You have probably heard of the newest and sometimes controversial health buzz ‘intermittent fasting’. YEP! Lots of you have been asking us about intermittent fasting so we have compiled a list of answers to your most common questions. See below …
- What is intermittent fasting?
It is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and not eating. It’s not a diet that says “eat this, not that”, but rather you don’t eat any food for a certain length of time – usually 16-24 hours.
There are a number of different types of intermittent fasting but they all serve the same purpose—to allow your body time without food to spend more of its energy on internal healing and repair—something that cannot happen when you’re constantly in a fed state.
- What are the health benefits of intermittent fasting?
The benefits of intermittent fasting are wide and varied. Things like:
- Improved mental clarity and concentration.
- Weight and body fat loss.
- Lowered blood insulin and sugar levels.
- Reversal of type 2 diabetes.
- Possibly increased energy.
- Improved fat burning.
- Increased growth hormone.
- Lowered blood cholesterol.
- Improved immune system
- Increased Cellular repair
However in our opinion, one of the most overlooked health benefits to intermittent fasting is increased DETOXIFICATION.
Over night your body gets busy detoxing. You know that furry feeling you get on your tongue in the morning? That is your body trying to expel harmful bacteria and other nasties from your body while you are sleeping.
That detoxification process stops as soon as you consume food in the morning. By prolonging your breakfast to later hours in the morning, your body will have MORE time to eliminate toxins out of your body from the day before.
- How do I intermittent Fast?
There are lots of different ways you can intermittent fast, so it is best to pick one that works well with your lifestyle. Some examples include the 16/8 method, The Eat-stop-Eat method or the 5:2 diet.
- The 16/8 method: involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to a window of 8 hours. For example you may only eat between the hours of 12pm – 8pm and then you fast for 16 hours in between.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
- The 5:2 diet: With this method, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
- Can I eat anything?
As mentioned above, intermittent fasting isn’t a diet as such, and doesn’t restrict certain food groups. This makes it great for whatever your dietary preferences are, be it vegan, vegetarian, paleo or pescatarian.
Some people take this very literally … they do not eat for the suggested amount of time and then they fill themselves with pizza, chocolate, chips, alcohol and other calorie rich foods.
BUT it is important to remember that BEFORE intermittent fasting became the newest health craze, it was originally practiced by ancient civilizations around the world to enhance healing and recover from illness.
Therefore, it is important to make healthy food choices in the ‘feasting’ hours to receive all of the amazing benefits from intermittent fasting.
Will intermittent fasting help me lose weight?
According to a recent 2014 review study, intermittent fasting can lead to significant weight loss. In this review, intermittent fasting was found to reduce body weight by 3-8% over a period of 3-24 weeks (1).
However, proceed with caution! If you are under high levels of stress, fasting can stress your adrenal glands (2 small glands that sit on top of your kidney that produce the stress hormone cortisol). This can actually lead to thyroid hormone imbalances and subsequent weight GAIN.
All that being said, the benefits of intermittent fasting go way beyond just weight loss. It also has numerous benefits for metabolic health, and may even help prevent chronic disease and expand lifespan (2, 3).
Can intermittent fasting be done when pregnant or breast feeding?
Because it is unethical to test most diets on pregnant woman or babies, little research has been done regarding the safety of intermittent fasting and pregnancy. Woman are also advised to take IN around 300 more calories a day when pregnant, rather than restriction calories! So because of this, we would advise pregnant women stick to a healthy diet abundant in whole foods and stay away from intermittent fasting.
So there you have it, all things intermittent fasting!
Let us know if you have any other questions regarding this ‘diet’ by leaving a comment below and we will en-devour to answer them for you ASAP!
Yours in great health,
Dr Andy & Dr Jacinta x
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