Intermittent fasting is a relatively easy diet hack to incorporate into your 2020 health goals routine. You don’t need to measure out food or do meal replacement shakes- some are better than others. There are no required weigh-ins or calorie counting. It’s really simple; all you have to do is not eat breakfast basically. I know this goes against the ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ old wives tale.
Most people do the 16:8 diet, in which you fast for 16 hours and then eat within an eight-hour window. Others do the 18:6 diet, in which you fast for 18 hours and eat within the 6 hour window.
Just like anything pertaining to diet, it takes a couple days to get accustomed to the change. By restricting when you eat it can throw your body for a loop and cause some odd side effects. Intermittent fasting may not be suitable for everyone- talk to your functional medicine doctor, wellness chiropractor or primary care about it first.
Celebrity personal trainer Jillian Michaels says that intermittent fasting actually isn’t that great for weight loss “…because you’re not necessarily eating less or cutting back on calories. There are just longer gaps in your day when you’re not eating at all.”
It’s more difficult to get the same amount of calories within that smaller window of time. Eating for only eight hours a day also makes it less likely that you’re having a big meal right before bedtime. Our metabolism slows down when we sleep and we burn fewer calories so eating before bed increases the likelihood of storing food as fat. Nighttime eating has been linked to both obesity and diabetes. Intermittent fasting really does keep you from making poor dietary decisions like eating a big meal before you go to bed. Big meals before bed are probably one of the worst things you can do when it comes to weight loss.
Some initial side effects of intermittent fasting or fasting for 24-hrs is hunger pangs, irritability and decreases focus. Our bodies are used to having glucose (sugar) readily available in the blood or readily accessible glucose (glycogen). When it’s deprived of food especially glucose, the body will activate it’s ‘feed me’ protocol.
Once your body gets into the groove of fasting, it will start burning stored body fat for energy rather than glucose. And as you spend more time in a fasted state, your body will get increasingly efficient at burning fat for energy.
If the hunger pains are bad enough to interfere with your daily life, get something to eat. You don’t want to starve yourself to sacrifice your job/school/home performance. Your energy levels and moods will fluctuate so pay attention to your body and what it’s telling you.
Just because you are intermittent fasting don’t assume that poor eating or overeating is ever okay with this diet hack. Just because you don’t eat breakfast, it doesn’t mean you should eat a huge lunch.
As your body gets used to intermittent fasting, your energy levels will pick back up. Your body becomes more efficient at using energy and this helps improve mood, mental ability and long-term performance.
There’s even some evidence that suggests intermittent fasting can ultimately help fight depression and anxiety. The body releases a hormone called ghrelin when you’re hungry or fasting, which — in high amounts — has been associated with an elevated mood.
Your digestive health may improve with intermittent fasting. Fasting gives your gut a chance to rest and reset. This may reduce gastritis issues like gas, diarrhea and bloating.
Anytime you fast, you’re giving your body a break from trying to metabolize and absorb what you just ate. By fasting, the microbiome will refresh, which in turn improves our overall digestive pathway and gut health.
According to recent research from Mount Sinai, fasting reduces inflammation ― and reducing inflammation helps our bodies battle various chronic inflammatory diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases. Researchers are still working to figure out how and why this happens, but the evidence so far suggests that the fasting body produces fewer of the subset of monocytes, a kind of blood cell, that are known to damage tissue and trigger inflammation.
Intermittent fasting has been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It’s likely that intermittent fasting improves leaky gut, Crohn’s diesease, IBS and other digestive conditions.
Intermittent fasting may add quality and years to your life. So what do you have to lose other than that muffin top or some extra lbs.
Before you start an intermittent fasting program meet with your primary or functional medicine doctor.