Islamabad - Fasting is a practice that involves completely abstaining from eating or avoiding certain foods for a period of time. It has been practiced for centuries, primarily for religious purposes.

In recent years, intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular with people looking to lose weight or improve their health.

There are various methods of intermittent fasting, some of which are described below. Generally, it involves very low or no calorie intake for 1 to 4 days per week, then eating normally on non-fasting days. Supporters claim that this style of eating is more sustainable than traditional diets. There is debate among researchers about the best method of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting may be more effective for fat loss than muscle building. Fasting may influence cancer progression, as well as a response to cancer treatment. Studies have shown that people following an intermittent fasting plan can also adhere to a moderate-intensity exercise program.

Plans vary in the frequency and length of fasts. Dr John Berardi, an expert on exercise physiology and nutrient biochemistry, experimented with various intermittent fasting plans. He published his results in Experiments with Intermittent Fasting. Below is a summary of some fasting plans.

Dr Krista Varady, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, Chicago, created the every-other-day diet based on her research findings. Just as its name implies, this plan involves alternating “fast” and “feast” days. Fasting days consist of a single 500-calorie meal at lunchtime. People do not have to restrict what, when, and how much they eat on feasting days. Other alternate day fasting plans involve completely abstaining from food every other day.

Developed by Dr Michael Mosley, the fast diet involves fasting 2 days per week. On fasting days, women eat 500 calories, and men eat 600 calories. People maintain their usual eating routines for the other 5 days.

Daily intermittent fasting limits eating to a certain number of hours each day. The 16:8 diet is a common method. It involves fasting for 16 hours per day, leaving an eight-hour window for eating. The Leangains method is a plan that utilizes a 16:8 fasting approach, in addition to other recommendations. Daily intermittent fasting is also commonly referred to as time-restricted eating. Meanwhile, Fathers’ brains react differently to daughters than sons, according to a study published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience. The research reveals that the gender of a child may influence the daily interactions of a father.

Jennifer Mascaro, PhD, an assistant professor of family and preventative medicine at the Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA, led the research with collaborators from Emory University and the University of Arizona in Tucson. Parenting studies conducted in laboratories are often biased due to participants either giving answers to questions that they think they are expected to provide, or because they are unaware of their own behavior at home. The researchers overcome this hurdle by using a small, hand-held computer clipped onto the belts of fathers to monitor real-world paternal behavior.

The device was used for 1 day at the weekend and 1 weekday, and it was switched on to record sound for 50 seconds every 9 minutes. The study participants included 52 fathers of toddlers, including 30 girls and 22 boys, from the Atlanta area. Although some of the participants had more than one child, the data studied focused on their interactions with one son or one daughter.

Mascaro and team also asked the fathers to charge the device in their child’s room to pick up any interactions between the father and toddler overnight.

“People act shockingly normal when they are wearing it,” says Mascaro. “They kind of forget they are wearing it, or they say to themselves, what are the odds it’s on right now.”

Fathers’ brain response to their child was analyzed through functional MRI brain scans. They were shown an image of an unknown child, an unknown adult, and then their child with sad, happy, and neutral facial expressions to detect their neural response.

Participants with sons used language connected with achievement, using words such as “win,” “top,” and “proud,” while fathers of daughters used more analytical language that has been associated with future academic success, such as “all,” “below,” and “much.”

Furthermore, fathers used more language with daughters that referenced the child’s body, including “belly,” “foot,” and “tummy.” Other research has indicated that before adolescence, more girls than boys report body dissatisfaction and have low self-esteem about body image.

“If the child cries out or asks for dad, fathers of daughters responded to that more than did fathers of sons,” explained Mascaro. “We should be aware of how unconscious notions of gender can play into the way we treat even very young children.”

The MRI brain scans uncovered that greater responses in the areas of the brain responsible for reward, visual processing, emotion regulation, and face processing were seen in response to daughters’ happy faces than of sons’. No significant difference was noticed in brain responses resulting from sons and daughters having sad facial expressions.