There’s been a lot of buzz around intermittent fasting (IF) recently — but what does it really entail? Think about it like this: When you get up in the morning, you eat breakfast. You’re breaking your fast from the previous night.
While you’re sleeping, technically, you’re fasting (unless you’re sleep eating). Conversely, while you’re awake, you’re eating. Intermittent fasting can be simply defined as going without food for a longer period of time than sleep and consuming all of your calories within a specific window of time.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Reducing calories (like you do with IF) has been shown to increase the lifespan of cells in the body. In animal models, calorie restriction can actually enhance the longevity of the animals, and limiting food intake might also fight off disease.
From the perspective of body composition, one of the big selling points of IF is your body’s increase in responsiveness to insulin. The hormone insulin is released in response to food. It has the effect of causing the liver, muscle and fat cells to store glucose. In a fasting state, blood glucose levels drop, leading to a decrease in insulin production, which signals the body to start burning stored energy.
There are many potential benefits to intermittent fasting, including:
Weight loss Improved mental state Increased energy Improved fat-burning Increased growth hormone production Lowered blood cholesterol Reduction of inflammation Improved cellular repair
Is Intermittent Fasting Right for You?
As of right now, there’s no official test to say whether you should or shouldn’t try intermittent fasting, but there are some general guidelines. You should consider the impact on your lifestyle.
If your IF protocol conflicts with family’s nutrition needs or your work schedule, it might be challenging to commit to an IF schedule. Or let’s say you’re a performance-based athlete: You should consider your nutritional needs, including recovery. Finally, if you’re a woman, intermittent fasting might not be right for you due to hormonal implications.
With any IF protocol, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting. Will you benefit from IF? Remember, just because your friend did it doesn’t mean it will work for you too. Ultimately, the only sure way to find out if intermittent fasting is right for you is to try it for yourself.
There are a ton of variations on intermitt