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Dieting, or maintaining your nutritional input is one of the most important ways of staying healthy and maintaining your weight. While dieting trends come and go one of the most long-lasting of these has to be intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is now being considered as a health trend that helps in improving metabolic health and aids in the weight loss process. In this routine people alternate between periods of non-fasting and fasting. It is also coupled with a calorie-restricted diet for hastening the weight loss process. While many people have found this method to be extremely effective there are several misconceptions about intermittent fasting. It is often considered a health hazard and something that people should proceed with caution.

However, this applies to all kinds of dietary restrictions. You should not jump into a diet just because you see trending on the internet. It is important to weigh out the pros and cons and see what works for you before committing to it. However intermittent fasting generally has accumulated more hate and misrepresentation.

Myths and Facts about Intermittent Fasting

This is the most important section to consider if you are considering giving Intermittent fasting a try. There are a number of myths around this and it’s time we got to the bottom of them all.

Myth 1: Fasting is stressful for your body and you might not be able to cope with it

Fact: Over the years our body has adapted to tolerate short periods of fasting without negatively affecting cortisol levels for activating other stress hormones in our body. Studies have proved that fasting can help in regulating your cortisol levels and hence help in the metabolism of fat. Intermittent fasting allows you to help your body get used to the fasting periods without causing it much stress or anxiety.

Myth 2: Fasting activates starving responses in our body

Fact: When you are fasting your body is compelled to use energy in a few different ways but it does not necessarily mean that it is going into starvation mode. The human body has evolved to withstand short periods of fasting.

Myth 3: Fasting negatively affects our mood and cognition

Fact: Prolonged periods of fasting can lead to negative mode and make it difficult for us to focus on the job at hand. However, when it comes to intermittent fasting, the period of fasting is not long enough to hurt a mood or our cognitive system. Existing studies have proven that short periods spent fasting can stimulate better memory and learning functions and help sharpen our cognitive abilities.

Myth 4: You should not drink water while intermittent fasting

Fact: While it is true that for some religious fasts, food, as well as water intake, is prohibited which is not the same for intermittent fasting. Fasting has an eminent effect on your diuretic system and not drinking enough water can lead to severe dehydration. So not only should you be drinking enough water during intermittent fasting you should also pay attention that you are providing your body with sufficient levels of electrolytes like sodium and potassium.

Myth 5: Intermittent fasting is not suitable for those building muscles

Fact: Building muscles is often associated with gorging huge quantities of protein powders and consuming an extraordinary level of egg whites. So, intermittent fasting seems like quite the opposite of what one needs to do for building muscles. A study conducted in 2019 found that women who were intermittent fasting gained as much muscle as did women who had stuck to a more traditional diet. This happens because during intermittent fasting the body works hard and starts breaking down your fat and preserving your muscles.

How to Do It

If you want to try intermittent fasting at home, it is best to consult a nutritionist before you begin. However, there are some of the most popular ways people try intermittent fasting:

The 5:2 Method

Using this method you can eat normally for five days of the week and then for the last two 

days your calorie intake is limited to 500 to 600 cal. This diet was popularised by Michael Mosley and is also known as the fast diet. This is a simple diet that does not require much planning except for the two days when you have to control calorie intake.

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The 16/8 Diet

This is undoubtedly the most famous method of intermittent fasting which involves fasting for about 16 hours a day and then eating for 8 hours. The eight hours of the eating window allow you to fit up to three or more meals in the period. This strategy was popularised by a fitness specialist known as Martin Berkhan. This method of dieting is very easy to apply and can be as simple as restricting your diet between dinner and breakfast. You can even drink zero-calorie beverages, water, and coffee to reduce your hunger during the 16 hour fasting period. You can easily buy water tumblers which will help you to stay hydrated over the fasting schedule.

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The Eat Stop Eat Method

This is one of the most difficult intermittent fasting methods because it involves fasting for a total 24 hour period at least twice a week. This method was also developed by a fitness expert called Brad Pilon and has become quite popular over the years. So this fasting involves not eating anything from one dinner to dinner the next day. While you cannot have any solid food during the fasting period zero-calorie drinks and coffee are permitted. However, when you are eating you can eat whatever you want and not restrict your calories during the eating period. It is very important to take it slow and steady and not aim for 24 hours fast from day one.

Intermittent fasting has become very popular in today's day and age. However, when you subscribe to any method of fasting it is important to take into consideration the opinion of specialists in the department. While intermittent fasting is mostly suitable for many healthy individuals there are some people for whom it might be dangerous. So get a professional opinion before choosing this diet.

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