Lately, I’ve seen a lot of articles addressing the concept of intermittent fasting – An eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. And to keep things straight; intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a way of eating.
According to a lot of scientists intermittent fasting is one of the best and cheapest ways to get to the bottom of inflammation (Nertby Aurell & Clase, Food Pharmacy, 2017, 158)
But what is intermittent fasting?
It’s when you follow time-restricted eating. For example fast for 18 hours out of the day and eat your meals between the other 6 hours. If you’re introducing intermittent fasting it might be good to gradually increase the numbers of hours you fast, from 12 to 14 up to 18.
According to James Clare, intermittent fasting can lead to fat loss;
”Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat.
”To understand how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss we first need to understand the difference between the fed state and the fasted state.
Your body is in the fed state when it is digesting and absorbing food. Typically, the fed state starts when you begin eating and lasts for three to five hours as your body digests and absorbs the food you just ate. When you are in the fed state, it’s very hard for your body to burn fat because your insulin levels are high.
After that timespan, your body goes into what is known as the post–absorptive state, which is just a fancy way of saying that your body isn’t processing a meal. The post–absorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you enter the fasted state. It is much easier for you body to burn fat in the fasted state because your insulin levels are low.
When you’re in the fasted state your body can burn fat that has been inaccessible during the fed state.” www.jamesclare.com
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Research has linked intermittent fasting to;
- Improved blood sugar levels
- Decreased risk of heart disease and cancer
- Weight loss (fat loss)
- Reduction of insulin resistance and protection against type 2 diabetes
- Reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation in the body (Research)
However, research is still in its early stages. Many studies are small, short in duration or conducted in animals. Further research in humans is needed before the use of fasting as a health intervention can be recommended (Health effects of intermittent fasting, hormesis or harm? A systematic review).
For more research links on intermittent fasting -> authority nutrition.com
I have a curious mind and I’m always eager to try things that fascinates me or are new to me. Now, when I have my days off from work I’ve gradually introduced intermittent fasting; I fast for around 14-16 hours and have all my meals between approx. 8-10 hours. For me it’s rather convenient having my first meal around 12 am and the last meal around 8 or 9 pm. However, since I haven’t done it for a long time I haven’t noticed any remarkable changes in my health. I might introduce the concept a couple of days a week and see if I notice any benefits.
Anyways, something I have noticed by following this eating pattern is that it has made me more productive – I get more stuff done in the morning! I usually practise yoga, go for a morning walk, smash out a gym session or get stuff done on the computer. However, this is on my days off. Normally I work on a cruise ship and I don’t know if I could go without having my breakfast around 7 am… But. You never know if you don’t try. Intermittent fasting is probably not for everyone, but if you’re curious – experiment and try it out!
And, I still LOVE my breakfast so I just have it a couple of hours later than normal.
Worth mentioning is; I don’t restrict my calories, I just choose to have them between 8-10 hours, letting my digestive system rest the remaining hours. I’m at least curious to see if it will have some positive affects on my IBS, considering I’m giving my digestive system a break.
Tips for intermittent fasting
- Introduce it gradually; begin with either having your breakfast a couple of hours later OR having the last meal a couple of hours earlier than you normally do.
- Begin with a couple of days a week. Then increase the days you fast with 4 up to 7 days a week.
- Drink a lot of tea and water during the hours you fast. (You can of course enjoy your morning coffee.)
- If you need something first thing in the morning; have a green drink. It takes two to three hours for the body to digest raw and green vegetables so the fast continues for at leat 2 hours although you had that green smoothie (Nertby Aurell & Clase, Food Pharmacy, 2017, 158).