These days it seems that everyone is talking about intermittent fasting and in particular the Fasting Diet. But can it really help you to achieve your perfect weight, or is it just another fad that will quickly be forgotten and replaced by another diet.
Lets have a closer look at the Fasting Diet and its pros and cons before we decide.
What is the Fasting Diet?
The Fasting Diet involves eating a normal diet for a set amount of time followed by a fast where your calorie intake will either be severely limited or stopped altogether.
One of the most popular forms of the Fasting Diet is the 5:2 Diet where you will eat normally 5 days of the week with a fast for the remaining 2.
On the fasting days women are allowed to consume 500 calories with men allowed 600.
When undertaking a fasting diet it is recommended that you limit your intake of both fat and carbohydrates as they can both cause your blood sugar levels to rise.
These blood sugar levels will ultimately fall resulting in food cravings.
Instead of the fat and carbs it is advised that you increase your intake of protein as it is slow to digest, meaning you will stay fuller for longer. But it also helps to keep your energy levels high.
It is best to drink water on your fast days as it contains zero calories and can also help to keep your cravings at bay.
Tea and coffee is allowed but if you like milk in either then you must count this towards your overall calorie intake.
Pros of the Fasting Diet
Let us have a little look at some of he claimed pros of the Fasting Diet:
Pro #1 – Reduced appetite
Although there are many reports from people who have struggled with their cravings while undertaking the Fasting Diet after a while your body will get used to your new eating patterns and will adjust accordingly.
Pro #2: Improve mental focus
Fasting has been shown to help your body produce more catecholamines, which is a natural stimulant that can increase your mental focus and improve your productivity.
Pro #3: Stabilise energy levels
As you are not eating as much your blood sugar levels will no longer so those sharp rises and falls that lead to binge eating.
Pro #4: Burn more fat
Usually your body will burn the glycogen found in the food you consume for energy, however when your food intake is reduced you will be forced to burn off that stored body fat instead.
What are the cons of the Fasting Diet?
Although there are many benefits of fasting there are also some cons that you should be aware of:
Con #1: Increased stress levels
It has been claimed that an extended fast can cause your metabolic rate to slow, which will in turn cause an increase in cortisol production.
Cortisol has been linked with higher levels of stress that can leave you feeling physically and mentally strained.
Con #2: Increased hunger
Even though your body may get used to new eating routine of fewer meals, once you start eating normally again your hunger urges may prove to be uncontrollable.
Con #3: Potential health issues
There are many who have claimed that fasting for an extended period may result in your body not receiving those essential nutrients it needs to be healthy.
Nutrient deficiency can cause the following problems:
The major problem surrounding the Fasting Diet
If your aim is to lose weight then the Fasting Diet can certainly help, that is if you are able to control your eating habits on those days off from fasting.
Those on a Fasting Diet should eat a normal diet, which unfortunately does not include eating junk food full of saturated fat.
To experience the full benefits of fasting then you should avoid eating too much junk, instead your diet should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
You should also ensure you eat plenty of lean protein such as chicken or turkey as it is not only slow to digest, so will keep you full for longer, but it will also help to keep your energy levels high.
Drinking plenty of water and taking a fasting supplement are also good methods that you can use to keep those cravings under control.