Intermittent fasting: what it is and how to properly organize a diet

Among the followers of a healthy lifestyle, intermittent fasting is gaining great popularity. But without understanding what this mechanism is and how it works, you can harm your body. Nutritionist Olga Ilyicheva answered the most frequently asked questions about this technique “MK in St. Petersburg”.

Intermittent fasting is a natural way to slow down the aging of the body. According to the doctor, it allows you to reduce the amount of intracellular residues, straighten the hormonal background, increase the sensitivity of cells to insulin and the body’s ability to adapt.

How does intermittent fasting work?

The human body uses carbohydrates, proteins and fats as energy material. How easily the body can switch between different energy sources, and characterizes “metabolic flexibility”.

“If the diet consists mainly of simple carbohydrates (cereals, starchy vegetables, such as potatoes), then the body easily uses this energy source, as it is the fastest and most profitable in terms of evolution. “With the depletion of blood glucose stores, the body must be connected to the expenditure of other energy stores, first it is the glycogen of the liver and muscles and then the body begins to consume our proteins and only then the fats”, the doctor explained .

The meaning of intermittent fasting is to turn the body to its own resources. Without the feeling of hunger, he lives on the available “carbohydrate fuel” and is dependent on foods high in carbohydrates.

“During hunger, the body also has the opportunity to ‘cleanse’ the internal environment – to use dead cells as sources of protein, to burn excess fat and to activate the immune response. The cell’s sensitivity to insulin increases, the body, after leaving hunger, produces better energy than the available food. Our intracellular power stations – the mitochondria – can only be updated in a state of hunger. “With overeating, they become impoverished, accumulate genetic mutations and die,” Ilyicheva explained.

Intermittent fasting patterns are chosen taking into account the state of human health. The clear intervals between meals should be four to six hours. Among them, only drinking water or herbal tea without sugar is allowed.

How do you know if you’re already hungry?

Hunger is regulated by two hormones, ghrelin and leptin. The first is produced in the stomach and causes a feeling of hunger, the second is produced in adipose tissue and suppresses appetite, explained the nutritionist.

If you do not just feel a spoon-sucking sensation, but an increase in irritation and nervousness, then the stress hormone, cortisol, enters the scene, which begins to draw nutrients from the body’s pores – muscles and adipose tissue. he said.

This means that regulating hunger means maintaining a clean vacuum between meals, preventing the irritability caused by hunger.

“Clean gaps will not work if you have coffee and cookies for breakfast and a tea sandwich for lunch. “The food must be complete,” said the doctor.

When a person has conquered the clean spaces and at the same time continues to feel good, then you can go to the next step and expand your eating window.

Dining window function

All food consumed during the day should fit in an interval of eight hours. That is, if someone has breakfast at 08:00, then their last meal will be at 16:00. With breakfast at 10:00 – at 18:00.

“Inside the dining window, there can be two or three meals, with clean intervals of at least four hours. The diet is adapted to the individual regime of the day “, the nutritionist explained.

The dining window can be gradually shifted to the optimal, and even intermittent fasting for five days will be beneficial. It is important to know that there are contraindications to this technique – for example, after the removal of the gallbladder, such a diet will be safe only one year after surgery, the doctor warned.

Another equally popular weight loss program is fasting days. Earlier, the “MK in St. Petersburg” said how dangerous this technique can be for the human body.

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