After the festive season is over, the gained weight might become a problem. After all, it is necessary to look presentable and for that, following a diet is probably the best option. Usually, people go on a “strict diet” that is difficult to manage and follow. As there are more chances that many people fail to do this and instead of losing weight it results in gaining more weight than before.
One popular strategy for weight loss is by restricting the daily caloric intake. This concept has become successful in routine life, but it is problematic and may not follow for a long time.
The most popular weight loss diet in the last few years is the Intermittent fasting (IF). It is a form of time-restricted eating. During the whole day, it extends the time in which you do not eat anything. For example, not to take breakfast immediately after awakening, this delays the time of fasting that naturally occurs while sleeping.
IF means to eat only for a defined period during the whole day. During the fasting, the person can drink water and take tea and black coffee. The main goal is to eat at a moderate level without restricted the specific food groups.
Variation of this theme including the 5:2 approach. This means a person has to eat normally during the 5 days but on alternate 2 days only take 500-600 calories. This is called alternate day fasting (ADF).
With IF becoming more popular, it’s important that physicians and other healthcare professionals be aware of the principles and science behind the diet in order to have a rational discussion with their patients. The health care professionals and physicians must know its principles and science behind this, as IF becomes popular.
Mark Mattson who is a neuroscientist at John’s Hopkins School of Medicine discuss nuances related to IF in research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. He also explains the reason why he adopted the IF approach 20 years ago.
It was the time when Mattson embarked on research into a topic itself. 35-40 years ago, he used this method to reduce the symptoms that are linked to acid reflux. He found that after awaking when he took breakfast the symptoms of acidity worsen.
He further explained that it was the time of graduation when I started to quit breakfast and felt no acid reflux since then I did not take any breakfast.
This concept has shaped his research and it has many benefits related to metabolism, management, and weight loss.
This approach is very helpful in managing diabetes. The patients who are diabetics and prediabetics adopt this approach as it gives them many benefits. Also helpful for patients with cardiovascular disease, cancers, and various neurologic ailments.
It may help in reducing the weight as the person take fewer calories. Most importantly it regulates the blood glucose level by lowering the insulin level, lowers the heart rate and reduces the blood pressure. It may reduce the conditions that are related to overweight i.e. high cholesterol level, and fatty liver due to alcohol intake.
IF is facilitated by the concept known as “metabolic switching”. According to Mattson, it is a mechanism that maintains the homeostasis in humans. Over thousands of years ago, It was the best mechanism for the homo sapiens to maintain the body state at normal when the food was scarce. The metabolic switching means that body cells convert the excess glucose in the fatty acid when we eat and use it as ketone bodies during the starvation. This mechanism reduces the inflammation in the body through the adaptive pathways at the cellular level.
As Mattson explains, glucose is the normal fuel our bodies rely on during the “fed” state. When we eat, excess glucose beyond immediate caloric expenditures is stored as a compound known as glycogen in the liver for a quick burst of energy, but excess as fats (triglycerides). Triglycerides or fat is broken down into compounds known as “free fatty acids” (FFA) along with glycerol. Further metabolism of FFA by the body produces compounds known as “ketone bodies” which are used by the brain, heart, and other organs during periods when glucose is not immediately available.
There are many factors that influence the adoption of IF such as lifestyle, age, working hours, medical history and personal factors and sex.
According to Minisha Sood, adopting intermittent fasting (IF) is easy to stick as compared to the calorie’s restriction diet. As both concepts are equally effective for weight loss. So, it’s easy to follow the intermittent fasting for once lifestyle.
Some people may feel increased hunger at the end of the day, and it may resolve with time and many people adjust this problem. But sometimes people don’t adjust to hunger level and experience headache, fatigue during the fasting period so it is suggested to adopt the other way for weight loss.
With the studies, it was proved that many cancer cells die because they use glucose for the growth and when it is not available the cancerous cell do not proliferate.
The IF may improve the neurological functions, positive effects n verbal language and work memory and cognition mostly in older people. Multiple sclerosis may also be benefited from this concept.
Summing up all this, according to Mattson, breakfast is the least likely meal from an evolutionary perspective. He explained that no ready-made breakfast was available after awaking until the agricultural revolution. So, people did not take breakfast over ten thousand years ago. The humans needed to prepare their food by themselves which somehow prolonged their fasting habits. They never knew that one day this same approach would be used to lose weight and prevent certain chronic conditions. All this suggests intermittent fasting (IF) to be an ancient technique proven by the latest research for weight loss and medical benefits.