The Palto’s Basic Intermittent Fasting Guide
Intermittent fasting is the ancient secret of health. It is ancient because it has been practiced throughout all of human history. It’s a secret because this powerful habit has been virtually forgotten.
But now many people are re-discovering this dietary intervention. It can carry huge benefits if it is done right: weight loss, increased energy, reversal of type 2 diabetes and many other things. Plus, you’ll save time and money.
What Is Intermitted Fasting
Intermittent fasting – isn’t starving yourself. Fasting differs from starvation in one crucial way. Control. Starvation is the involuntary absence of food. It is neither deliberate nor controlled. Fasting, on the other hand, is the voluntary withholding of food for spiritual, health, or other reasons.
Food is easily available, but you choose not to eat it. This can be for
any period of time, from a few hours up to days or even weeks. You may begin a fast at any time of your choosing, and you may end a fast at will, too. You can start or stop a fast for any reason or no reason at all.
Fasting has no standard duration, as it is merely the absence of eating. Anytime that you are not eating, you are fasting. For example, you may fast between dinner and breakfast the next day, a period of approximately 12-14 hours. In that sense, fasting should be considered a part of everyday life.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work
Fasting simply allows the body to burn off excess body fat. It is important to realize that this is normal. Body fat is merely food energy that has been stored away. If you don’t eat, your body will simply “eat” its own fat for energy.
Life is about balance. The good and the bad. The same applies to eating and fasting. Fasting, after all, is simply the flip side of eating. If you are not eating, you are fasting. Here’s how it works:
When we eat, more food energy is ingested than can immediately be used. Some of this energy must be stored away for later use. If you are constantly eating, as is often recommended, then your body will simply use the incoming food energy and never burn the body fat. You’ll only store it. Your body will save it for a time when there is nothing to eat.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Fasting’s most obvious benefit is weight loss. However, there are more benefits beyond the obvious, many of which were widely known in ancient times.
The fasting periods were often called ‘cleanses’, ‘detoxifications’, or ‘purifications’, but the idea is the same – to abstain from eating food for a certain period of time. People imagined that this period of abstinence from food would clear their bodies’ systems of toxins and rejuvenate them, and now e know they were right.
Some of the physical benefits of fasting include: Improved mental clarity and concentration, Weight and body fat loss, Lowered blood insulin and sugar levels, Reversal of type 2 diabetes, Increased energy, Improved fat burning, Increased growth hormone, Lowered blood cholesterol, potentially Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, potentially a Longer life, potentially Activation of cellular cleansing by stimulating autophagy (a discovery that was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in medicine), Reduction of inflammation and possibly more.
Different Types of Intermittent Fasting
Short Term Fast
You can fast for as long or short as you like, but here are the most popular regimens. Generally, shorter fasts are done more frequently.
16:8 | This way of doing intermittent fasting involves daily fasting for 16 hours. Sometimes this is also referred to as an 8-hour eating ‘window’. You eat all your meals within an 8-hour time period and fast for the remaining 16 hours. Generally, this is done daily or almost daily.
20:4 | This way of doing intermittent fasting involves fasting for 20-hours and eating for a 4-hour window. Generally, this would involve eating either one meal or two smaller meals within this period
Long Term Fast
24-hour fasts | This way of doing intermittent fasting involves fasting from dinner to dinner (or lunch to lunch). If you eat dinner on day 1, you would skip the next day’s breakfast and lunch and eat dinner again on day 2. This means that you are still eating daily, but only once during that day. This would generally be done two to three times per week.
5:2 fast | Dr. Michael Mosley popularized this variation of intermittent fasting in his book ‘The Fast Diet’. This involves 5 regular eating days and 2 fasting days. However, on these two fasting days, it is permitted to eat 500 calories on each day. These calories can be consumed at any time during the day – either spread throughout the day, or as a single meal.
36-hour fasts | This involves fasting for the entire day. For example, if you eat dinner on day 1, you would fast for all of day 2 and not eat again until breakfast on day 3. This is generally 36 hours of fasting. This provides more powerful weight loss benefit. The other great benefit is that it avoids the temptation to overeat dinner on day 2.
Extended fasting | You can fast almost indefinitely. Generally for fasts greater than 48 hours, we recommend a general multivitamin to avoid micronutrient deficiency.
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