Intermittent Fasting has been a hot topic lately, and since there are so many different opinions, all of the information can become quite confusing. So, we would like to provide you with a clear overview of intermittent fasting, and why it is considered to be beneficial.
So, what exactly is intermittent fasting? Simply put, it is nothing other than the cycles that occur between when you eat. Let’s call these cycles our “eating pattern”. Now, on a day to day basis we follow an eating pattern, but we are not always thinking about it and strategizing what that pattern is. When people set out to practice intermittent fasting, they are paying close attention to their pattern, and controlling how long their cycles are between eating.
The two most common ways of doing this is by fasting for a period of time every other week, or daily.
The first case, known as Eat-Stop-Eat, involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week. Typically, the only thing consumed during this period is water and/or unsweetened teas.
The second case is called the 16/8 Method. It is just as effective as Eat-Stop-Eat, but is more natural to follow and more sustainable in the long run. With the 16/8 Method, fasting occurs in the evening, during the night while sleeping, and in the morning. Typically this period of fasting totals 16 hours and is between your last meal of one day through to your first meal on the next day. In this case water and unsweetened teas are also consumed during the fasting period.
On the surface, it seems as though the most significant thing that happens during fasting is that we are limiting calorie intake, thus promoting weight loss. In reality, there’s a lot more going on when you’re fasting for a long period of time. When fasting, your body is being affected at the cellular and molecular level. For example:
- When fasting, cells initiate a repair process. This process includes something called autophagy, which is a process in which cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside the cells.
- Fasting affects your insulin levels. While fasting, insulin levels drop, causing your stored body fat to be more accessible to burn.
- Some studies have shown that while fasting, inflammation markers drop drastically, making fasting a method of fighting inflammation(1).
While it is certainly overwhelming to hear so many different opinions about intermittent fasting, it does truly come down to a few key details and benefits, and we hope this overview has helped simplify it a bit for you. As always, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or thoughts you may have. 🧡