Intermittent fasting is the concept of fasting for a specific amount of time either daily or weekly.
There are a few different approaches to intermittent fasting. According to the Mayo Clinic a few popular approaches include:
Alternate day fasting. On one day you will eat a normal diet, then the next day completely fast or have a small meal that is less than 500 calories.
The 5:2 approach. For this you would eat a normal diet for 5 days and fast for 2 days.
The daily time restricted fasting. You will eat a normal diet but restrict the hours you eat to an eight-hour window.
My preferred method of intermittent fasting is the daily time restricted fast. I recommend starting your first meal between 11:00 am - 12:00 pm and finish your last meal no later than 7:00 PM. This provides you with a 16-hour fast between the last meal and the next meal the following day.
There have been several studies showing that even practicing this a few days a week benefits your health, as long as there is a 14-16 hour fast between the last meal of the day and the first meal on the next day.
There are many benefits to reap from intermittent fasting, especially if you want to establish a lifestyle that promotes wellness. Daily fasting can stimulate important cellular repair processes as well as alter hormone levels that make your body - and all that it stores - more able to burn fat. Positive results from fasting include the following points:
Insulin levels drop: Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning.
Human growth hormone revs up: This natural growth hormone makes fat-burning possible.
Cellular repair occurs as waste is removed.
Overall health improves longevity and protection against disease increases.
In some research it has been suggested that intermittent fasting may provide more benefits than other diets. The research has shown a reduction in inflammation and improvements for conditions that are associated with inflammation such as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, asthma, and multiple sclerosis.
When you begin experimenting with intermittent fasting you may experience some side effects including hunger, fatigue, insomnia, nausea, or headaches. As you continue to allow your body to adjust these symptoms should subside.
If you are experiencing the above issues, consider gradually pushing back your breakfast by an hour every couple of days in order for your body to adjust to the change.
If you have any medical problems or are pregnant or breast-feeding talk with your medical provider before beginning intermittent fasting.