Is Intermittent Fasting Right for You?
People ask me questions all the time about diets – which one is best? Does keto really work? ave I tried the Whole 30 method? And a myriad of other questions about eating plans, some of which are real, and some are definitely fads (the baby food diet, I kid you not).
Another area in which people are curious is the notion of intermittent fasting. So here goes, what I know about taking a break from eating with an end goal in mind; usually weight control, blood sugar stabilization or generally improving health.
There are some health benefits to fasting such as improved blood sugar control, which reduces insulin resistance, something which is useful for people at risk for diabetes. Additionally, fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation, and could be beneficial in treating multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic inflammatory condition. Some studies have shown fasting to reduce cholesterol levels and decreasing blood pressure – both risk factors for heart disease.
Other studies show increased brain function, weight loss and increased HGH levels, which helps maintain muscle mass and strength.
It is still too early to tell but fasting could aid longevity and may help with cancer treatments such as chemotherapy as well as delay tumor growth. However this is based on animal studies, at this time.
A study of Intermittent Fasting to reduce body fat in women over 60, concluded that intermittent fasting was more effective than strict caloric intake to lose weight. The timing of meals created a metabolic synergy, which resulted in greater weight loss, anywhere from 2.5% to 9.9% in the six week period.
Types of Fasts:
If you are ready to give fasting a try, here are some of the types of fasts you might want to consider:
Eat Stop Eat
Alternate Day Fasting, 5:2 method
If you are interested in finding out more about these specific types of fasts, join me this Thursday, February 4, at 7pm on Zoom to find out more about Intermittent Fasting and see if this might work for you.
For the full benefit, you should pick one method and stick with it for at least one month, based on your personal preference. If you have a medical condition you should not embark on a fast, without consulting with your primary healthcare provider first.
The diet itself is not restrictive, meaning you can eat whatever you want. It is not about the food but the methodology of timing your eating to make the desired health change. However, be sensible and choose healthy food that is unprocessed, and stay well-hydrated, to optimize your net weight loss or increase your overall wellness.
I personally have tried fasting and found it to be beneficial in helping me sleep better and manage my cravings.
To Nosh or No?
If you still want to try fasting for the perceived health benefits, then do it safely. Here are some tips:
1) Start with a fast that is short in duration
2) Eat small amounts of food on your fast days
3) Stay hydrated
4) Take a walk
6) Don’t stuff yourself after the fast
7) Make sure you eat enough protein
8) Eat whole foods
9) Engage in light exercise
Keep in mind fasting has been around for thousands of years, mostly associated with religious or cultural practices. However, people are exploring fasting as a lifestyle change to enhance overall health. Short fasts of a day or two are unlikely to cause harm for most healthy folks, however pregnant women, children, the elderly and anyone with a medical disease or chronic condition should avoid this type of food restriction.