Some creative contemporary dieticians offer a solution for those who find the idea of autophagy (‘self-eating’) a bit crazy.
Intermittent fasting improves metabolism, lowers blood sugar and lessens inflammation, which prevents many health problems, ranging from arthritis pain to asthma. It also helps the body to detoxify and triggers stem cell regeneration, which lowers the risk of developing cancer and improves brain functioning. In addition, intermittent fasting reduces free radicals responsible for degenerative processes related to ageing. Naturally, it also helps to reduce body weight and maintain weight loss.
Who should and who shouldn’t fast? This isn’t a solution for breastfeeding mothers, people who engage in intensive training, diabetics who take insulin, people with thyroid disorders, and – attention! – those with sleep problems.
Since there are a few intermittent fasting patterns, selecting the one that best suits our individual predispositions shouldn’t be a problem. The first option is to eat only during eight hours and fast for the rest of the day. During the eight-hour eating window, one should eat three meals and two snacks. In practice, this means having dinner before 8pm and fasting until 12pm the following day. These are the most popular hours, but we could also stop eating at 6pm and resume at 10am.
The second option – 20:4 – is slightly more demanding, as it involves a four-hour window and a 20-hour fast. This eating pattern is sometimes referred to as ‘the warrior diet’, since it’s inspired by the ancient hunters and warriors who would spend an entire day in battle or afield, and eat only once: after returning to camp. Today, the best idea is to schedule an eating window between lunch and supper and get two meals, one of which has to be warm.
Another option – 5:2 – means that for five out of seven days we follow a healthy and balanced diet; the most effective one is the Mediterranean diet. During the next two days, we have to restrict calories to 600 by switching to a juice diet, for example. These could be two non-consecutive days, like Monday and Thursday, let’s say.
The last option, at least for now, is 6:1. We eat healthily for six days, and then fast for an entire day – from one dinner to another, or as we wish.
Enthusiasts of this eating pattern argue that our body is basically programmed for fasting. Hunger triggers regeneration and restoration processes, while being constantly full inhibits them. The best idea, however, is to see for ourselves how it really works.
Translated from the Polish by Joanna Mąkowska
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