Autophagy, or intermittent fasting, is one of the most popular, and well-researched diet movements of 2017. It refers to an eating schedule, where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. For example, you can choose to consume food during a span of 10 hours, let's say between 10am to 8pm. After 8pm, you're not allowed to have meals until the next morning. You can curb hunger by drinking water, coffee, and other beverages with no calories. During your eating window, you're also supposed to stick to foods that are as healthy as possible.
It sounds like it could be tough, but intermittent fasting actually kickstarts cellular repair, fat loss, boosts cellular renewal and helps you gain more muscle.
Intermittent fasting was discovered in the early 1900s as a treatment for diabetes and obesity, but in the 2010s, the movement has made a revival, spearheaded by celebrities like Terry Crews, Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman and more.
Here's a breakdown on the diet.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Intermittent fasting balances out your metabolism by cycling through periods of eating and fasting. When you fast, your body burns stored sugars, fats, as well as bad bacteria and dying cells to burn as energy. Your body rids itself of pathogens, while also creating new cells more efficiently to replace the old.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
As earlier mentioned, intermittent fasting can help you get lean, and preserve muscle mass. Despite the fact that you're eating less and perhaps working out less, your body will preserve your muscle tissues as it targets your fat stores to burn for energy instead. Many who try intermittent fasting have reported more efficient fat loss, while maintaining, or even increasing their muscle mass, depending on their individual diets or exercise routines.
Intermittent fasting also increases the level of human growth hormones in your body, up to five times its normal rate. This means you grow muscles easier, lose fat more efficiently, and your metabolic rate is slated to increase up to 14%.
If you're an athlete, or typically train at high intensities, intermittent fasting is able to reduce oxidative stress and bodily inflammation. Oxidative stress produces free radicals in your body, which can end up causing bodily pains, muscle inflammations, and even chronic diseases. When you fast, your body attacks these free radicals, and rids them from your system. This lets your muscles recovery more efficiently, and it is also able to reduce your risks of Alzheimer's, and cancer in the long run.
You also get a number of health benefits from intermittent fasting that do not apply to bodybuilding, but are no less amazing.
Cycling your diet can regulate the blood sugars in your body, resulting in lowered risk of type 2 diabetes. Studies have also shown it may be beneficial for heart health, as it lowers your body's inflammatory markers, and dips your cholesterol levels.
HOW TO START?
The first, and most popular style of intermittent fasting is one we've already covered in the introduction, but that may not suit everyone. There are other versions of intermittent fasting to adopt, and these include:
The 5:2 diet, where you eat normally for five days a week, and for your last two days, you restrict your caloric intake to 500-600 calories a day. You're supposed to fuel with fruit, vegetables, and other juices during the last two days.
There is also the 24-hour fast diet, where you eat normally six days a week, and fast for 24 hours on one day. This is perhaps the most challenging form of intermittent fasting and requires serious discipline.
No matter which form you choose, intermittent fasting does have proven benefits, and is something worthwhile to explore if you're looking to seriously overhaul your eating habits. It takes a lot of adjustment, but it'll pay off.
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