Updated: Sep 14, 2022
Hop on any health or fitness website, instagram, or Tik Tok and you're likely to hear a hot buzzword right now: intermittent fasting. So what exactly is intermittent fasting and is it truly the magic pill many claim it to be?
In a nutshell, intermittent fasting is simply narrowing the time you consume foods from a full 24 hours to say 18, 16, 12 or even 8 hours (less is rarely recommended). For example, many people practice a pattern of 12:12 intermittent fasting. They have a 12 hour window in which they consume food, and a 12 hour window in which they fast. This is a fairly easy split to follow as a majority of your fasting time is spent asleep! There are a few obvious benefits to practicing an intermittent fasting way of eating:
Narrower window of eating = less food consumed (theoretically).
If you are counting calories, your meals can often be bigger. If you are only eating twice a day versus 3 or 4 times a day, you have a surplus of calories to spread over 2 meals.
But is there more to this fasting stuff? Can it have a positive impact on your health too?
The answer is a resounding YES!
More and more research is starting to show that our bodies really do prefer a time of consumption and a time of rest from digestion. Benefits can include:
Reduced risk of neurological disease such as Alzheimer's
Insulin levels drop and human growth hormone increases
Lower blood sugar levels
Reduces risk of heart disease
Reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Reduced oxidative damage and inflammation in the body
Aids in the degeneration and recycling of cellular waste
Can help maintain hormonal balance
There are people who should not practice intermittent fasting:
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
If you currently have or have had an eating disorder
If you take medications that require food
If you have a blood sugar related disease
So I promised to not only tell you what intermittent fasting WAS, but also what it is NOT. What it is not is the proverbial magic pill or quick fix. It is just another tool to add to your arsenal on your quest towards optimal health and wellness. It is always the small habit changes, the behavior tweaks, that will ultimately OVER TIME WITH CONSISTENCY help you achieve your health goals. xoxo