Many people today are struggling with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, and they often try some kind of weight loss program to shed extra pounds, reduce blood sugar and blood pressure. If done right and maintained, these methods work. But is one better than the other?
Intermittent fasting has become very popular today and has many advantages. Since you eat during a short window of 8-6 hours, which means skipping a meal, one benefit is that you only need to plan for two meals per day. This saves time. Another benefit is a health advantage called autophagy, which occurs when cells enter a regular cleansing period during fasting time. Studies have shown that autophagy results in many health benefits, including reducing blood sugar levels and cholesterol.
According to one study, intermittent fasting and calorie counting achieved similar weight loss results, the same wasn’t true for blood sugar management. People in the 8-hour time-restricted eating group had improved insulin sensitivity, meaning their bodies got better at regulating blood sugar.
Another intermittent fasting study from England with people on the 5-2 diet—when you eat normally for 5 days and only one meal on two days—has shown that people cured both diabetes II and many heart-related problems.
An additional benefit of intermittent fasting over calorie counting is that it is much simpler to plan. It takes a lot of planning to make sure to eat the right number of calories, but skipping a meal does not take that much planning.
It is also important to remember that not all calories are created equal. Some, such as those from complex carbohydrates and fiber, will provide more satiety, keeping you fuller throughout the day. One average apple contains 94 calories, while one tablespoon of olive contains 120. You are more likely to satisfy your hunger by eating the apple.
Intermittent fasting also helps the body produce ketones, which create energy from fat. For a vegan or vegetarian, the best way to do that is by eating more nuts, seeds, and cold-pressed olive oil during your eating window.
If your main goal is simply to lose weight, however, and you love planning each meal, then calorie counting may be the best way to go.
Want to know more about how to do Intermittent Fasting correctly – the way that’s best for your body and your lifestyle? “Come Learn @ Prama!” Check out our Intermittent Fasting Retreat schedules at Prama.org
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ramesh is the Director of the Prama Wellness Center where lifestyle is considered our best medicine. Ramesh is also a writer, yogi and workshop leader. He studied yoga therapy in Nepal and India, Ayurveda at California College of Ayurveda and is a certified yoga detox theraphist from the AM Wellness Center in Cebu, Philippines. He has taught workshops in many countries and is the author of four books, including Sacred Body, Sacred Spirit (InnerWorld) and Tantra:The Yoga of Love and Awakening (Hay House India).