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For those of us looking to lose weight, there are plenty of methodologies out there to follow, and it’s primarily a matter of finding the one that will work best for you. A fasting diet is one option that has increased in popularity in recent years, partly due to the variations that have developed, making it more palatable to a greater number of people.
Fasting generally means not consuming any calories for an extended period of time, typically lasting anywhere from 12 to 40 hours. Water, coffee, tea and other non-caloric beverages are allowed during this period, but nothing else.
Intermittent Fasting Diet Programs
Alternating between periods of fasting and periods of calorie consumption is called intermittent fasting. Here is an overview of a few of the more common programs:
- Alternate-day fasting – fast every other day
- Eat Stop Eat – a full 24-hour fast once or twice per week
- Time-restricted eating – fasting every day for at least a 12-hour period and eating multiple meals in the remaining hours; the 16/8 diet is the most common version of this
- Warrior Diet – eating one large meal at night and only small quantities of raw fruits and vegetables during the day
- The 5:2 Diet – eat as usual for 5 days of the week while cutting calories back to 600-800 per day on the remaining 2 days
The Biological Background
When you fast, your body’s human growth hormone (HGH) surges up to 5 times its average level, making body fat easier to shed and facilitating muscle gain. Insulin levels simultaneously drop, allowing stored fat to become more accessible.
Additionally, fasting causes an increase in the fat-burning hormone norepinephrine. These hormonal changes can contribute to a rise in metabolism, increasing your chances for sustained weight loss. Working in tandem with the reduced caloric intake inherent in a fasting diet, intermittent fasting can be an effective weight management tool.
Easy to Implement
A fasting diet can also be one of the easier methods to try out when looking to lose weight, as humans are quite naturally suited to going extended periods without food. In our early evolution, we didn’t always have regular access to food, so we had to learn to live in varying states of hunger.
Even today, it may not seem too foreign to have finished dinner by 7 pm on the weekend, slept in late the next morning, and eaten the first meal of the day as lunch at around noon. This is technically a 17-hour fast!
Various religions like Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism have also long incorporated periods of fasting into their worship, proving that people all across the world are perfectly capable of living a lifestyle that includes a fasting diet.
In some ways, a fasting diet can simplify efforts to lead a healthier life, as there will naturally be fewer meals to plan for, prepare, cook and clean up after. Since there is a greater focus on when you eat, as opposed to what you eat, it is easy to incorporate this type of diet into your existing meal plan.
Ensure Good Health with Nupo
That being said, the risk with a fasting diet is the tendency to overeat – and particularly from food groups that are better eaten in moderation – during the allowed eating window. It is, therefore, still important to follow a healthy dietary plan for all your meals. For example, you will want to ensure adequate protein intake in order not to experience muscle loss as part of a fasting diet.
Nupo has a wide variety of meal replacement options that provide just the right amounts of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals to ensure that you are getting what your body needs when it is time to eat. You can also try the 2:5 plan, where you eat 2000-2500 calories per day as the standard for 2 days of the week and then follow the Nupo meal plan of 800 calories per day for the remaining 5 days.
This way, you minimise your caloric intake for a greater number of days per week, ensure adequate nutritional value for your body, and simplify a greater number of meals each week – and all while still regularly enjoying the rewards of your favourite foods.