Fasting has been in use for centuries due to food scarcity, spiritual or religious traditions, or even healing specifically for health. Many studies have shown some advantages of fasting for improved health. Intermittent fasting has enhanced overall health, consisting of slowing the aging process, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and managing weight.
What is Fasting?
Fasting is when one abstains from eating food for a particular time. Intermittent fasting is not a respecter of food types. Hence most that partake in it eat what they want within reason. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where one rotates between fasting and then eating meals. Fasting tends to cause several body changes that can result in positive health effects, including decreasing insulin levels, inflammation, blood pressure and weight. Fasting may also cause cellular regeneration, preventing neurodegeneration, malignancy, and infection within the body. Fasting has also been instrumental in improving digestion, sleep, and boosting mental energy which has the power to enhance clarity.
5 Common Intermittent Fasting Methods
If you are considering intermittent fasting, speak to your Health care provider to find out which, if any, method may be beneficial to you for everyone’s lifestyle is unique. Please note that intermittent fasting is contraindicated for people with a history of or who are at risk of developing eating disorders, have low blood pressure, are underweight, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and children. Fasting can also be a problem for those on multiple medications, which is why we advise everyone to speak to a doctor before partaking in a fast or any kind.
Five standard intermittent fasting methods are quite popular these days. They are the 24-hour or 48-hour fast, also known as the eat-stop-eat method, the 5:2 method, the 16/8 method, the warrior diet, and the one-meal-a-day-diet (OMAD)
24 - 48 Hour Fast/Eat-Stop Method
The 24 Hour Fast entails not eating anything for one to two days within a week during a 24-hour or 48-hour time frame, then eating in your usual manner for five days a week. This method allows you to eat what you want, when you want, on the days you choose to eat, but within reason to avoid undoing all the benefits you were to obtain for the period of abstaining from food. Also, consider doing some resistance training two days or more a week with this fasting method for optimum results.
The 5:2 method is known as the alternate day fast, and it consists of consuming a low number of calories (500-600) per day for two days per week and intaking your normal/regular food for the remaining five days in that week.
The 16/8 Method restricts eating to a specific 8-hour period during the day, such as 11:00 A.M.-7:00 P.M., and fasting occurs for 16 hours after eating periods. Many people find this to be the easiest method to integrate into their lives because it has the least interruption to their daily schedule and 8 or so hours occur when one is sleeping. This method can be done one to two times a week for a month or every day as a lifestyle change; there is not too much this one; it is all up to the individual to find the time that works best.
The Warrior Diet
Eat within a three to four-hour window each day. An example would be to consume two meals in a 3-4 hour eating window such as 12–4 P.M. or 3–7 P.M., etc.
One Meal A Day Method
The OMAD is a method where eating happens for 1-hour a day, and fasting occurs for 23 hours. This diet is strict and does not specify what one should eat during that one hour and when it should be, but it is best to eat a diet high in vegetables and fruits rather than one full of processed foods, saturated and trans fats.
In summation, intermittent fasting has been utilized for centuries for religious/spiritual, scarcity, or health reasons. Regardless of the reason, it is still worth making apart of your lifestyle. If you choose to use intermittent fasting for a healthy lifestyle, note that it can improve your overall well-being. It allows one’s system to heal and rest from heavily laden processed foods that can exhaust the body. Please consult a Health Care Provider if you need help developing a protocol that will work for you. You can also reach out to one of our Holistic Well-Being or Lifestyle Coaches on our Contact Us Page
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Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes
Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes - PubMed (nih.gov) Retrieved on 12.1.20