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Weight Loss: What is Intermittent Fasting? How does one do it? And, is it Safe?

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Intermittent Fasting is a weight loss diet that has become the fad of the generation. Also known as IF,  Intermittent Fasting is not a diet at all, as in, it doesn’t focus on what you are eating, it focuses on when you are eating. It creates eating patterns that alternate between the eating cycle and fasting cycles.

The focus of this diet is to restrict your eating to a few hours of the day. We already have a habit of fasting when we are sleeping at night. It is why the first day of the meal is called breakfast, to break the fast of the entire night. What intermittent fasting does is simply extend that fasting window for a longer duration. 

Dr Rupali Datta, a clinical nutritionist and a member of the Indian Dietetic Association, says that “a lot of scientific evidence exists that support the efficacy ( of intermittent fasting), both in terms of achieving early weight loss and sustained weight-loss. When intermittent fasting is planned properly, there are no chances of getting a nutritional deficiency neither will it create a problem with your metabolism.”

Types Of Intermittent Fasting

There are several methods of intermittent fasting. We are about to share the easiest, most popular and practical method. The focus of this method is to fast for 16-hours a day and eat only in an 8-hour window. The scheduling of these windows is up to you to decide. You will tend to skip one meal practising this method. You can either have breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner in a day. 

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You can exercise with intermittent fasting. 

There are other forms of intermittent fasting that are less popular than 16/8 method. The 5:2 method means you eat properly for 5 days of the week. The rest of the 2 days, you restrict your calories to 500-600. Eat stop eat is a fasting program  where you fast once or twice for 24 hours. Alternate-Day Fasting focuses on fasting every alternate day.

During this fasting period, no food can be consumed. You can only drink water, coffee and tea during this time. Eating anything or drinking any caloric beverages will break your fast and the weight loss would be effective. 

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Is Intermittent Fasting Safe?

Intermittent fasting is safe for most people to practice. People popularly use this diet as a method to lose weight and people may see successful results. The added benefit of this diet is that it may help reduce insulin resistance and lower the risk of type-2 diabetes. Dr Rupali adds that ” intermittent fasting has been proven in being effective in controlling excessive insulin in the blood”. It may be beneficial for heart health as it may improve blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. However, it doesn’t mean this method can work for all body types and therefore it doesn’t guarantee weight loss.

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You can eat all types of food. 

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Side Effects Of Intermittent Fasting

And, like most diets, even Intermittent fasting has its side effects. You are more likely to experience increased hunger because of the long periods of fasting. Headaches may be experienced in the first few days of practising intermittent fasting. The hunger might affect your mood and make you more irritable. These are some cons of this eating pattern.

Every diet has its benefits and side effects and it doesn’t mean that every diet may work out for us. Therefore, it is very important to understand our body’s needs and keep in mind that the priority is to have a healthy body!

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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