Intermittent fasting (IF) has been a big topic in health and wellness for a while now, but there are some things to consider before trying it yourself!
First off – what is it? IF is an eating pattern based on extending your normal fasting time (time between your last meal and first meal the next day). Say you typically eat dinner at 7pm and breakfast at 7am, you would have a 12 hour fasting time; practicing IF might extend this window to 16 hours for example so you would then eat breakfast at 11am. IF has been shown to help weight loss by restricting daily calories, and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, however there is evidence that it affects men and women differently.
Is IF Right For Me?
- If you were born male, you are likely less sensitive to calorie-restriction that someone born female and therefore may be more likely to benefit from IF. The benefits of IF for males are reducing body fat, insulin resistance, inflammation, improving heart health, cellular repair, brain health, and may prevent Alzheimer’s disease and extend your lifespan.
- For those that are born female, IF may offer some of the benefits mentioned above, but it may also negatively affect blood sugar levels which can impact bone health, cause irregular periods, and mess up hormones in general. Everyone, but especially females, should consult with a medical professional before trying IF and should ease into the process.
Where To Start?
If you get the green light from your doctor to try IF, below are some of the most used methods that you could gradually ease in to trying:
- Crescendo: Fasting 12-16 hours, 3 non-consecutive times a week (such as Mon, Wed, Fri).
- 24-hour protocol: Fasting 24 hours 1-2x per week.
- The 5:2 Diet: Restrict calories to around 500 a day, 2 non-consecutive days per week.
- Alternative Day Fasting (Modified): Restricting calories to around 500 every other day.
- The 16/8 Method: Fasting for 16 hours a day and consuming all calories within an 8-hour window.