Poll: 17% of Latvians have already experienced intermittent fasting – Medicine, beauty

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Fasting or occasionally not eating food to improve health and lose weight is becoming more and more popular. Recently, 17% of respondents in Latvia have tried it. This is evidenced by the results of BENU Aptieka Health Monitoring, conducted in collaboration with the research company SKDS. Compared to the 2020 survey data, interest in fasting is gradually increasing, as 13% of respondents tried to fast to improve their health in 2020.

Nutritionist at the Anti-Aging Institute Veselības centrs 4, nutritionist Ansis Sauers explains that the popularity of so-called intermittent fasting (also called intermittent fasting or semi-fasting) is also increasing due to the fact that more media and information is available online. available for the benefits of intermittent fasting. Such a fast is characterized by refusing to eat for a certain number of hours (up to 48 hours), but usually during such a fast, the time of day on which you can eat is reduced: for example, do not eat for 16 hours on day and eat for the remaining 8 hours.

What happens to the body when someone fasts?

Is It Really Beneficial To Stop Eating Occasionally? A. Sauers confirms that intermittent fasting has a very wide range of positive effects on the body when properly observed. Not only does it help to normalize weight, but it also helps maintain overall health. These days, weight problems are mainly due to the fact that we consume too much simple sugars. When they enter the bloodstream in the form of glucose and circulate in our body, insulin levels increase. While it is increased, the body cannot receive energy from fat cells. With increased insulin, glucose enters all the cells of the body, where it is needed as an energy source. When all the cells have received the necessary energy, the unused glucose enters the liver, where, as a result of biochemical reactions, it is converted into fatty acids and accumulates in the form of fat cells.

During intermittent fasting, we do not receive sugar, so the body shifts from the use of glucose as a source to the use of fat cells. When we fast, insulin levels fall and the pancreas releases the opposite hormone from insulin, glucagon. When glucagon is elevated, we can use fat cells as an energy source, which in turn promotes weight loss.

Benefits for the human body

Being overweight is a contributing factor to many diseases, but losing weight is far from the only benefit of fasting. According to nutritionist Ansis Sauers, the benefits of intermittent fasting are being confirmed by more and more scientific research. Intermittent fasting promotes changes in cellular, hormonal and genetic levels. The cells live longer, they are less damaged, the so-called anti-aging action appears. During fasting, the synthesis of growth hormone is enhanced – it can help us lose weight, as well as maintain muscle mass.

Another important benefit is the autophagy process. In the human body there are both healthy cells and those with some kind of damage. During fasting, we do not receive a source of energy, so an autophagic process occurs, during which the death of bad cells is naturally programmed. It works as a natural mechanism for cleansing and restoring the body.

Research on the wider impact of intermittent fasting shows that it helps reduce the risks of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and cancer, as well as internal inflammation accompanied by oxidative stress caused by free radicals.

Intermittent fasting also benefits our microbiome. We all have 1-3 kg of bacteria and during fasting the number of harmful bacteria decreases and the beneficial ones increase.

Is fasting good for both men and women??

The results of BENU Aptieka Health Monitoring show that women are more interested in fasting: last year, 19% of women and 14% of men surveyed tried fasting. If we compare the data by age, we see that the greatest interest in fasting show young people aged 18-24, among whom 26% have fasted in the last year. In the age group 25-34 years, 20% of respondents fasted in the last year, 35-44 years – 17% of respondents, 45-54 years – 11%, 55-63 years – 19% of respondents and age 64- 75 years old – 12% of respondents.

Nutritionist Ansis Sauers confirms that women are more likely to be interested in healthy eating and intermittent fasting. Men are more interested in this if they have started exercising, going to the gym or want to improve their physical condition. However, intermittent fasting has a positive effect on both the female and male body. Fasting can affect the female hormonal cycle – you need to adjust and understand your emotions. For the first time, you should not fast during or shortly after your period. When there is experience and the process is understood, fasting should not cause big problems.

Of course, you need to take care of your health and well-being and there are times when fasting should be avoided, such as during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Fasting is also not suitable for people with malnutrition or nutritional deficiencies, underweight, people with psychological and eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia. People with metabolic problems should also be very careful.

What do we have to do, before you start fasting

Before starting an intermittent fast, it is advisable to have a health examination and seek the advice of a specialist, such as a nutritionist, to learn about the proper principles of intermittent fasting and to understand the process as a whole. It is important not only to understand your state of health, but also what happens to the body during fasting – what can and can not be done, so as not to interrupt the positive effect of fasting. For example, during intermittent fasting, you can drink water, tea, coffee without additives. However, it should be noted that adding even half a teaspoon of sugar to tea or coffee breaks the fast.

Experience of the first intermittent fast

Although, as A. Sauers notes, the idea of ​​breakfast as the main meal of the day has taken root in society, it is precisely the refusal of breakfast that can be one of the most convenient ways to try fasting. Try to skip breakfast and see how your body reacts to it and how it feels. It is also important to understand that if you skip breakfast, your body will not be hungry or deprived of nutrients before lunch, as it has enough reserves. Realizing the benefits of intermittent fasting makes it easier to incorporate it into your daily routine. Once the first steps are taken and understood, you will be able to adjust the fast to your rhythm and needs.

What you can eat after fasting?

If the fast was short, for example, breakfast or another meal was skipped, you can continue eating with the next meal. If the fasting period was longer, for example, 24-48 hours, then after stopping the fast, it is recommended to drink or eat something light, for example, a glass of kefir, a green smoothie (without adding sweet fruits, such as eg grapes), avocado or other healthy salad, homemade bone broth is perfect, which will provide the body with precious minerals, other healthy foods. It is important to eat healthy foods and after fasting not to overeat and not overload the body.

The psychological side of fasting

Intermittent fasting can also affect our mental state, such as clearing our head and improving our thinking. Many now observe the Christian Lent. Although it differs in its effect on the body from intermittent fasting, it can also positively affect our eating habits. A. Sauers recognizes that during fasting fish is usually included in the diet, resulting in the body receiving valuable omega-3 fatty acids. During Lent, many people cut out sweets and reduce their sugar intake, which is good for overall health. Also during this time, you can take care of yourself and visit a specialist to improve your meal plan and maybe try fasting.

Tamro Latvia

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