Intermittent Fasting And Calorie Restriction
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In order to avoid becoming obese and also maintain good health, people are asked to follow strict diet and exercise regimen. Most of these diet related programs restrict eating certain types of foods or regulate the intervals in which a person can eat. In general, they also involve curbing your taste buds and refraining from eating those food items that you really love.
Of late, a lot of research has gone into calorie restriction diet (CR) which is found to decrease the incidence of various diseases that arise due to aging, stress, chronic conditions, etc. Experiments have been conducted on rodents and they are found to live longer and stay healthier by following this diet.
A CR diet aims to reduce the amount of calories consumed by an individual without compromising on the quality of food and the nutritional requirements of the body. Over a period of time, this restriction reduces blood sugar and insulin levels, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and also helps in healthy weight loss. It helps largely in reducing the incidence of various common diseases that arise during old age. Though the benefits have been determined so far, the longevity of human life due to CR diets is yet to be thoroughly studied. (See Reference 1)
However, calorie restriction is not quite easy as one has to be conscious of every food item or snack popped into the mouth. Such stringent restrictions on a daily basis can cause irritability and depression as you train your mind to be continuously deprived of certain preferred food items. In addition, extreme calorie restriction regimen can reverse the beneficial effect and result in various deficiencies if care is not taken (See Reference 1)
Hence, research teams have come up with another diet regimen which allows you to eat all you want but restrict you from eating for certain period of time at regular intervals. This is called intermittent fasting. Fasting involves entirely depriving your body of food for certain predetermined time period. But it does not enforce any diet restrictions during those times when you are allowed to eat. (See Reference 1)
Scientists believe that avoiding consumption of food for a short period of time at regular intervals offers much better benefits than following a restrictive CR diet. When research was conducted on this method, animals were fed on alternate days. But on the days they were allowed to eat, they ate double the normal amount. (See Reference 1)
Intermittent fasting is found to reduce oxidative stress and increase the amount of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). BDNF helps in the growth of new nerve cells in the brain and protects it from stress and toxins. (See Reference 1)
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