Intermittent fasting is a dietary approach where you consume all of your meals during a certain window of time each day.
The most common time tends to be the 16/8 method, where you would fast for 16 hours each day and consume all your food within an 8-hour window.
But it doesn’t have to be that exact window, we start to see the benefits of intermittent fasting at a 13 hour fast, and the benefits only increase from there. Most of us already fast for close to 13 hours because we typically sleep for 8 and stop eating a few hours before bedtime
During the fast, you cannot consume anything with calories, but are able to consume zero calorie beverages such as black coffees or teas and water.
During the eating window, you still should be mindful of the types of foods you’re consuming. If the eating window is full of processed foods and sugar, that will likely impact the weight loss benefits.
Intermittent fasting starts to shift your metabolism, allowing us to better use our glucose stores. During the fasting phase, our insulin levels will decrease and we will start to break down fat to obtain energy.
There are a few great benefits to intermittent fasting, these include:
Blood sugar regulation
Cell regeneration and reduced oxidative stress
But intermittent fasting is not for everyone.
Although intermittent fasting can lead to improved metabolic changes, it can also lead to some hormonal changes, these typically are beneficial, but there are times where they could lead to adverse effects.
Some examples of when intermittent fasting may not be the best option include:
In those who are under long term stress, with high cortisol levels.
During pregnancy or those going through a period of hormonal change, such as menopause.
Those who are diabetic should consult their healthcare practitioner before starting this diet.
With a history of eating disorders.
Dr. Samantha Allen, ND