Intermittent fasting refers to an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and feasting. There should still be a focus on eating healthy foods, but the main focus is when you should eat them. It is not a diet. There is no focus on diet restriction. (Although reduced calorie intake may result) It is rather an “eating pattern.” Back in the hunter and gatherer lifestyles, humans fasted. Sometimes food was not available for hours at a time. We still survived! Our bodies evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time. The idea of fasting is common in many religious practices too.
Intermittent fasting usually involves splitting the day into phases “eating periods” and “fasting periods.” During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all. We recommend trying to stay to the basic fluids of water, green tea, black tea and black coffee. I call it an 8 hour window. Some call it the 16/8 Method. It involves restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, for example from 12 pm to 8 pm. Then you “fast” for 16 hours in between. Other well-known intermitted fasting methods include the 5:2 diet.
Here are some other health benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Inflammation: Some studies show reductions in markers of inflammation, a key driver of many chronic diseases.Heart Health: Intermittent fasting may reduce LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood sugar and insulin resistance.Brain Health: Intermittent fasting increases a brain hormone called Brain-derived neurotrophic factor which aids the growth of new nerve cells.What we love best about intermittent fasting: One of the major benefits of intermittent fasting is that it makes healthy eating simpler. There are fewer meals that you need to prepare, cook and clean up after. Hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting. You may also feel tired or weak. This may only be temporary, as it can take some time for your body to adapt to the new meal schedule.
Please note, intermittent fasting is not suitable for everyone. Please consult with your health care practitioner if intermitted fasting is suitable for you, specifically if you are pregnant or have certain medical conditions such as diabetes. There may be some side effects. Intermitted fasting alone is not recommended. A healthy diet and active lifestyle is recommended. Results may vary.
Ease into it, and if you have any problems like amenorrhea then stop doing it immediately.
If you have problems with fertility and/or are trying to conceive, then consider holding off on intermittent fasting for now. Intermittent fasting is probably a bad idea when pregnant or breastfeeding.
Individuals who are underweight or have a history of eating disorders should not fast. There is also some evidence that intermittent fasting may be harmful for some women.
Disclaimer: Results may vary. Exercise and proper diet are necessary to achieve and maintain weight loss. Consult with your health care processional before beginning any diet or exercise regime.