Slim and healthy through intermittent fasting
Right on time for spring, many wish to have a few pounds less. Year after year, good intentions fail because of restrictive dietary rules, hunger pangs, and rather tasteless food. But it can be different, as is proven by a new diet formula. It focuses on eating one’s fill combined with short interruptions – and celebrates great successes.
5:2, 16:8 or rather 1:1? It may sound like soccer league tables but these are the most important options of a diet that has recently become known as intermittent fasting. In plain language these formulas mean: normal food intake for a specific time, interrupted by short periods of fasting. For example: normal eating on five days of a week, then skip for 2 days. Depending on the rhythm of your life and your personality type, one could also choose 8 hours with eating and 16 without, which is rather popular among beginners. One day of eating and one day of fasting is also possible. The background behind all this is the theory that the body accesses fat cell deposits if it must make do without food intake for a specific period of time.
While science still disagrees on which of these methods may be the most productive, the British physician and science journalist Michael Mosley started a self-experiment. His results have now also been published in Germany and have recently become available in the book trade under the title “The Fast Diet”. He personally swears by 5:2 and by using this method lost nine kilograms of weight and 25 percent of body fat within two months.
In practical application this means, for example, five days of normal diet and two days with a maximum of 500 calories for women (men: 600 calories). In general it doesn’t matter whether these calories are consumed in one meal or distributed over several mini-portions. What’s important, however, is that the two days of fasting are not subsequent in order to reduce the risk of hunger cravings on the one hand and to prevent a loss of muscle mass on the other hand. Michael Mosley recommends to always choose the same days, for example Mondays and Thursdays. Alcohol and sugar are taboo on those days, carbohydrates are permitted only to a small extend and only in the most high-quality forms with plenty of fibre. Vegetables, fish, and lean meats are recommended. Packing the calories into only one meal increases the fat burning rate even more and faster results can be seen.
The body becomes accustomed to this change over time. More energy and improved physical well-being is the reward. The average result for women is approximately half a kilo less every week, men can lose a little bit more. However, only if the normal days do not degenerate into feasting orgies but are oriented toward the actual energy requirement.
Intermittent fasting is not only a very gentle way of reducing one’s weight but has many advantages that are beneficial to one’s health. For example, cholesterol, blood lipids, and blood pressure, even blood sugar and inflammatory values can be reduced. The overall organism is relieved, which causes an improvement of the overall condition even among healthy people. Yet obtaining a doctor’s advice when in doubt also applies to this type of diet.