Benefits and myths of intermittent fasting

Do you know the benefits and myths of intermittent fasting? This practice has gained a lot of popularity and presence in recent years. In this article we will clarify what it consists of, what are its real benefits and the myths surrounding its realization.

A lot of the eating behaviors that we have today they depend to a great extent on psychological, sociocultural and educational factors. Fasting is not something new, in the end it takes us accompanying our whole existence as a species.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting refers to a practice that suggests alternating the fasting period to obtain a series of health benefits.

Intermittent fasting is not a diet. Intermittent fasting it consists in alternating periods of fasting with periods of food ingestion. There are different types of intermittent fasting, the best known being fasting 16/8, fasting 24 and fasting 48, although there are others such as 12/12.

The fast 16/8

The fast 16/8 consists of fasting periods of 16 hours, followed by periods of feeding for 8 hours.

That is, if for example we had the first meal at 2:00 p.m., we would make the intake of all our kilocalories between 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., for 8 hours, making two unique meals during the day. And the next day we would eat again after 16 hours from the last meal, that is, at 2:00 pm again.

Fasting 24 and 48

On the other hand, the 24-hour fast and the 48-hour fast they are based on fasting periods of 24 hours and 48 hours respectively. Some may think that by doing this we will have problems with hypoglycemia, lack of energy or something like that. But, nothing is further from reality, our body can adapt perfectly to this.

The fast 12/12

The fast 12/12 It would be the equivalent of a breakfast and a dinner, between them 12 hours apart. For example, breakfast at 8:00 a.m. and dinner at 8:00 p.m. They are different strategies, all of them valid.

Read also: Diets with better results

Benefits of intermittent fasting

It is said that intermittent fasting has multiple benefits for our body, among them we can find some such as the following:

  • It can help reduce mortality and delay aging, both physically and at the level of our body.
  • Reduce inflammation indicators.
  • It could help improve our lipid profile, that is, our cholesterol, in addition to reducing triglycerides.
  • They have positive effects on our neuronal plasticity.
  • They even help limit the growth of cancer cells.
  • As far as body composition is concerned, help to retain lean mass while losing fat.
  • They also help improve insulin sensitivity and improve the use of glucose as an energy substrate.
  • It improves the capacity for self-control: in many occasions we think that we are hungry, but it is not a real hunger, it is a rather false hunger, so if we are able to "overcome" it, we will improve our capacity for self-control.

Myths of intermittent fasting

There are a number of myths about intermittent fasting. One of the most common is that it leads to muscle loss.

What happens when you do not eat for 24 hours? the arguments against fasting are typical. Here we reveal 3 myths of intermittent fasting that are far from reality.

Myth 1: you burn muscle

When your body has consumed all the amino acids in blood and stored glycogen, start using protein reserves, your muscles, to convert them into glucose (via gluconeogenesis). You must avoid this process, but fortunately it does not happen in the first 24 hours of fasting.

A study on intermittent fasting in obese adults finds that it is effective for weight loss, even increasing muscle mass.

Myth 2: sugar goes down

The body is designed to maintain the proper level of blood glucose. When you eat, you produce insulin to store excess glucose. When you fast, you produce glucagon to release stored glucose. Eating frequently to control blood glucose externally is not necessary.

In fact, in people with Insulin resistance, intermittent fasting helps to regain sensitivity to a greater extent than the classic restriction of calories.

You may be interested in reading: Does fasting serve to heal?

Myth 3: you will gain weight

Simply absurd. Multiple studies show that intermittent fasting helps to lose fat, better in general than classic hypocaloric diets. Recent reviews already recognize it as an effective strategy to lose weight.

The justification of some is that by skipping a meal hunger will accumulate and you will eat twice as much in the next meal, but we know that does not happen.

Finally, we remind you that intermittent fasting is suitable for everyone. But nevertheless, There will be cases in particular that need advice. It is always important to consult with the doctor before starting any regimen.