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Intermittent Fasting

We touched on fasting earlier in the month, but lets talk IF, intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting (IF), also known as Time Restrictive Eating (TRE) is an eating pattern that alternates between periods of fasting and eating generally within a 24 hour window. Multiple studies show there are several potential benefits associated with incorporating this into your daily life! See the slides for some of these benefits!

Fasting is very personal, and you should consult with a health care practitioner before making significant changes to your diet. There are generally some differences for men and women because of varying hormones so you need to tailor your eating window to how you feel and what works for you personally, for example women tend to need slightly more calories at certain times of their cycle.

Joey at The Functional Edition is happy to talk to members about fasting and she recommends a very informative podcast below where Andrew Huberman interviews Dr. Satchin Panda, a leading expert in circadian rhythm research, if you are new to fasting or want to understand more of the benefits is can offer.

Common Intermittent Fasting Methods:

  1. 16/8 method: Also known as the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting the daily eating period to 8 hours (e.g., 1 pm to 9 pm) and then fasting for 16 hours.
  2. Eat-Stop-Eat: This method involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week. For example, you might eat normally every day of the week except Tuesdays and Fridays, where you’d eat dinner at 7 pm and then not eat again until dinner the following day.
  3. 5:2 diet: With this method, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week and eat normally on the other five days.
  4. Alternate-Day Fasting: This method involves alternating days of regular eating and fasting. On fasting days, some people consume no food at all, while others might consume a small amount of food (around 500 calories).
  5. Warrior Diet: This involves eating small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day and eating one large meal at night.
  6. Spontaneous Meal Skipping: This is less structured. It involves skipping meals when convenient, such as when you’re not hungry or don’t have time to prepare food.

Potential Benefits:

  1. Weight Loss: Intermittent fasting can help people consume fewer calories, which can result in weight loss. Also, fasting periods might increase the body’s reliance on stored fat as a fuel source.
  2. Improved Insulin Sensitivity: IF can reduce insulin resistance, which can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  3. Heart Health: IF might improve various risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and inflammatory markers.
  4. Brain Health: IF might enhance brain function and increase the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). It may also reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
  5. Cellular Health and Longevity: IF can induce autophagy, a cellular waste removal process. Some studies also suggest that IF can extend lifespan, although most of this evidence is based on animal studies.

Considerations and Potential Downsides:

  1. Hunger: Many people find it challenging to endure the periods of not eating.
  2. Overeating in Eating Windows: There’s a risk of overcompensating during eating periods.
  3. Potential Nutrient Deficiency: If not done mindfully, it’s possible to miss out on essential nutrients.
  4. Not Suitable for Everyone: It’s not advisable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, individuals with a history of eating disorders, or certain medical conditions.
  5. Reduced Energy: Some people might feel fatigued or have reduced energy levels during fasting periods.

If considering intermittent fasting, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have existing health conditions or concerns.

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