Why everyone is crazy about fasting: they tried it themselves and asked nutritionists how it works
Mmy name is Natasha. I am 34, and all my life I suffered from a bad weight. There could be a shocking story that I am not gaining mass at all, although I eat tons of buns and wear three pairs of tights to make my legs seem fuller, but it will not be. I, like everyone else, get heavier with a surplus of calories, and uncontrolled eating of buns can not painlessly go away for my buttocks. The trick is that it happens a little slower than most. Too much has been written about intermittent fasting lately. And I decided to try not to lose weight, but to share my experience. Here’s what happened.
What is fasting
Another name is intermittent fasting. This is a type of food in which you do not eat at all for a certain long period of time. The classic version: 16 hours you spend without food, and 8 hours you eat as usual. For example, you can eat from 11 am to 7 pm, or from 10 am to 6 pm, choosing any convenient and comfortable option. One meal should be skipped. There are other options, two-day fasting once a week or 20-hour, daily fasting, in any case – the mechanism is the same, you just have a choice to choose what will be convenient and comfortable for you.
Important: you eat according to your appetite, food of the correct composition, and in the windows of hunger you drink water or tea without sugar and other additives (black coffee). The window of hunger does not imply an increase in insulin, so all drinks are sugar-free. The same rule applies to honey, syrups, berries and fruit pieces. Herbal, green and black teas are allowed. Only black coffee (no milk). Sweeteners are also not allowed.
Intermittent fasting has become very popular over the past few years. And all because its effectiveness has been proven by nutritionists and numerous studies. And if earlier fractional nutrition was fashionable, today it is recommended only to athletes – frequent snacks can provoke the development of insulin resistance. And even skipping breakfast in the absence of problems with the gastrointestinal tract and other contraindications is a very useful practice. At least that’s what the intermittent fasting advocates claim. And, looking ahead, I will say that I share their policy.
The essence of intermittent fasting is simple: eat whatever your heart desires for 8 hours, keep your mouth shut for 16 hours. This allows the body not only to deal with adipose tissue, but also to start the process of self-healing. You can starve in the morning or in the evening – everyone chooses for himself when it is easier for him to endure the lack of food.
I chose life without breakfast. I noticed for a long time that if I have breakfast, by 12 noon, a wolfish appetite wakes up.
But if I skip the first meal, a pleasant feeling of hunger will appear by dinner – without tremors and the desire to eat at least something. But, succumbing to the mania for healthy eating, I did not listen to my body, but obediently stuffed breakfast into myself, which did not fit.
And now about what fasting is for – this is how “fashionable” is called intermittent fasting.
Studies have shown and proved: after a 16-hour hunger in the body, the process of autophagy starts, for the description of which four years ago the molecular biologist from Japan Yoshinori Osumi received the Nobel Prize. The scientist is sure that such a nutritional system is an excellent prevention of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other “misfortunes”. And also – a way of self-rejuvenation and self-healing of the body.
I practice intermittent fasting for a month. I don’t do this every day – 4 times a week. My morning starts with a cup of coffee and two glasses of water. The first meal is at 13.00, the last is at 21.00. At 8 o’clock, when it is allowed to eat, I do not pounce on everything, observing the canons of proper nutrition: a lot of fiber, a lot of water, complex carbohydrates + easily digestible protein.
I would like to note that the 16-hour hunger is not a reason to eat everything. Such a food system is easy for me – I do not like breakfast. So the lack of a morning meal was not a tragedy.
And now about the results: my skin has become much cleaner – small rashes and post-acne traces are gone, hair has stopped falling out, the constant desire to rest has disappeared, and my nails began to grow better. Skeptics might say this is a coincidence. I’m sure this is not an accident, and I will continue intermittent fasting.
– Yes, in 2016 Osumi did receive the Nobel Prize for his study of the mechanism of autophagy. Taking nutritional yeast as an example: during starvation, cells “eat” themselves and get rid of their own contents, which means they are renewed. For some reason, people transferred the behavior of yeast to themselves.
It was after this news that intermittent fasting, or the so-called intermittent fasting, began to gain immense popularity. In our everyday life, this term has appeared recently, although something similar has existed for a long time. Just remember the system “minus 60”, when after 18:00 and until the morning it is forbidden to eat at all. Why isn’t intermittent fasting for you?
I am very skeptical about conducting experiments on humans, which were carried out on mice (and even more so on yeast). What works well in animals does not necessarily work well in humans.
In July 2017, a study was published in the journal JAMA comparing groups of people: one group was fasting, the other was on a low calorie restriction. Surprisingly, at the end of 12 months, both groups lost about the same. At the same time, what happened to these people further – we do not know. But, as practice shows, those who are starving gain weight again.
To talk about the long-term effectiveness of intermittent fasting, it is necessary to wait for new large studies in humans, and then it will be possible to draw some conclusions.
As far as safety is concerned, any dietary restriction must be agreed with a physician. No established international nutritional community recommends fasting as a weight loss method. Fasting has certain contraindications: pregnant and lactating women, children with diabetes cannot use this system on themselves. Therefore, if you still crave to try fasting on yourself, do not be too lazy to consult with your doctor, especially if you have any chronic diseases.
– The disadvantages of intermittent fasting for me personally are: the need to look at the clock, planning an evening meal. For example, I feel comfortable finishing the last meal at 17 o’clock, and at 9 o’clock in the morning already have breakfast, without shifting breakfast to a later time. But with a frantic pace of life, it is not always possible to eat at this time, or, having lunch at 15 o’clock, at 17 you still do not feel hungry. Therefore, it is very important to listen to yourself and not try to follow the principles at all costs. If you feel severe hunger – such that you will not fall asleep, then it would be optimal to have a light dinner so as not to suffer. For dinner, an omelet with salad or a slice of fish with vegetables is preferable, carbohydrates are excluded.
Another disadvantage of IS: people with eating disorders often cannot contain themselves and begin to “thresh everything that is not nailed” in the eight-hour food window.
I think that this nutritional strategy is suitable for little ones who, in principle, do not really like to eat and are ready to take long breaks, just not to bother themselves with thoughts of where to eat and what. Also, if you have leptin resistance in combination with iron deficiency anemia, then it may turn out that in between meals you will feel weak and fatigued, even dizzy. In this case, my advice would be to first compensate for the iron deficiency, snack on time (according to your meal plan), and then try intermittent fasting again.