When it comes to a healthy lifestyle there are many methods or trends that may be attractive. The truth is that not all of them work for all bodies or for all lifestyles. A question that I am often asked on social media is about intermittent fasting, if I practice it, my opinion about this method, and its pros and cons.
Let’s start with the basics: What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is nothing more than an eating methodology to structure your meals in blocks of hours a day, which is known as a feeding window. Intermittent fasting significantly reduces the frequency of daily meals and therefore, your caloric intake also decreases considerably. This is why many associate it with a “diet” to lose weight, but the truth is that intermittent fasting is not a diet and has very powerful benefits if you know how to do it correctly.
- Promotes autophagy, the body activates internal recycling mechanisms. A process that constantly renews our cells, preventing the accumulation of waste products and components that our body no longer needs.
- It slows down cell aging. In fact, eating less food per day has been linked to an age-reversing effect and increased longevity.
- -Improves body composition, facilitates fat burning without counting calories. Less time to eat during the day, less caloric intake, which promotes weight loss.
Types of fasting:
There are different protocols when practicing intermittent fasting, according to Women’s Health magazine these are the most applied:
- 16/8 – Sixteen hours of fasting and 8 hours of feeding. It is simpler for organizational reasons: having dinner early and extending the first meal of the day would be sufficient.
- 20/4 – Twenty hours of fasting and 4 hours of feeding. You can have one or two meals.
- 12/12 – The 12/12 fasting is the most recommended option for those who want to start intermittent fasting. It is based on fasting 12 hours each day. For example, have dinner at 9 pm and have breakfast (break the fast) at 9 am.
- Alternate day fasting or 5:2 -It consists of eating normally 5 days a week and fasting the other two days.
Who does intermittent fasting work for? My opinion
Intermittent fasting can be beneficial in decreasing inflammation and improving diseases that cause problems such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, stroke, multiple sclerosis. Even in patients diagnosed with cancer, intermittent fasting is recommended. This is because cancer cells feed on glucose and if the patient performs intermittent fasting, the amount of glucose in the body decreases, which weakens cancer.
However, beyond the power of fasting in certain neurological or degenerative diseases. Everyone has heard and been carried away by the weight loss benefits it can bring. Intermittent fasting is closely linked to your lifestyle, it is not for everyone. In fact, in general, men tolerate it much better than women because of their hormonal sensitivity.
In the case of athletes or people, as in my case, who lead a fitness lifestyle and a lot of activity, this is not a method of feeding that favors our performance. Food is the main source of energy, and for exercise, it is key to have caloric and nutritional intake according to our training hours.
I apply this method once to twice a week on my full rest days, active rest, or very low-intensity workouts. However, when I am training, running, or preparing for a sporting event I cannot apply it and would not recommend it. As I always tell you, everybody is different and there is no single magic formula. You have to listen to your body and give it what it needs to be healthy!
Find more health advice and tips in my blog.