You’ve heard of fasting, but what is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting, also referred to simply as “IF,” has become something of a catch phrase in the fitness industry. But what does it mean, and how can it affect your fitness and diet challenge results? Here, I’ll delve into the details behind this way of eating.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating wherein you alternate between periods of fasting and eating.
Intermittent fasting in and of itself refers only to the method of cycling, not necessarily to the types of foods eaten. However, intermittent fasting is frequently used in conjunction with particular diets such as the Ketogenic diet and the Paleo diet. Therefore, it is often associated with these diets.
When do you eat and when do you fast?
There’s not just one model for intermittent fasting. In fact, there are actually quite a few different methods of fasting, which might involve periods of eating and fasting during particular parts of any given day, or might stretch out over day-long periods. That having been said, here are some common approaches:
The 16 / 8 Method:
In this method, you’ll fast for about 16 hours per day, and do all of your eating for the day within an eating window of 8 hours. The hours for that eating window will vary depending on the individual. For instance, one person might consume all of the day’s calories between 12 and 8pm; another might choose to eat between 2 and 10pm.
While 16/8 is a very common method, there are variations on the timeline. For instance, some might use a ratio of 14/10 or 20/4, fasting to eating.
The 5:2 Diet
In this method, you’ll eat normally five days of the week, and then drastically reduce calories (to about 25% of your normal consumption) on two nonconsecutive days of the week. The idea is that you reduce the amount of calories consumed overall, but don’t have to deal with the mental challenge of constant calorie restriction.
The OMD Diet:
Also referred to as the OMAD diet, the acronym stands for “One Meal a Day”. It’s exactly what it sounds like: you eat all of your food for the day at one sitting. While one meal will likely be larger than an average meal for someone who usually eats 3 meals a day, it typically contains less calories than the average full day of eating. The idea is that when you fast for much of the day, your body will turn to fat for fuel during the other hours.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
Here are some of the benefits that intermittent fasting is said to offer:
Weight loss: According to a Diet Review by Harvard University, “A systematic review of 40 studies found that intermittent fasting was effective for weight loss, with a typical loss of 7-11 pounds over 10 weeks.”
Reduced insulin resistance: Intermittent fasting has gained a lot of attention for its ability to reduce insulin resistance. Basically, every time you eat, your body gets the cue to produce insulin; over time, the body can become resistant to it. By eating less frequently, you can reduce this insulin resistance, which can protect against Type 2 Diabetes.
Reduced inflammation: According to this study, which tested the effects of fasting on a high fat diet, it was determined that fasting caused a significant anti-inflammatory effect.
Improved heart health: Intermittent fasting may be helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides. This can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Cognitive function: A study on mice who underwent chronic intermittent fasting showed that cognitive function and brain structure improved over time.
Is intermittent fasting for you?
At The New You 6 Week Challenge, we believe that diet and nutrition is an extremely important part of your wellness regime.
We’ve answered the question of “what is intermittent fasting?”. So, should you give it a try?
Initially, your focus should be on eating real food, taking care of your body, and getting adequate rest. However, as you progress in the challenge, you may want to try intermittent fasting to see how it works for you.
Ultimately, no diet or method of eating is a “one size fits all” model. While intermittent fasting can offer many benefits, only you can decide if it’s a good fit for you.
Have you tried intermittent fasting?