Intermittent fasting is a concept that’s actually been around for quite some time, but has gotten heavy attention as of late. And although the word “fasting” might make you think of skipping meals and a growling stomach, intermittent fasting isn’t about withholding food until you pass out. It’s more like giving your body time to burn the fuel it already has before giving it more. Which I thought was interesting enough to explore!
You may have heard of the ketogenic diet, yes? I think “going keto” is a little intense and can’t imagine getting all my daily carbs from fruit and even then having to restrict my intake. But what’s happening in your body while you’re practicing intermittent fasting is similar to what happens when you follow a ketogenic diet. The main difference being that instead of following an insanely strict diet 24/7 that basically offers zero carbs and is very fat heavy, you give your body 16 hours of no food, which allows it to balance insulin levels and enter a state of ketosis.
What’s ketosis? Ketosis is a normal metabolic process your body goes through naturally, but as you consume more foods (specifically carbohydrates) throughout the day, your body burns those carbs, aka sugar, as fuel first, rather than ketones (the byproducts produced from burning fat as energy). To enter ketosis, your body must be burning the ketones, which is why the ketogenic diet strictly prohibits eating carbohydrates. When you fast, your body will turn to burning the ketones (fat) when it runs out of carbs, and by extending the time between your last and first meals of the day, you’re allowing your body to burn ketones for a longer period of time.
This is why weight loss is a side effect, or benefit, of intermittent fasting. But there are several other reported benefits such as improved cell function, meaning your body’s organs can function at a higher, more efficient level. You may also experience increased cognitive function, so say goodbye to brain fog, and reduced inflammation throughout your body, according to the info out there.
If you’re looking to incorporate intermittent fasting into your daily routine, the easiest way to do it is to extend the fasting you do naturally while you sleep. Doing it this way is called the 16/8 method. You have an eight hour window to eat and a 16 hour window to fast. Having your first meal at noon and your last by 8 pm is the eating pattern most commonly used.
So now having all of this information begs the question, is this whole intermittent fasting thing a good idea? The answer is probably different for everyone. Of course if you have any health issues like diabetes, you would want to check with your healthcare provider before adjusting your diet. Even if you don’t have any conditions, it’s always smart to have a chat with a health professional before making lifestyle changes – but wanted to share what info I had found!
Has anyone tried intermittent fasting? Anxious to know what benefits you experienced.