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  Intermittent fasting is a way of eating where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It has gained popularity in recent years due to its potential health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at what intermittent fasting is, its advantages, and the challenges it may present.
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Intermittent fasting involves alternating between periods of eating and fasting. There are several different methods of intermittent fasting, but some of the most common ones include:
  • 16/8 Method

This method involves fasting for 16 hours each day and restricting your eating to an 8-hour window. For example, you might eat between 12:00 pm and 8:00 pm and fast for the remaining 16 hours.
  • 5:2 Diet

With this approach, you eat normally for five days of the week and restrict your calorie intake to 500-600 calories on the remaining two days.
  • Alternate-Day Fasting

As the name suggests, alternate-day fasting involves fasting every other day, with some variations allowing for limited calorie intake on fasting days.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

  • Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting can help with weight loss by reducing calorie intake and increasing metabolism. During the fasting period, the body taps into stored fat for energy, leading to fat loss over time.
  • Improved Blood Sugar Control
Some studies suggest that it may help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing it.
  • Brain Health
Intermittent fasting has been linked to improved brain function and may help protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
  • Heart Health
Research indicates that it may lower risk factors for heart disease, such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and inflammation.
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  • Longevity
While more research is needed, some animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting could extend lifespan by promoting cellular repair and reducing oxidative stress.

Challenges of Intermittent Fasting

  • Hunger and Cravings
Fasting periods can be challenging, especially in the beginning, as your body adjusts to the new eating schedule. You may experience hunger, cravings, and irritability during fasting periods.
  • Social Impact
Intermittent fasting can affect social interactions, especially during meal times or social gatherings. It may require planning and flexibility to accommodate fasting periods while still participating in social activities.
  • Potential Nutrient Deficiencies
If not done properly, it can lead to nutrient deficiencies due to reduced food intake. It’s important to focus on nutrient-dense foods during eating windows and consider supplementation if needed.
  • Not Suitable for Everyone
Intermittent fasting may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with certain medical conditions, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and individuals with a history of eating disorders. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any fasting regimen.
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Final Thoughts

Intermittent fasting can offer several health benefits, including weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and enhanced brain health. However, it’s essential to be aware of the challenges it may present, such as hunger, social impact, and potential nutrient deficiencies. By understanding both the pros and cons, you can determine if intermittent fasting is right for you and approach it safely and sustainably.
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This article was first published on 18th April 2024


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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