By Alexandra Pettit, AZFB Communications Intern
Intermittent fasting is a new diet that appears to be all the rage but does it really work? I took a journey to find out and this is what I have come up with. Many have found success in this diet and others haven’t seen any change but the real question one should be asking is, “Is it good for your overall health and can it be a lifestyle”.
To give a little bit of background about intermittent fasting and what it is supposed to do for your body, I’ve leaned on Harvard School of Public Health. “Intermittent fasting is a diet regimen that cycles between brief periods of fasting, with either no food or significant calorie reduction and periods of unrestricted eating. It is promoted to change body composition through loss of fat mass and weight, and to improve markers of health that are associated with diseases such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.” (according to an article written by Harvard School of Public Health).
This seems, easy right? If you consider it a potential tool this can be extremely hard for some and it’s recommended that you start out slow with this diet. The typical fasting period is 16-hours of fasting and an 8-hour window of eating. This can be broken up into the hours that you choose. During the fasting period, you are able to drink water and teas. This will not break your fast during the 8-hour period. When you do break your fast you are to eat a diet of high-protein foods such as meat, poultry, and fish, and try to avoid most sugars. As well as this thing green with your vegetable intake and a lot of it. Green veggies offer many vitamins and nutrients such as iron that help replenish your body after the fasting period.
Intermittent fasting can help you lose weight and belly fat but it also helps reduce insulin resistance reducing the risk for type-two diabetes according to Harvard School of Public Health.
Intermittent fasting can be helpful but it is also very restrictive and limited for certain people. If you have any major health problems you need to consult with your doctor first. You should also stay away from intermittent fasting if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have or have ever had an eating disorder, or use specific medications that require food intake. You should also stay away from this diet if you’re diabetic. If you are in an active growth stage or in early adolescents you should stay away from this method altogether.
Intermittent fasting is also showing some side effects that one might want to take into consideration before starting this diet. Studies show that this diet can cause or be linked to different eating disorders. One that has been noticed the most is “Orthorexia”. This is the obsession of healthy eating. Intermittent fasting has also shown to affect sleep, which can be extremely critical to your health. Lastly, fasting has also shown signs of an increased level of cortisol which can cause an increase in stress.
All in all, intermittent fasting can be beneficial but in the end, you need to listen to your body and what you think it needs. If you have any concerns, you should always consult your doctor and do the proper research. For me, because I love breakfast and other meals, I’ve concluded the “Fast Diet” isn’t for me.
Editor’s note: To ensure you make wise decisions consider a further study on this topic.
Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156
Harvard School of Public Health: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/intermittent-fasting/