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Health, they say, is wealth. It is a state of physical and mental well being. The struggle to preserve health is one of man’s daily struggles. It begins the moment a child is born and continues until death. It involves the consumption of good food and water, the maintenance of good hygiene and of course, intermittent fasting which is our topic for today.
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Intermittent fasting is a metabolic health intervention that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. Practitioners eat and fast within a certain period. But what to eat and what to avoid is left to the practitioner’s discretion. Intermittent fasting is effective because it allows practitioners to slowly burn the glucose stored in their liver. The liver holds about 700 calories of glucose and it takes 10 to 12 hours to use up the liver’s energy store. When we eat three meals a day, the body is unable to use up the liver’s energy store. But when we fast, the body starts using the glucose stored in the liver. If it exhausts it, fats are then used for energy in a process called metabolic switching. This metabolic switch is the biological basis for intermittent fasting. I’m sure this information has piqued your curiosity. So, relax and let me tell you seven things you should know about this practice.

Intermittent fasting is an old human tradition

Human history is replete with examples of people engaging in fasting. The hunter-gatherers in ancient times practised intermittent fasting because food was scarce and they didn’t necessarily know the next time they would eat. There are spiritual bases for fasting as well. Christians fast during Lent and Moslems during the month of Ramadan.

There are three popular methods of intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting can be practised in different ways all of which involve splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods. But the three most popular methods of intermittent fasting are the Leangains protocol, the Eat-Stop-Eat method and the 5.2 Diet. The Leangains protocol involves skipping breakfast, restricting your daily eating periods to 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours in between. The Eat-Stop-Eat method involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week while the 5.2 Diet involves eating only five or six hundred calories on 2 non-consecutive days of the week and eating normally the other 5 days.
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Intermittent fasting is a great tool for weight loss

Weight loss is one of the many reasons why people practise intermittent fasting. It’s pretty effective too, especially if it’s combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle. The fasting changes hormone levels to facilitate weight loss. It also leads to an automatic reduction in calorie intake. According to a 2014 study, this eating pattern can cause 3-8% weight loss over 3 to 24 weeks. However, if you eat large amounts of food during your eating periods, you may not lose any weight at all.

It can help promote heart health

Four major risks for heart disease are high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and weight. If these are reduced, the risks of heart disease are reduced. Research has shown that regular fasting can reduce bad cholesterol and improve the way your body metabolizes sugar. This may be because those who fast routinely show greater self-control over their calorie intake; this will invariably manifest in weight control and better eating choices even when they are not fasting.

It can improve your brain health

Intermittent fasting can help you grow new nerve cells. These can help with brain ageing, brain damage from stroke and epilepsy. It may even protect against neurodegeneration from Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

Intermittent fasting is not for everyone

This eating pattern is not for everyone. If you are underweight, diabetic or if you have a history of eating disorder, please consult a physician before adopting this practice. Those who have fertility issues and those who are trying to conceive should hold off on intermittent fasting. It’s also a bad idea for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

It makes it easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle

Eating healthy is simple but maintaining it is difficult. Intermittent fasting is not like other eating patterns which require constant effort to plan and cook healthy meals. It simplifies things because it involves planning, cooking, and eating fewer meals. One can, therefore, deduce that its popularity stands from the fact that it improves your health while simplifying your life. In conclusion, intermittent fasting is not magic. Don’t expect results overnight. If you want it to work, just eat healthy, exercise and be consistent.   Sources: Web M.D. Healthline Life Apps Mayo Clinic   Featured Image Source: Harvard Health
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This article was first published on 22nd July 2020


Udevi, Obiamaka Angela holds a Master of Arts degree in History & International Studies. She's a freelance writer with a passion for food and healthy living. She can be contacted through her email address,

Comments (2)

2 thoughts on “7 Things You Should Know About Intermittent Fasting”

  • This piece is such an eye opener. I’m determined to adopt this lifestyle….. Thanks for sharing @ObiUdevi.

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