The concept of Intermittent fasting (IF) is nothing new in our custom, almost all religions advocate fasting as an important ritual. It has aroused renewed interest as an important tool for healthy living among health enthusiasts. The primitive man did not have the luxury of having three spaced meals and snacks so he had to consume food whenever available, just like animals do, moreover they had to be very active in procuring the food hence they did not suffer with diseases like diabetes.
Intermittent fasting (IF) has been known for years as an effective strategy for countering some modern day ailments like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diminishing cognition and has remarkable effects on overall health and ageing.
Apart from depleting the glucose and fat storage in the liver, the caloric restriction also results in the reduction of oxygen free radicals which in turn improves insulin resistance and reduces obesity, diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension and inflammation. Intermittent fasting also seems to confer health benefits independent of caloric restriction and weight reduction.
The eating pattern of three meals plus snacks is keeping us in the post prandial state most of the time leading to metabolic catastrophe. This eating pattern is so embedded in our culture that changing it will be very difficult. The easy availability of food and extensive marketing strategies by the food industry will make it difficult for us to follow intermittent fasting.
Intermittent – Fasting regimens are…
(1) Alternate day fasting
Eating nothing one day, then whatever you like the next day.
(2) 5:2 diet
Most popular regimen, in which you restrict yourselves to approximately 500-600 calories for 2 days a week but eat normally for the remaining 5 days. Alternatively, restrict calories to 1000 a day, once a week for the first month and then 2 days per week for the second month, followed by 750 calories for 2 days per week for the third month and then 500 calories for 2 days per week from the fourth month onwards.
(3) Time restricted feeding
Eating fixed amount of calories within a limited time frame with the goal of fasting for 16 to 18 hours a day.
Even though the benefit of intermittent fasting has to be confirmed with larger studies, it may be safely recommended for obese young people, borderline diabetics, healthy individuals who want to loss weight.