When it comes to weight loss and health, the latest trend is all about intermittent fasting. But intermittent fasting can be accomplished in multiple ways. For instance, some intermittent fasting plans allow you to eat 500 calories on your fasting days, while others dictate you can only eat between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. No matter which intermittent fasting plan you choose, it can be surprisingly good for you. Need more convincing? Here are five reasons to try intermittent fasting:
1. It increases fat burn
Research shows that if you go without food for more than six hours at a time, your body begins to burn fat. In fact, people who fast three-to-four times a week tend to lose 90 percent or more of fat from their thighs and hips -- this is 15 percent higher than if you were just to follow a traditional diet plan for weight loss.
2. You don’t lose muscle
Anytime you diet and lose weight, you lose both fat and muscle in the process. But with intermittent fasting, you lose less muscle compared to traditional dieting. This is super important because, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will run. The result? It’s easier to keep the weight off.
3. It protects you from diabetes
Intermittent fasting increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin, which is the hormone that regulates blood sugar. This gives you extra protection against diabetes.
4. You lose belly fat
Research shows that people who follow an intermittent fasting plan for two months tend to lose an average of three inches from around their waist, regardless of whether they eat low-fat or high-fat foods.
5. It protects your heart and brain
Intermittent fasting has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. It has also been shown to protect brain cells from routine damage.
So how do you intermittently fast anyway?
While there are tons of different intermittent fasting plans to choose from, the two main ones are 24-hour fasts and 16/8 hour fasts. With the 24-hour intermittent fasts, you’re not allowed to eat food for two non-consecutive 24-hour periods each week. For example, that means you might not eat anytime for 24 hours on Tuesdays and Fridays. However, the 16/8 intermittent fasting plan just requires you to shorten the period in which you eat food to eight hours. The rest of the 16 hours you’re not allowed to eat food. So you might decide to eat food between 12 pm and 8 pm or 10 am and 6 pm.
Remember that for intermittent fasting to be successful, you need to maintain a calorie deficit, exhibit self-control, and be consistent.