Intermittent fasting has become a popular topic as of late but isn’t all that new. Humans have fasted for most of history, whether it’s during the typical overnight period more, extended periods of food scarcity or for religious reasons. So let’s clarify what intermittent fasting entails and if it is suitable for your life.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you go through cycles of eating and fasting. The most common is the 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours and then all feedings occur within an 8 hour window before the cycle repeats.
What are the benefits?
Intermittent fasting has a laundry list of benefits ranging from decreased blood lipid levels, such as LDL and triglycerides, decreased inflammation markers (i.e. CRP), increased fat loss from fatty acid oxidation, and increased metabolic rate that allows you to burn calories more efficiently. It is also very convenient for busy lifestyles.
What are the downsides?
- Any change to your diet or nutrition plan can be hard to sustain. With intermittent fasting you can become hungry during the fasting hours and may find yourself craving unhealthy foods. Many intermittent fasting advocates suggest drinking coffee and water during times of craving and hunger.
- The biggest problem I see with intermittent fasting is getting enough calories in for the day. It may yield weight loss, but if much of that weight loss is muscle mass, it will NOT be sustainable. Muscle mass drives metabolic rate, which is why low calorie and fad diets only work short term. Your best approach is to make sure you consume enough food and calories to support and achieve your goals so that you do not lose muscle mass.
- Finally, where do you go when you hit a plateau with your health and fitness goals? Lets say you have set a goal of losing 20 lb. of body weight. The first 8 weeks you achieved 15 lb. of weight loss, but the next 6 weeks your still hovering around that 15 lb. weight loss mark. Where do you go from here? Eat less and exercise more?? This is out of the question because your already eating on the lower calorie side, and there is no way you could recover from the increase in exercise. Intermittent fasting is better used as a plateau buster.
If you would like to learn more about how to Intermittent Fast, click on the free download below!
Heres to your Health & Happiness!