Intermittent Fasting- Yes, No, Maybe So?
Don’t worry, it’s the same question I’ve been getting over & over recently! Is it the key to weight loss? Can it work for everyone? Is it hard to follow? Just like everything else in nutrition, there’s no short & easy answer for this topic (maybe one day!), but I’m about to break it down to give you a better idea of what it entails and if it’s something that could work for you and your lifestyle.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
In a nutshell, Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It’s not a typical “diet” that emphasizes which foods you should eat and which ones you should avoid, but rather when you should be eating. There are a few versions of intermittent fasting, but the most popular version involves fitting all of your daily food consumption into an eight-hour window, followed by 16 fasted hours. Quick example - you could eat between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. every day and fast between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. While you can’t eat during the fasting period, non-caloric beverages are allowed like water, coffee, tea or broth.
What are the benefits? Is it worth it?
The main reason people decide to try intermittent fasting is for weight loss and there is definitely some good research out there to help prove this. Think about it, you’re restricting the amount of time you’re allowed to eat - leading you to simply eat less and take in less calories. Fasting also gives your metabolism a nice reboot. If your body isn’t getting energy from food, it needs to find another source and that’s when the body starts burning stored fat for energy. I like to think of it as a simple sequence during the fasting period….
Body needs energy (no food left) -> Finds & munches on stored fat -> Stored fat cells begin to shrink -> Body begins to lose weight
Aside from weight loss, research has also found intermittent fasting to help with the following:
Reduction in blood sugar & insulin levels
Increase in human growth hormone
Reduction in inflammation
Helps protect against diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease
Is Intermittent fasting for everyone?
After listing out all of the incredible benefits above, how can it not be for everyone? BUT the answer is no, it’s not for everyone! For people who typically have pretty regimented schedules, this can be simple & easy. However, for others with more complicated schedules (long and unpredictable work hours), it can be much more difficult and not as feasible. Let’s just say going out until 3 am and scarfing down a late night (or early morning) pizza is out of the question here - sorry!
It’s also important to remember that while timing is everything here, it’s still essential that you’re eating nutrient dense foods and not giving yourself an excuse to eat junk! If you choose to try intermittent fasting, it is extremely important to nourish your body with satisfying protein, healthy fats and complex carbs that are digested slowly and readily to make your fast easier. Eating simple carbs and sugar before a fast will leave you feeling fatigued, hungry, and even faint during those fasting hours.
If you’re someone who is hungry as soon as they wake up and needs breakfast within the first hour or so, THAT’S FINE! Like I said, this is not for everyone and if you are on a good routine, keep it up. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it :)
Any questions? Reach out!!