Intermittent fasting – what is it?

In the context of the current rules of healthy eating, especially in relation to the fitness ideas and bodybuilding dogmas, the concept, which assumes introducing temporary starvation seems quite exotic. Whereas, the interest in nutrition strategies clasified as intermittent fasting is rising systematically, and the practice shows that their potential aimed at improving body aesthetics is intriguing. In this article, I will try to answer the question of who may benefit from using intermittent fasting.

You should know this

This work is aimed at people who have already had the opportunity of getting to know the strategy of intermittent fasting and are looking for practical information about it. If you havent heard of intermittent fasting so far, and this is your first meeting with this dietetic concept, or you would like to learn more than you know now, you should read the following article:

Intermittent fasting and dispelling myths - introduction to IF with potential benefits and traps, presented in relation to the current nutrition trends and stereotypes, which I wrote for afterworkout.com.

 

Who is intermittent fasting good for?

The available professional literature indicates, that introducing modified fasting (ADMF) may be advantageous in case of people coping with obesity or overweight, by influencing on decreasing the excessive body mass, as well as by regulating the lipid economy, which may be noticed in the beneficial changes of the levels of triglycerides and lipoproteins with low density. The reviews and articles, which are published on the Internet forums and some blogs indicate that using such versions of IF, like leangains is perfect also in case of people who don't want to only get rid of excessive body mass, but also shape up and reach very low level of body fat. Therefore, the potential of this nutrition concept is quite wide, although, it doesn't mean that it's appropriate in each case.

Can I benefit from it, too?

The truth is, that it's hard to give a simple answer for the question of who may be most beneficial from introducing intermittent fasting. Theoretically, if you are a healthy adult, you may start an experiment with this nutrition concept, especially that there are many versions, out of which some assume using more than ten hours of starvation a day, and others assume total or partial fasting only on particular days. It's important to get to know the rules, on which IF is based, without being too optimistic, just like some people are on the forums and blogs. Intermittent fasting may really influence in a positive way some parameters, which are crucial in the context of the work on the body aesthetics, however, it's not the Holy Graal of dietetics, which would be able to break your physiological limits.

A diet for the outsider

When making dietetic choices, the psychological aspects are very important. The truth is, that many people feel the inner need of being an outsider, and the IF concept overtrows the nutrition stereotypes. This fact may be an additional factor, which motivates to action and to sustain the assumptions of diet, because acting “against the right rules”, which is accompanied by the wanted effects in a form of improved body aesthetics, gets them high. It is even more important, because the issue of the necessity of eating five or six meals a day in the even periods of time may be frustrating and it makes it hard to realise the assumptions of the conventional diet. In this context, intermittent fasting, which enables not eating for many hours and then eating until the feeling of satiety, is simply attractive.

Who will not benefit from temporary starvation?

Most of all, people having large physical effort should stay cautious when it comes to intermittent fasting. The contraindication may be doing two workouts a day, as well as additional physical work, or insufficient amount of sleep. Similarly, the individuals with very fast metabolism may not feel major advantages of introducing IF in their lives. Although the concept of IF is quite flexible in its assumptions and there are many possibilities of its modifications and adjustments to various types of activities and the level of proficiency, in the sports disciplines, in which body mass and composition, as well as effort abilities are important, introducing IF will rather not foster optimizing the results. However, it's possible to introduce intermittent fasting in such situation, too, like in case of the Muslim sports people, who are ablo to train intensively and achieve success during the Ramadan.

Absolute contraindications

The contraindications to introducing intermittent fasting are nutrition disorders, such as bulimia, anorexia, the night eating syndrome, or compulsive eating. The same situation concerns the diabetics, who take insulin, or people suffering from the kidney, liver, pancrease, or thyroid diseases, because there isn't enough research, which would confirm the safety of such nutrition practices in case of such ailments. At the same time, there are indications that it would be dangerous to inroduce such method. Very young people (children and youths) and elderly people also mustn't use diets based on the concept of IF. The nutrition models of such type are also not for women during pregnancy and lactation.

Intermittent fasting is not...

It's good to realize, that intermittent fasting is not a procedure, which would compensate the adverse consequences of overeating low-quality foodstuffs. As it is not a concept based on the method of “eat wahtever you want and lose weight”, even though, it is often presented like this for the marketing purposes. You should remember, that intermittent fasting doesn't have to be and optimal solution for the disorganized and undisciplined ones. Refusing food for more than ten hours requires engagements and self-discipline, especially at the beginning.

Conclusions

Nutrition models based on the concept of intermittent fasting are an interesting alternative for the conventional dietetic procedures, especially in case of people, who are looking for efficient methods supporting the reduction of fatty tissue, and don't like the strict five-meal model of eating. However, you should remember, that it's not an option for everybody and that some contraindications may be caused by health, others by current training priorities and physical effort, or just by the character of work.