Intermittent fasting and calorie restriction are effective methods of maintaining important microbiome diversity.
A new study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine shows how changes in the gut microbiome caused by dietary changes can affect gene regulation and overall health, writes the prestigious Medical News Today.
Both intermittent fasting and calorie-reducing diets have a positive effect on the microbiome, the community of bacteria in the human digestive system.
Study participants who were overweight or obese were instructed to either fast for 3 consecutive days every week for a year, or alternatively reduce their regular calorie intake by about 34% over the same period.
Previous analysis showed that the diversity of gut bacteria in the human microbiome improved significantly even 3 months after the start of the study. Improvements were seen in both groups: those who were fasting and those who focused on reducing their daily calorie intake.
The analysis showed that a person can improve their microbiome diversity and possibly overall health by using their chosen weight loss strategy.
A new study supports the idea that changes in gut bacteria occur during weight loss. Researchers have noticed several links between microbial abundance, metabolism, obesity, and DNA methylation, the process by which genes change, potentially affecting our overall health.
The study is also published in the specialized journal Nutrients.
How can you follow this diet?
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are three popular approaches to intermittent fasting:
In one day: Stick to your normal diet one day and eat smaller meals the next day. Usually, the next day’s meal contains less than 500 calories, which means a small portion of food.
Two days of “black starvation” per week: Five days a week, stick to a regular diet and two days a week observe “black fasting”.
8 hour window: Eat normally, but only within an eight-hour interval each day. For example, skip breakfast but eat lunch around 11:00 am and dinner around 7:00 pm.
Side effects of intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting can have unpleasant side effects in the first period of the diet. These may include hunger, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, decreased concentration, nausea, constipation, and headaches. Most side effects disappear within a month.
For some people, sticking to intermittent fasting can be easier than trying to track calories every day. Other people, especially those with busy or variable schedules, find it harder to maintain intermittent fasting.
Skipping meals is not recommended for people under 18, people with a history of eating disorders, or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It can be difficult for athletes to provide themselves with enough energy for an active lifestyle through an intermittent diet. If you have diabetes or other health problems, please consult your doctor before following this diet.
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