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What is Intermittent Fasting? How does it work?

What is Intermittent Fasting? How does it work?

An adequate diet is an essential aspect of the well-being of any person. Whether you have an employment status or are a student, not having an excellent diet will not enable you to be an outstanding professional. One of that ideal eating plans is intermittent fasting. 

Intermittent fasting is not like any other popular diet that you may have experienced. Instead, it is an eating strategy that maintains both your diet’s fasting and eating schedules momentarily. Many studies have shown that this diet is an ideal way to keep your weight and minimize infections.

This article will be giving a complete overview of the intermittent-fasting plan and the findings of the corresponding research.

What is intermittent fasting?

Numerous diets always prioritize the food you eat, but intermittent fasting focuses upon the timings you eat. Therefore, by following intermittent fasting, you eat at a specific time. 

Fasting for a few hours or having just one meal for a few days in a week can enable your body to burn fat. Moreover, scientific researches in this regard have stated that it brings health benefits too.


Mark Mattson, Ph.D., a neuroscientist from John Hopkins, studied in-depth about intermittent fasting for around 25 years. He said that the mechanisms in our bodies had evolved so much in the past few years that our body can resist no food intake for hours, days, or longer. 

Previously, before human beings had any understanding of farming, they used to be hunters who evolved to resist no food intake for several days. They had no other option because hunting and gathering nuts and berries was a time-consuming process. 

Half a century ago, it was straightforward to maintain an appropriate weight. Christie Williams, M.S., R.D.N., a nutritionist from John Hopkins, says, “There was no concept of a computer, and T.V. shows used to finish before 11 pm. People used to stop eating as they were on their beds. More people used to work and play outside and, consequently, got a lot of exercises.”

Nowadays, the world of social media and daily internet availability has changed the landscape of our schedules. Now, we stay awake even longer to watch our favorite T.V. shows and chat online with our mates. We are on our sofas and having snacks all day, particularly at night.

More eating and less physical activity brings risks of obesity, heart diseases, and other illnesses within your system. However, the researchers have stated that intermittent fasting has enabled human beings to minimize these risks. 

How does it work?

There are numerous ways for you to follow intermittent fasting. However, they are dependent on you selecting a schedule for fasting and eating. For instance, you may choose a daily approach, an eight-hour plan to eat and fast for the remaining 16 hours of a day. You may even opt to have one meal per day for a couple of days a week. There are numerous intermittent fasting plans for you to choose from.

Mr. Mattson states that once a body is not having any food intake for a while, it exhausts the sugar stores and begins to burn fat. He calls this mechanism metabolic switching. 

“For numerous U.S. citizens, there is a lot of difference between this diet and a normal eating diet, as they are eating throughout their waking period. For instance, if a person is consuming three meals per day, having snacks, and does not have any physical activity, then they are running upon their consumed calories and not burning fats,” Mr. Mattson says. 

Intermittent fasting works when you can burn the calories you had initially consumed via your meal, and your body starts burning fat.  

Plans for intermittent-fasting 

It is essential to go to your doctor and consult about intermittent fasting before opting for it. Once you get their approval, the practice of this diet is not difficult. You can pick a specific intermittent-fasting schedule, limiting your eating period to 6-8 hours every day. For instance, you can fast for sixteen hours and eat for eight hours. Mrs. Williams is a massive fan of this dieting plan. She says that many people tend to go with these dieting schedules for a long time. 

Moreover, there is an eating approach called the 5:2 approach. This approach enables you to eat regularly for five days a week. In the remaining two days, you can stick with one 500-600 calorie meal per day. For example, you can eat regularly every day except Monday and Thursday. On those days, you must have one meal of around 500 calories. 

If you are not eating for a long time, such as 36, 48, 72 hours of fasting, it can be catastrophic for your physical health. Having a long fasting period may encourage your body to store more fats in response to hunger. 

Mr. Mattson’s study shows that your body may require two to four weeks of intermittent fasting to get used to its eating schedule. There may even come a time when you start to feel hungry in specific fasting periods. Nevertheless, his research states that the people who get through the adjustment period will preferably stick to the intermittent fasting schedules for the long term. It is because they would eventually believe that this eating schedule is better for their health.

What to eat in eating and fasting periods?

Water, black coffee, and specific zero-calorie intakes can be preferred when you have a fasting period. Similarly, when you are undergoing an eating period, it does not mean that you start eating like crazy. However, you will not do your weight or health favors if you pack your eating period with junk food and treats.

Mrs. Williams likes the most about this diet because it enables a person to eat and enjoy various types of foods. “We want to ensure that people eat and enjoy healthy and nutritious food,” she expresses. She further stated that eating food with others and sharing the mealtime activity adds content and benefits to your overall health. 

Benefits of intermittent-fasting

A study states that intermittent fasting does more than enable your body to burn fats. “Metabolic switching brings changes to your body and brain,” Mr. Mattson said.

The New England Journal of Medicine published one of Mr. Mattson’s studies, which brought revelations regarding numerous benefits of intermittent fasting. The benefits include a sharp mind, longer life, and better awareness. 

“Numerous things get covered during intermittent fasting that can protect you from chronic diseases, heart diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and numerous other life-threatening diseases,” Mr. Mattson explained. 

Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting are as follows:

Better Memory

Researchers discover that intermittent fasting improves an adult’s memory.

Heart Health

Intermittent fasting improves blood pressure and enables you to maintain your heart rate and other heart-related measurements.

Physical Condition

Young people who had a fasting period of 16 hours showed fat loss despite maintaining muscle mass.


In the research, intermittent fasting protects you from diabetes and obesity. In addition, six more pieces of research stated that obese adults could lose weight through this practice.

Tissue Condition

Intermittent fasting minimizes tissue damage during surgeries in animals. 


To sum up, intermittent fasting is all about having an appropriate schedule to fast and eat from time to time. Consuming regular food and having fasting periods will enable your body to burn fats. 

Mark Mattson and Christie Williams, both associated with John Hopkins, were the front-runners regarding the research of intermittent-fasting food and schedules. Mr. Mattson believed that the body mechanisms had evolved so much over the years that they enable your body to resist days without food intake. 

Similarly, Mrs. Williams states that diet management is changed in the ongoing world compared to previous years. Previously, there were no T.V. shows beyond 11 pm. People used to stop consuming food as they were set to go to bed. In addition, they used to work and play outdoors, which was part of their physical activity. Nowadays, people can afford to wait longer for their T.V. shows. Moreover, they chat online with their mates and have snacks all the time, particularly at night. 

Firstly, you must consult your doctor about this diet and ensure whether you can afford to adopt it. Once you get their approval, you must look for an appropriate intermittent-fasting schedule. For instance, you can have an eight-hour eating period and a sixteen-hour fasting period. 

There may come a time that you start having difficulty in getting through the fasting period. As a result, you may experience hunger and starvation. However, once your body adjusts to the schedule, it will be easier for you to adopt it in the long run. 

During the fasting hours, you can afford to have black coffee or tea. Similarly, you should not have a package of junk food and treats during your eating hours. This mismanagement will prove to be costly for your health.

Written by HealthRadar360

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