Disclaimer : If you are underweight, pregnant, breastfeeding, with irregular periods, infertility issues or if you have previous eating disorders, intermittent fasting might not be for you.
Intermittent fasting is a term for various diet plans that alternate between fasting and non-fasting periods. Some preliminary research assess that intermittent fasting can produce sustainable weight loss compare to long-term calorie restriction.
Fasting has been a practice throughout human evolution. Ancient hunter-gatherers couldn’t find anything to eat sometimes, and evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time. It could actually be more natural than eating 3 meals a day.
It is also often done for spiritual reasons like in Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism.
Intermittent fasting focuses more on when you eat than on what you eat (even if that’s very important too). Beverages are allowed like water, coffee or tea. Physical exercise can be practice and can be beneficial.
The 2 most common methods involve :
– 16/8 method :
Daily 16hrs fasts. Reducing your eating window period. Eating from 10 am to 6pm. It usually means skipping breakfast, having a light dish at 10am, a main meal by 12pm and dinner before 6pm (healthy snacks are OK if necessary)
– Eat-Stop-Eat : 24-hour fasting twice a week.
The 16/8 method, is the most sustainable one as it does not involve calorie restrictions.
Note : There is not calorie restriction here ! Eat healthy and as many calories as you would eat on a normal diet
The benefits of fasting
– Increase your growth hormone and help lose fat and gain muscle
– Drop your insulin level, make your stored body fat available. Reduce insulin resistance
– Cellular repair. More energy resources are available to fix cells instead of digesting food
– Increase your longevity and protect yourself from diseases due to changes in the genes expression. As studies show, intermittent fasting can prevent from inflammations and cancer
Side effects of intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting may not be beneficial for everyone. As mentioned above, if you are underweight, pregnant, breastfeeding, with irregular periods, infertility issues or if you have previous eating disorders, intermittent fasting might not be for you.
Men tend to do better on intermittent fasting due to their insulin sensitivity. Some women’s periods can be stopped before restarting after they go back to their previous eating patterns.
Be aware of these consequences and contact a health professional if you are planning to practice intermittent fasting or if you are facing any of these problems.
Should I try intermittent fasting ?
When it comes to nutrition and diet, everyone must find the solution which suits them the best. The best diet for you is the one you can stick to in the long run.
Intermittent fasting is great for some people and bad for others. Trying is the only way for you to know.
If you feel good when you are fasting and if you find it suitable for your lifestyle, then intermittent fasting can be a great tool to lose weight and enhance your health. Intermittent fasting does not replace healthy eating habits but can be very useful for some people.