INTENTIONAL fasting (IF) is one of the most popular types of weight-loss diets today.
A diet similar to fasting for several hours has a variety of benefits including weight loss, preventing diabetes, and reducing the risk of cancer.
Many people who started practicing IF said it helped them enjoy their food more and understand the difference between hunger and craving.
However, this type of diet is not suitable for everyone especially pregnant women and those with eating disorders.
This is because there are some side effects for those practicing this type of diet.
Those who are just getting used to IF, may experience hypoglycemic or a condition in which blood sugar levels are very low.
It can also cause a person to experience headaches, increased heart rate, dizziness, and nausea.
“When you don’t eat, the body burns glycogen (stored glucose) in the liver and muscles, then starts burning fat,” says nutritionist Frances Largeman-Roth.
However, this condition only occurs at an early stage and after that, the body will begin to adapt.
- Reduce cravings
Frances said those who practice this diet are able to maintain a better blood sugar balance because IF forces a person to stop eating at certain times.
IF also increases satiety through the production of appetite-reducing hormones. A 2019 study also found that this diet can help lower levels of ghrelin – a hormone that stimulates hunger, especially in obese individuals.
It also increases a person’s ability to burn carbohydrates and fat to convert into energy.
- Increase insulin sensitivity
A 2018 study found that men with prediabetes who followed IF improved their insulin sensitivity while managing blood sugar better.
This is because every time you eat, the body releases the hormone insulin to transfer sugar from the bloodstream to the cells in the body to be converted into energy.
However, diabetics who depend on insulin injections should seek medical advice before adopting this diet as it can affect the effectiveness of the drug.
- IF and exercise
Fasting and exercise are not a problem but must be done systematically so as not to lose energy quickly.
Those who undergo IF are advised to do lighter exercise, especially when trying a diet so that the body adjusts. The best time to exercise is at the beginning or end of an IF.