Your Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting
Your Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting
By Karen Kramser, MS, RD, LDN
Intermittent fasting is a major trend in health and nutrition these days. If you haven’t tried it, you almost certainly know someone who has.
Although it may seem like a hot new diet trend, intermittent fasting has been around for thousands of years. Many civilizations and religions incorporate fasting as a regular part of their customs. Scientists have confirmed the benefits of this specific, time honored, way of eating, ranging from improved blood sugar control to increased brain function and weight loss.
Almost any type of eating plan, including paleo or keto can be used with intermittent fasting. Not only is this way of eating easily adjusted to accommodate most eating plans, it is a powerful and effective tool for helping shed unwanted pounds and body fat.
The Know How 2 Nourish guide to intermittent fasting will answer all of your questions about this popular way of eating, including how to decide if it might be right for you.
What is Intermittent Fasting Anyway?
Intermittent fasting is a way of eating that breaks eating and fasting into certain blocks of time. In some variations of this diet you can rotate 12, 14 or 16 hour intermittent fasting with 24 hour fasting with fasting every other day.
It is thought that while fasting, oxidative stress on the body is reduced, offering protection at a cellular level. Scientists are still not 100% sure why intermittent fasting offers so many health benefits.
Throughout history, intermittent fasting has been a part of the human experience. It seems as though our ancient ancestors, who were forced to live off the land, eating what was available, were on to something beneficial when they didn’t have a steady supply of food on hand. Many time honored religions have also traditionally incorporated fasting as part of their spiritual practices for thousands of years.
In modern times, with so many different dieting options available, incorporating the ancient practice of fasting into any diet will magnify the results, both with weight loss and health benefits. With so many benefits and flexibility, it’s no wonder that intermittent fasting is gaining so much momentum in the world of health and nutrition.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
- Promising scientific evidence shows that intermittent fasting may help prevent cancer. It is thought that this benefit is due to the effects of fasting has on metabolism.
- Intermittent fasting benefits heart health by decreasing blood pressure, cholesterol levels blood sugar levels and inflammatory markers in animal studies.
- Research studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help to curb overall body inflammation while reducing oxidative stress.
- Weight loss is the biggest and most popular reason for intermittent fasting. This is accomplished by an increase metabolic rate and reducing the overall amount of food consumed.
- Scientists have discovered that intermittent fasting enhances brain function by reducing inflammation and lowering blood sugar levels.
Proceed With Caution
To determine whether or not intermittent fasting is right for you, you’ll need to answer a few questions first.
- Are you a woman who is postmenopausal? After menopause, most of a woman’s hormones are made by her adrenal glands. The adrenals require glucose to function properly. Intermittent fasting would deprive the adrenals of needed glucose, potentially worsening menopausal symptoms.
- Are you pregnant or breast-feeding? Fasting in either of these situations is not recommended, it could cause nutritional deficiencies for both the fetus and mother.
- Diabetics should avoid intermittent fasting because of obvious risks caused by rising and falling blood sugar levels.
- Those with thyroid disorders should avoid fasting.
- People with gallbladder disorders should not fast for prolonged periods of time.
- Teens and children need a steady supply of nutrition to ensure proper growth and are not candidates for intermittent fasting.
The bottom line is that intermittent fasting has great benefits, but it’s not for everyone. Daily lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, nutrient dense food, fresh air and plenty of sleep are the best ways to ensure overall health, wellness and vitality.
In Good Health,