This isn’t the first time I have talked about intermittent fasting and it probably wont be the last. Fasting is NOT new. It has been used by religious groups and the medical community for thousands of years. It wasn’t until recently that it became mainstream and touted as a solution for weight loss.
As soon as you slap the term weight loss on anything people become interested. With over 40% of our country qualifying as overweight, its no wonder that strategies such as intermittent fasting have gained popularity.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is when you cycle periods of eating with periods of fasting. We all participate in it to some degree by going to sleep every night and not eating until the next morning. When most people say they participate in intermittent fasting what they are referring to is a 24 hour period broken up in to 8 hours of eating and 16 hours of fasting.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
While many people have lost weight following the 16:8 schedule, there are other health implications that I find far more interesting. While there has been little research done on humans, animal trials have found that periods of fasting can help improve bio-markers of disease, oxidative stress and help preserve memory and learning function.
When you think about how much work goes in to digesting our food, it makes sense that giving our bodies a longer break can at times be beneficial.
Cons of Intermittent Fasting
Fasting is not recommended for individual who suffer from hypoglycemia or diabetes unless it has been prescribed by a doctor. Long periods of fasting can cause low blood sugar, especially in those that already suffer from low blood sugar.
Like anything that catches on, people try to make it what they want. What you eat is just as important as how much you eat. If your calories all consist of pizza, intermittent fasting isn’t going to fix the long term damage a pizza diet has on you.
To achieve the optimal benefits of intermittent fasting you need to combine a diet full of whole foods with the proper amount of calories needed to keep you energized. Intermittent fasting is not starvation, it is simply having your normal amount of calories within the 8 hour window.
As a woman who suffers from an autoimmune disease and related symptoms, I found intermittent fasting gave my body the break it needed. I slept well and had energy all day long. I never felt hungry during the fasting period and was always satisfied at the end of the eating period. Since becoming pregnant I have not focused on intermittent fasting making sure the baby is getting what it needs is more important. The key is to make sure you are eating enough during the eating period. If your body needs 2000 calories to function, then you must get the 2000 calories in during the 8 hours.
Have more questions? I will be talking more about intermittent fasting during The Nutrition Repo program starting January 14th! You can check it out here.