Fasting has been a method weight loss for decades. There is continued research and trials regarding the benefits versus the downfalls. Intermittent fasting is a period of no or severely restricted caloric intake. Before considering any form of fasting, you should always consult with your medical professional. IF (Intermittent Fasting) is contraindicated in conjunction with certain health conditions and external factors. Some of these include:
- Type 1 diabetes
- A history of or current eating disorder
Along with weight loss, there are other health benefits of IF. It is thought that this can reverse insulin resistance by restoring insulin sensitivity. This is related to the periods of high and low insulin secretion seen with this eating pattern. IF can also influence the aging process and improve mental cognition. It is hypothesized that autophagy, which is the process that breaks down and recycles old protein and old organelles, is heightened with periods of fasting.
There are multiple forms of intermittent fasting. The most effective plan for individuals is based on their lifestyle, personal preference and, again, healthcare providers recommendation. The most widely used and typically least impacting on an individual’s life style, is the 16:8 method. This entails a 16 hour period of no caloric intake, followed by 8 hours of eating a high protein and fiber, and restricted carbohydrate diet. Typically this is done between the evening meal and first meal of the following day. Commonly, people eat breakfast out of habit, or because they’re supposed to. Waiting to eat until you’re hungry can easily lead to a 16-18 hour fast. During this time, you should consume no caloric beverages and no food. Coffee, tea, water and unsweetened beverages are allowed.
Another example of IF is the Warrior diet. This is a method of fasting for 20 hours, alternated with eating for 4 hour periods. The theory rests in the restricted calorie intake with minimal hours of eating per day. There is a three week phasing plan to transition in to this lifestyle.
5:2 is another option for IF. This promotes eating normally five days of the week and restricting caloric intake to 500 calories the other two days. The fasting days should be spread out and never occur back to back. Additionally, exercise patterns should correlate with your eating. It is recommended to rest on the days you are fasting.
These are only a few examples of IF patterns. There are many which have been researched and implemented over the years. This has become increasingly popular and there is likely a pattern that can work with most individual’s lifestyle.
Source: Intermittent Fasting by Lauren Horton Ph.D. 10/11/18
Christy Rigsby, Care Coordinator and Health Coach for GCH Clinics and Weight Loss Clinic