With intermittent fasting diets soaring in popularity among health and diet experts, as well as athletes, celebrities and instructors of all sorts, all of them swear by its effectiveness in helping us lose weight, maintain fit and lean bodies and keep our muscles intact.
Intermittent fasting is a diet plan which pushes our daily meals into separated periods of up to 12 hours. Luke Coutinho, an expert in integrative and lifestyle medicine, spoke about two types of intermittent fasting according to Elle, saying: “The first method, called 5:2, is exactly what our ancestors did in the form of religious fasts,” and “It calls for eating healthy meals, five days a week, and consuming only 500-600 calories for the remaining two days.”
For a more consistent and sustainable plan, Luke Coutinho suggests following the 16:8 method which stuffs all the meals within an 8-hour window. He explains “You limit eating time to just eight hours (called the building stage) and fast for 16 hours (called the detoxification or fasting phase) of the day, with only water or herbal teas as snacking options.”
How It Works
Our body is constantly working as we eat throughout our days, with the digestive system, as well as the kidney and the liver working relentlessly to absorb all the nutritional values of each meal. Luke says: “But during the fasting phase, the body gets some rest and is able to break down leftover food effectively, leading to detoxification and reduction in gut inflammation." He warns against excessively fasting or loading up on food can have negative side effects and that everything should be in moderation. “Loading up on excess food or eating less can deprive your body of nutrients, and lead to headaches, low blood pressure, hypoglycemia (low sugar levels) and muscle loss.”