What is intermittent fasting and how to do it

Intermittent fasting consists of distributing the times we eat within a period or eating window. There are different types of intermittent fasting depending on the number of hours without food, 12 hours, 16 hours, 20 hours, etc.

The benefits of intermittent fasting are many. It is known that it promotes the regeneration of our body and many other health benefits are being studied: from weight loss or improvement in blood pressure, to the reduction of cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

How to practice intermittent fasting?

You can make it easy for yourself and introduce fasting in a way that suits your habits and preferences. Remember, too, that it’s important to keep eating well. For this, we propose two weekly menus, one for a 16-hour fast and the other for a 20-hour fast.

If you have never practiced intermittent fasting, The ideal is to do a gradual introduction in which you progressively lengthen the overnight fast. You can start with the “12:12 fast”, which consists of going 12 hours without eating to do all your intakes in the remaining 12 hours.

Evaluate whether it is easier for you to skip breakfast or dinner earlier. If you don’t have breakfast first thing in the morning, you can have your first meal at 10 am and finish your dinner at 10 pm. On the contrary, if breakfast is your favorite meal, you can have breakfast at 7am and dinner at 7pm.

Once you are comfortable with the “12:12 fast”, you can continue with a “14:10 fast”. You can even go straight to 16:8, where all your intakes should be concentrated in an 8 hour window, for example between 1pm and 9pm or between 8am and 2pm if you like Breakfast. If that’s easy for you, you could try a “20:4 fast” or even a full alternate day fast.

I recommend that you establish your meal window during the hours of sunlight, as, thanks to synchronization with the body’s circadian rhythms, you are more likely to see improvements in insulin sensitivity and blood glucose levels and avoid fat accumulation. .

No more than 50 calories

It is impossible to define exactly the amount of calories with which you stop “fasting”. Some authors advise that only liquids that provide a maximum of 50 calories be ingested during fasting hours.

In any case, it is essential to drink at least 2 liters of water. To avoid dizziness and headaches, it is highly recommended to ingest mineral salts on an empty stomach, as they prevent the massive passage of intracellular electrolytes into the plasma. You can add salt, potassium or magnesium to the water or drink natural sparkling mineral water. Also, you can take:

  • Natural mineral water that can be flavored with aromatic herbs, citrus peel or spices (mint, basil, cinnamon, etc.).
  • Plant infusions (sugar free).
  • Vegetable broths, which in addition to containing practically no calories, provide sodium and potassium.

What can you eat during intermittent fasting?

During the window of hours in which you are allowed to eat in intermittent fasting, the idea is that you eat your usual meals in fewer hours, without thinking about changing ingredients or preparations. that if you follow one healthy diet. If not, it’s a good time to improve your diet. In no case does fasting serve to eat poorly.

  • Take care of proteins. Be sure to consume enough to preserve muscle mass and promote feelings of fullness. Vegetarians get them from servings of legumes, whole grains, tofu, seitan, tempeh, nuts or plant-based yogurts.
  • good fats My recommendation is that you season and cook with olive oil. If you want, you can also use coconut oil. Add the seeds and dried fruit, which you can take whole or in the form of cream (without other ingredients) to spread. You can also resort to avocado and olives.
  • Slow carbs. You get them from whole grains and their derivatives, and from root crops like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cassava. Legumes are also rich in slow-absorbing carbohydrates. I recommend that you vary the options at different meals. Finally, complete the menus with vegetables and fruits, which also provide water, high density of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

In addition to the diet, it is advisable to regularly carry out strength training to preserve muscle mass. Do not forget to sleep enough hours, because persistent lack of sleep over time is detrimental to health.

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