What is Intermittent Fasting?

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) has gained popularity in recent years as a potential tool for weight management and overall health improvement. What exactly is intermittent fasting, and how does it work? 

Intermittent fasting (IF) is when you go extended periods of time without eating, followed by a period of eating normally, repeated on a cycle.

Understanding Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting involves alternating periods of fasting, whereby you go extended periods without eating, with periods of normal eating. This cycle is repeated on a regular schedule, with the focus usually placed on when you eat rather than what you eat. This is also known as time-restricted eating. Historically, intermittent fasting is reflective of how our ancestors ate, driven by food availability rather than a lifestyle choice.

 

The Forms of Intermittent Fasting

There are various ways to practice intermittent fasting, but the common principle remains consistent – restricting food intake to specific time windows. The most popular method is the 16:8 fast, where you fast for 16 hours a day (usually overnight) and then consume all your meals within an 8-hour window, such as between 12pm and 6pm. Another approach is the 5:2 diet, which involves eating normally for five days a week and restricting calorie intake to one meal per day for two non-consecutive days.

It is not for everyone, and it is important to check with your doctor before starting IF. Longer periods without food such as 24- 36- 48- and 72-hour fasting periods are not necessarily better for you and may be dangerous.

 

Potential Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Research suggests that intermittent fasting may offer various health benefits for some people, including weight management, improved cognitive function, enhanced heart health, better physical performance in some sports, and prevention or improvement of conditions like type 2 diabetes and obesity. It has also been noted that intermittent fasting may promote tissue health and longevity. Remember that the goal of intermittent fasting is not to deprive yourself but rather to establish a sustainable eating pattern that supports overall health and well-being.

 

Practical Tips for Intermittent Fasting

During fasting periods, our bodies must stay hydrated. Drinking water, black tea or coffee is permitted during fasting periods.  When it’s time to eat, eat your meals as you normally would, and avoid overeating within the non fasting period. Ultimately, intermittent fasting should be viewed as one tool in a comprehensive approach to overall health and nutrition. If you’re not sure whether intermittent fasting is right for you, please do get in contact via the Consultations page on my website.

 

Summary

Intermittent fasting can offer a structured approach to eating that may provide you with numerous health benefits, including weight management, improved cognitive function, and heart health. However, it’s essential to approach intermittent fasting with caution and consult with a healthcare professional before starting, as it may not be suitable for everyone. 

 

If you’re looking to optimise your nutrition, transform your health and elevate your quality of life, please get in contact via Consultations or book a FREE 15-minute call and let’s chat about how I can help.  

 

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