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General Practice 2023

Intermittent fasting: what é, benefícios and how to do it (beginners guide)

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Intermittent fasting: what é, benefícios and how to do it (beginners guide)
Intermittent fasting: what é, benefícios and how to do it (beginners guide)

Intermittent fasting is a diet that can help improve immunity, favor detoxification of the body and also improve mood and mental agility. This type of fasting consists of not eating solid foods for 16 to 36 hours in a row, a few times a week, on a scheduled basis, returning to your usual diet, preferably based on foods low in sugar and fat.

To get the benefits, the most common strategy to start this fast is to not eat for 14 or 16 hours, just drinking liquids, such as water, tea and coffee without sugar, but this lifestyle is only advised for he althy people, and even so, the consent and support of a doctor, nurse or he alth professional who is aware of this type of fasting is necessary, to ensure that it is done well and is good for your he alth.

How to

There are different types of intermittent fasting methods, although in all of them there is a period of restriction in food intake, alternating with a period in which you can eat. See a practical guide to starting intermittent fasting.

If you have never fasted, it is usually recommended to do intermittent fasting once a week for a maximum of 16 hours. This fasting period can be increased gradually, that is, you can start with 12 hours and, as you adapt, increase the fasting period.

Before starting the fasting period, it is recommended to eat a low-carb meal, as this makes it easier to stay hungry while fasting. In the first 4 hours, the body uses the energy provided by the last meal.

Type of intermittent fasting

The type of intermittent fasting may vary according to the duration of the fasting period and the number of times per week it is performed, the main forms being:

  • 16h fasting: consists of going between 14 and 16 hours without eating, including the sleep period, and eating the remaining 8 hours of the day.
  • 24-hour fast: is done with a full day of fasting, and can be done 2 or 3 times a week.
  • 36-hour fasting: consists of staying 1 whole day and half the other day without eating. This type of fasting should be done by people more used to fasting, and under medical supervision.
  • Eat 5 days and restrict 2 days: This means eating for 5 days a week normally, and choosing 2 days to reduce the amount of calories to about 500 calories per day.

During the fasting period, water, teas and coffee are allowed, without the addition of sugar or sweeteners. It is common in the first few days to feel very hungry, but in the following days the body gets used to it, making the process easier.

See more about intermittent fasting in the following video:

What to eat after fasting

After the fasting period, it is recommended to eat foods that are easy to digest and have a low glycemic index, avoiding excess fats or sugars, as this is how you can guarantee the results of intermittent fasting.

Recommended foods

After fasting, it is important to eat a meal with a low glycemic index to ensure good digestive capacity and well-being, which can include:

  • Mushrooms;
  • Sweet Potato;
  • Zucchini;
  • Quinoa;
  • Chicken breast;
  • Canned sardines or tuna;
  • Broccoli;
  • Spinach;
  • Tomato;
  • Cabbage;
  • Cauliflower;
  • Bone Soup.

After fasting, some fruits that can also be consumed along with the meal are apple, strawberry, raspberry and blueberry.Also, the longer without eating, the smaller the amount of food should be, especially at the first meal. Check out other foods with a low glycemic index that can be included in a post-fasting diet.

Check out the following video on how to prepare bone soup to consume after intermittent fasting:

Foods not recommended

Fried or prepared foods with a lot of fat, such as French fries, drumsticks, white sauce or ice cream, stuffed cookies or frozen foods such as lasagna, should be avoided.

To lose weight with intermittent fasting, it is also important to practice physical activity, such as walking or even going to the gym, never on an empty stomach, and preferably guided by a physical education professional.

Key benefits of fasting

The main benefits of intermittent fasting are:

  1. Regulating cholesterol and triglyceride levels: this is because the diet performed before and after fasting must be low in sugar and fat, in addition to being rich in fiber, which favors the elimination of excess fat, helping to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood;
  2. Increase metabolism: contrary to the belief that fasting can slow down metabolism, this only happens in cases of fasting longer than 48 hours. However, in controlled intermittent fasting, low calorie intake reduces blood glucose and insulin levels. This forces the body to use the body's fat cells, which provide a lot of energy and increase metabolism;
  3. Preventing high blood pressure: In addition to helping lower cholesterol and triglycerides, intermittent fasting also lowers bad fat (LDL) levels and increases fat good (HDL), facilitating blood circulation and preventing high blood pressure;
  4. Preventing diabetes: Intermittent fasting associated with low consumption of sugar in the diet, helps balance blood glucose and insulin levels, helping to prevent diabetes;
  5. Help to lose weight: going without eating for a period decreases the levels of the hormone insulin in the blood, in addition to stimulating the body to use sugar reserves and fat cells, which directly contributes to weight loss.Understand better how intermittent fasting can help you lose weight;
  6. Preventing sagging: Intermittent fasting promotes increased levels of GH hormone (growth hormone) in the blood. With this, in addition to this hormone facilitating the burning of fat in the body, it also helps to increase muscle mass, preventing sagging;
  7. Detoxify the body: not eating for a short period, drinking plenty of water and avoiding fatty and high-sugar foods, reduces the levels of sugar and fat in the body, the which helps to balance the intestinal flora and detoxify the body, preventing he alth problems such as asthma, arthritis, cancer and hepatic steatosis;
  8. Reduce the risk of heart disease: as it is a diet rich in fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, intermittent fasting prevents the formation of fatty plaques in the blood, helping to decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis;
  9. Preventing premature aging: reducing the consumption of sugar and fat, and prioritizing foods rich in fiber and vitamins, as in the intermittent fasting diet, helps to reduce inflammation, promote hydration, increase collagen production, decreasing wrinkles and premature aging.

During intermittent fasting, it is also possible to feel more alert, improve memory, have more energy, better mood and general feeling of well being.

When not indicated

Intermittent fasting is contraindicated in any disease situation, especially in cases of anemia, hypertension, low blood pressure or kidney failure, or who need to use controlled medication daily. Likewise, intermittent fasting is not recommended for children, people with a history of anorexia or bulimia, people with diabetes, those who are underweight, pregnant or breastfeeding women.

However, even if you are he althy, it is important to consult your general practitioner to assess your body's condition and carry out tests, such as those to assess blood glucose, before starting this type of diet.

In our podcast, nutritionist Tatiana Zanin clarifies the main doubts about intermittent fasting, what its benefits are, how to do it and what to eat after fasting:

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