Understanding Intermittent Fasting
Fasting is abstaining from eating any food for a particular period of time consciously. It can have various health benefits, such as weight loss, improved heart and brain functioning, and better blood sugar control, among others. In the case of intermittent fasting, there is a set pattern of eating and fasting. While there is a lack of concrete scientific evidence to validate the benefits of intermittent fasting in cancer care, there have been multiple observations where intermittent fasting has helped cancer patients in weight loss and controlling blood sugar levels. Intermittent fasting is known to help people lose weight and improve the metabolism of the body. It also helps in reducing the oxidative stress and allowing the body to heal internally. There are several types of intermittent fasting. Some of the most popular methods are:
The 16:8 method
The 16:8 is one of the most popular methods of fasting regimen. In this method, a person can consume food for eight hours a day and abstain from food during the remaining sixteen hours.
The 5:2 diet
In this method, it is not as per the hours but the days. The individual can consume unrestricted calories, (without a calorie limit) five days a week, and on the remaining two days, they must reduce the calorie to one-quarter of their regular intake.
Alternate-Day Fasting (ADF)
This method, just as the name suggests, is a method in which the individual has to fast every alternate day and consume unrestricted calories on non-fasting days.
Common Questions Patients Ask
- Can intermittent fasting help me lose weight?
Intermittent fasting can indeed help in losing weight. It is mainly because the patients abstain from food for a long period of time, they consume less number of calories that aids in weight loss.
- What are the benefits of intermittent fasting for cancer patients?
Some aspects, such as weight loss and controlling blood sugar levels, can also aid cancer patients during their treatments. However, cancer patients are advised to consult with an Onco-nutritionist or doctor before taking any kind of fast as it can increase the risk of malnutrition and weakness in some cases.
- Can intermittent fasting cause any adverse reactions?
The adverse effects of intermittent fasting can differ from person to person. If a person who is physically weak fasts for sixteen hours a day, that person might face dizziness and tiredness from the prolonged fasting, while the same fast may not affect people who are physically fit.
If the right method is not followed to break the fast, it can cause gastritis and severe acidity problems as well. Even if the person stops the fast, they have to avoid certain foods, which can increase the stress on the body.
And so, while there are no specific adverse effects of intermittent fasting, its impact will vary according to the condition of each individual. And so, it is important to consult with an Onco-nutritionist or a cancer expert before fasting.
- Will exercise along with intermittent fasting affect my health negatively?
While there is no direct connection between exercise and fasting, it is important to consult a dietitian or a doctor. As the calorie intake and exercise will vary for each individual, and only a professional who knows your health condition can guide you in the right direction.
Treatments suggested by experts
Before you indulge in any type of fasting, it is important to consult a dietitian. While fasting has many health benefits, it can also cause adverse effects if not followed in the right method. There is a popular misconception that intermittent fasting can help in weight loss. However, it can only aid in weight loss if taken in the right way. Consuming various types of processed food after fast will absolutely not give the individual any benefit. In the case of cancer patients, it is essential to consume healthy foods and calories during the fast. And the type of fast that is suitable for each patient can vary, and so, the type of fast, a health expert must monitor the calorie intake.
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