Before talking about intermittent fasting, fasting has been around since ages and our culture promotes it around the year. But ancient physiology recommends fasting once in 7/15 days. On the other hand, we have intermittent fasting which is time-confined eating. It has been a hot potato since 2012.
What is intermittent fasting?
It is restricting any food intake for a specific time period. The 3 forms of intermittent fasting are:
- 16:8 diet– Here, your eating window will be for 8 hours. And the rest 16 hours of the day, you will be fasting. The first meal will be at 12 pm and the last meal will be at 8 pm.
- 5:2 diet– This is a weekly plan where you will be consuming 500 calories for 2 days consecutively. The rest 5 days have no food restrictions.
- Alternate day fasting– In this plan, you are fasting on alternate days of the week. On the other days, you can have your fair portion of food. This seems a lot easier, isn’t it?
While we are talking on IF, there are a few parameters that should be taken into consideration to conclude if it really improves your performance.
- fat loss
- muscle mass
- insulin level
- free fatty acids
To begin with, weight loss is the foremost advantage you have with IF. Studies confirm that it is one of the best diet plans to lose visceral fat.
Said this, IF helps reduce fat for sure while maintaining muscle mass. It was observed that who followed time-restricted fasting, had a significant fat loss but maintained muscle around the thighs and arms.
After we exercise while fasting, the body’s stored carbohydrates i.e. glycogen is reduced. This results in loss of energy leading to a slow metabolism.
The most beneficial factor of restricted eating is the decrease in the level of insulin in or body. This triggers calorie burn.
Lower the insulin level, higher is the rate of lipolysis in our body. Lipolysis is the breaking down of stored body fat into free fatty acids.
FFAs are released from the adipose (body fat) tissue since the glycogen level in the liver is depleted. In return, these FFAs get converted into ketones.
Ketones are a key drawback in IF. Ketones are chemicals that are produced by the liver when it is devoid of insulin.
As read earlier, time confined eating results in a low level of insulin. Thus the liver will utilise body fat to produce energy. And this is quite dangerous because low insulin impacts your blood sugar level.
Dehydration is a major pitfall for athletes and ketones lead to dehydration and chemical imbalance in the body.
Fatigue is another side effect of Intermittent fasting because the loss of body fat replenishes the body of energy.
Further drawbacks are- daytime sleepiness due to lack of energy, binge eating because of long hours of starving.
In the world of sports, it’s not about looking slim. It’s about your game performance and keeping your body fuelled for better results. Having said this, we can arrive at a conclusion at energy is paramount for athletes and IF majorly affects this.
Overall, this is a short-term fat loss tool while being an athlete requires you to maintain your game performance throughout without fail. Train consistently, follow your diet schedule and don’t force yourself to starve. Go win.
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