before you eat more food. If we are eating every couple of hours our body don’t get this opportunity because our digestion system is always full.
Does intermittent fasting burn muscles?
The answer is no. Our bodies are not stupid and it is just a myth that we have to eat every 3 hours to grow muscles. Actually, researches have shown that the human has to fast for more than 48 hours before the body starts burning muscle fibres.
During fasting, the body first breaks down glycogen into glucose for energy. After that, it will breakdown fat to provide energy for our bodies. And just in the last option, it will start to break down muscle fibres to use as energy.
Don’t be afraid to lose your muscles because of intermittent fasting, because it’s very unlikely to happen.
Is intermittent fasting unhealthy?
Is intermittent fasting unhealthy? This is the most important and common question people ask. I couldn’t find any research proving that intermittent fasting is unhealthy, in fact, it has a lot more pros than cons. And I will talk about them later. Read more about intermittent fasting studies.
However, I would not recommend too extreme methods of intermittent fasting, because you still want to give yourself enough time to get all nutrients and calories you need, especially if you are lifting weights and trying to gain muscle mass. I would recommend the most popular method 16/8 where you fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours.
I would choose my eating hours from 12 pm until 8 pm, but you can choose any time gap which suits your lifestyle better. And don’t forget that you have to eat good quality food, to supply your body with all the necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
I would not recommend intermittent fasting for people who are:
- Having or ever had eating disorders like anorexia in the past.
- Children under 18.
Intermittent fasting benefits
Intermittent fasting has lots of benefits. Weight loss is the most obvious one and the reason why most people are trying intermittent fasting. Some benefits like weight loss are approved by many types of research done on intermittent fasting. There are many possible benefits which have not been 100 percent approved by research yet, but there is a great possibility of them too.
Some of these possible benefits are:
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Increased metabolism.
- Increased growth hormone which is responsible for muscle growth.
- Improved cholesterol level.
- Lower risk of Alzheimer.
- Reduction of inflammation.
- Increased concentration.
Approved benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Weight and body fat loss.
- Lower blood insulin level.
- Increased fat burning.
- This is a diet which involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating.
- Most popular intermittent fasting type is 16/8 method where you have to fast for 16 hours a day and eat for 8 hours in the middle of the day.
- This works, because we are extending the starvation period and that decreases insulin level and makes our body burn body fat for energy helping to lose weight.
- This decreases spikes of insulin level which has a positive impact on our health.
- No research can prove that intermittent fasting is unhealthy, in fact, it has many positive health benefits.
- I would not recommend extreme methods of intermittent fasting, you should try the 16/8 method.
- Eat good quality food, to supply your body with all necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Not sure what is good quality food you can find out more in my article about the Importance of Balanced Diet.
Are you curious and want to try intermittent fasting? Yes? I would recommend trying it out and see yourself how you feel and if it is the right thing for you or not. My recommendation is to try out the most common 16/8 method and do not choose too extreme methods which can affect you negatively.
As always, if you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
All the best,
Founder of ihealthylifestyle