If you follow health trends, then you have likely heard people buzzing about Intermittent Fasting (IF). So, you’re probably wondering what it is and how it works. IF is trending right now, but it isn’t new. There are new studies showing its worth when combined with a healthy and balanced diet.
First, what is Intermittent Fasting?
At TimeLess, we suggest IF to our clients in addition to our healthy eating program. IF is a process of eating during a shorter period of the day or fasting for a 24 hour period twice a week. We recommend our clients fast with the 16:8 method. This means you eat for 8 hours and fast for 16. For example, you would eat between 11AM – 7PM or from 12PM to 8PM. During the fast it is important to drink plenty of water, and black coffee is also permitted.
How does IF work?
Monique Tello, MD, a contributing editor to The Harvard Health Blog, breaks it down perfectly:
The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains (think white flours and rice), are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells don’t use it all, we store it in our fat cells as, well, fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there.
Between meals, as long as we don’t snack, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy. We lose weight if we let our insulin levels go down. The entire idea of IF is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat.
In addition to lowering insulin levels, fasting can increase norepinephrine release from the brain. Fasting may also boost your metabolism with all of the changes in hormones.
Who should incorporate IF into their diet?
Intermittent Fasting can be easily incorporated into any diet. It may be great for weight loss, an easy health boost, and great for those at risk for diabetes. IF is not recommended for those with a history of an eating disorder. While it is important that you are under the supervision of physician whenever you restrict your calories, it is especially necessary with IF if you have advanced diabetes or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Overall, IF can be a great way to boost your health or increase weight loss. Ask your weight loss counselor or doctor if Intermittent Fasting is right for you.