Intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating, can be good for our bodies. Dr. Maria Scunziano-Singh, a naturopathic medical doctor in Spring Hill, FL, discusses how this type of eating can be good for our well-being and health.
Intermittent fasting, also known as IF, is an eating plan that aims to improve one’s health by becoming conscious of what time, how much, and why they are consuming food. With IF, you remain in a fasting state (food-free) for an extended period of time. Fasting can be 12, 16, 18 hours, or even longer, and only eating meals during a specific time range.
This type of time-restricted eating has been around for millennia. Early humans adapted to long hours, or even days, before obtaining adequate food. Ancient Greeks, like Hippocrates, Aristotle, and Plato, knew that fasting cleansed the body in many ways. Religions such as Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity have been practicing fasting since their early days.
Types of Intermittent Fasting Programs
Modern-day forms of intermittent fasting can involve several types of programs. You can change your program to one that gives your body time to expand its fat stores and provide energy to improve your life. Some popular modern plans include:
So, as you can see, there are a variety of programs for intermittent fasting you can do. Finding the program that works best for you and your lifestyle is essential.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
The benefits of a time-restricted eating plan are many. However, it would be best if you still made sure that the foods you choose to eat are whole foods, preferably organic, and planned with your health in mind.
When choosing the foods you do eat, proteins, carbs, and fats of the highest quality should only be eaten. And, processed, fast, chemical-laden, hormone-laden, sugary, or artificially sweetened foods should not be consumed.
Remember, however, that your wellness should be holistic, and exercise, sunlight, love, and stress reduction should always be a part of your health plan.
Some benefits of intermittent fasting include:
- Improved energy
- Weight loss
- Increased growth hormone
- Improved gene expression
- A renewed feeling of joy
- Risk reduction and improvement for chronic diseases like heart, diabetes, anxiety, mood disorders, autoimmune conditions, arthritis, dementia, and more
- Reduction in inflammation and markers that are measured
- The need for less medications from improved health
Cautions of Intermittent Fasting
For those new to intermittent fasting, adjusting to a new way of eating will take time. However, if you make and take smart food in the body at the right time each day, it may change your well-being as you have never seen before.
Some side effects of starting a new IF plan may include:
- Altered menstruation
Remember that these symptoms are only temporary as your body is transitioning into a new way of eating.
Who Should Avoid Intermittent Fasting
Some individuals may not be a good fit for intermittent fasting. If you have concerns about starting an intermittent fasting program, please seek the advice of your health care provider first.
These individuals may include:
- People with a history of eating disorders
- People who are malnourished
- Pregnant and nursing mothers
- Women who are trying to conceive or have fertility issues
- Children under 18
- People with diabetes
So, with the many benefits that intermittent fasting provides, ask yourself why you would not make this healthful choice. The right amount of fast, taken S-L-O-W-L-Y, is a winning plan!
References and Recommended Reading
- Mattson, M., M.D., Williams, C., RD (Contributing to Article) Mosley, M., Spencer, M., The Fast Diet. Intermittent Fasting: What Is It and How Does It Work? Atria Books, USA, 2015.
- Discover the Science of Intermittent Fasting. 2015, August 3.
- Fung, J. The Complete Guide to Fasting. Victory Belt Publishing, English, 2016.
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