If you are still unhappy with your appearance and shape after the holidays, you can try intermittent fasting. The word “fasting” is used conventionally. In fact, we are talking about a more rigid diet, when a person does not eat for 16 hours a day, but takes food in the remaining 8 hours.
How to properly follow a 16: 8 diet, she said Nutritionist at the Federal Research Center for Nutrition, Biotechnology and Food Safety, Ph.D. Natalya Denisova.
According to the adherents of this type of diet, the benefits of intermittent fasting are not only weight and fat loss, but also the prevention of type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, and a decrease in the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, this type of nutrition maintains the body’s circadian rhythm, that is, the internal biological clock. After all, a person does not eat at night, partly in the morning and in the evening, and consumes the main daily calories in the middle of the day. At the same time, everything is possible during the 8-hour window, there are no restrictions.
Recent research on intermittent fasting has shown that it is more effective in reducing weight and fat than simply cutting calories daily. In addition, it helps lower blood pressure in obese people. Fasting insulin levels decline by 11-57% after 3-24 weeks of intermittent fasting. Fasting for a limited time can improve memory function and slow the progression of diseases that affect the brain. Animal studies have shown that this form of fasting helps reduce the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cancer. Finally, eating only at a certain time helps speed up metabolism.
The easiest way to follow the 16: 8 diet is to choose a 16-hour fasting interval that is comfortable for you, which includes bedtime. For example, if you are not used to having breakfast early, you can move breakfast closer to lunchtime and have dinner at 8pm. Or vice versa, do not eat after 5-6 pm. It turns out that you need to skip either breakfast or dinner in your usual diet. In any case, it is best to avoid eating 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Options for when you can eat may be as follows:
- from 9 am to 5 pm;
- from 10 am to 6 pm;
- from noon to 8 pm.
During this period, you can eat at your convenience. But it is advisable to stick to regularity to prevent spikes and drops in blood sugar levels and excessive hunger. You can experiment to find the best meal times for your lifestyle.
What foods are recommended for intermittent fasting?
While everything is fine with this type of diet, it is best to focus on a balanced diet high in fiber to avoid hunger. It:
- Whole grains, including whole grain breads, various grains, and durum wheat pasta;
- fruits and vegetables, fresh or frozen;
- protein sources – lean meat, poultry, fish, legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds, low-fat cottage cheese and eggs;
- healthy fats from sea fish, olives, vegetable oils, avocados, nuts and seeds.
Fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains rich in dietary fiber can help you feel fuller longer. Healthy fats and proteins also contribute to satiety.
Make sure you have enough liquid. This will help reduce your calorie intake. People often mistake thirst for hunger. The 16: 8 diet allows for non-calorie beverages – water, unsweetened tea and coffee – during a 16-hour fast to stay hydrated.
You will find it easier to stick to 16: 8 intermittent fasting if you follow these tips:
- Drinking herbal tea or cinnamon coffee while fasting, as this helps suppress appetite
- drink water regularly throughout the day;
- watch less TV or related videos on your phone to reduce exposure to food images that can stimulate hunger.
Before starting such a diet, it is worth understanding what possible side effects are:
- hunger, weakness and fatigue in the early stages of the diet;
- overeating or eating unhealthy foods during an 8-hour meal period due to excessive hunger;
- heartburn and abdominal discomfort as a result of overeating for 8 hours.
You should not adhere to such a diet for those who have been depressed and anxious. Some research suggests that short-term calorie restriction can relieve depression, but chronic calorie restriction can have the opposite effect. In addition, this type of food is contraindicated for people with chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and diabetes that has begun.
And, most importantly, before starting to follow this type of diet, you must undergo a medical examination and consult with your doctor.