Why Intermittent Fasting Might Be the Best Diet for You
Trying to lose weight or improve your blood sugar? Intermittent fasting might be worth a try.
As a rule, I don’t do diets. I always recommend the slow and steady approach of cutting out empty calories and increasing your physical activity to lose a few pounds, or get your cholesterol, blood sugar or blood pressure under control. For most people, that works really well, but sometimes, after a certain age, and especially if you’re already pretty careful about your diet and exercise, the slow and steady approach feels like you’re swimming upstream – exhausted but getting nowhere.
Recently, I did some research on Intermittent Fasting, AKA, Alternate Day Fasting, or the 5:2 Diet, for a job assignment. Apparently, Jimmy Kimmel’s a fan, and I’ve gotta tell you – I’m intrigued.
Here’s how it works:
Fasting days can be:
- 2 non-consecutive days each week, you eat or drink only about 25% of daily calorie needs. That comes to about 300-500 calories for most women, and about 400-600 calories for most men – just enough to sustain you. The other 5 days, you eat a healthy diet, moderate in calories
- Fasting days, with no-calorie foods and beverages – think diet jello, sugar-free popsicles, and water or unsweetened tea, alternated with eat-anything-you-want days
- Eat nothing for 12-20 hours each day, and for the other 4-6 hours, eat one meal, and maybe a snack
Here are the benefits:
- Intermittent or Alternate Day fasting will result in weight loss, but the same can be said for the slow and steady, cut out empty calories approach. The benefit of the fasting approach, is that in research studies, more people stuck with it for longer – ie. It’s easier to do long-term, and probably offers more flexibility
- Intermittent fasting promotes abdominal visceral fat loss (the fat that’s deep within your abdomen, not the “pinch an inch” kind). According to the research, subjects saw less insulin resistance, and improvements in blood sugar levels, triglycerides, and LDL or bad cholesterol. Hmmm…
The thing is, no one is really sure why or how it works. It might be as simple as, fasting forces you to cut out late night eating a few days each week. Or it might be related to regulating circadian rhythms, and how the body produces certain hormones that help with weight and insulin/glucose regulation.
Want to try it? Here’s a post from the New York Times which explains a bit more about it, and provides some links to the research. While there is no evidence that intermittent fasting is harmful, if you're going to try it, make sure you talk to a registered dietitian to make sure you're doing it correctly - that means, not over-doing it on fasting days, and choosing the right foods for the days you are eating.
Whatever eating pattern you follow, it’s important to do what makes you feel best. Some people may feel too tired or weak if they go a full day without eating anything significant, and that can backfire, especially on your exercise.
Have you ever tried Intermittent Fasting? How did you feel, and what were the results?
I eat sugar free jello on my fasts. It gives the illusion of actually having something to eat. I've been keto since May 06/19 and have lost 48 lbs. I'm also an insulin dependent diabetic and have not had any problems. The mental clarity is amazing when fasting.
Thanks for sharing that Lynn! Congrats on your weight loss!
I've been on IF OMAD since mid December. The first three weeks were challenging at times, not all the time though. I range between fasting 19-21 hours a day and have lost 4lbs which would budge before (I'm perimenopausal) and 4inches have gone from my hips. Onto other benefits... I almost forget to put skin cream on as my skin is so soft, I have no body odour, I have more colour, my hair is really soft, and I hardly sit down all day with amazing energy Nd mental clarity. I drink black coffee, green tea or sparkling water during my fast. I look as forward to beginning fasting now as I do to beginning eating!
Thanks so much for sharing your experience Ceri! I always encourage clients to try lots of different eating styles because everyone's body is different and it's so great when you hit on an eating style that clicks and works for you!
I'm extremely intrigued. I've looked into it recently and decided to try it on my non-running day of the week. I'll let you know how it goes...
Please do Carolina! You're smart to do it on a non-running day. I have many clients who have success with intermittent fasting OR keto, but I think everyone's different, so let me know how you do with it.
I could not do this, I know that! I tried fasting once and nearly keeled over. Not pretty. 🙁 I am intrigued by the research though...
I know what you mean! It's funny how all of the healthy foodies have the same opinion about fasting!
Precision Nutrition has done some case studies on this and the research seems to be good, for those that can hang with it. I love food and eating too much to fast, lol. 🙂
You do not need to fast lady! I wish you could bottle some of your strength and energy and send it my way 🙂
I have been intrigued with the research on intermittent fasting, but it's not for me. Not only would this curl my exercise routine, I'm not sure I could think on fasting days.
Same here Diane - the research is interesting, but it's definitely not for everyone.
I've never fasted before, I agree with eating clean and natural foods and plenty of water. I just cannot not eat. Hah But this does sound interesting!
x Kenzie // Kenzieblogslife.blogspot.com
I'm with you on that Kenzie! I'd love to try it but I would last until about 4pm and then I'd cave. Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂