You’ve probably talked about it with your friends. You may have overheard a conversation in the gym or at the coffee shop where the topic of intermittent fasting was discussed. But, what is this much-talked-about fasting trend, and why has it seemingly so suddenly become what’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue?
The short answer is that some studies suggest that intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss, improve metabolic health, protect against some diseases and even help you live longer. Have we got your attention now?
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you switch between periods of eating and not eating (fasting). It doesn’t dictate what foods you can or cannot eat, but just the times of day when you can eat them. It involves alternating between cycles of fasting and eating.
Most people already “fast” every day whether they know it or not. Say wha?? While we sleep, of course! It can be as simple as extending that fast a little longer than your sleeping schedule. While we’re going to give you a brief overview here, you can find a gamut of info with Intermittent Fasting 101: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Despite what you might think, intermittent fasting is not very difficult to do. While hunger pangs might be an issue in the beginning, your body tends to adjust quickly. No food is allowed during your fasting period, but you can drink all the water, coffee (no cream), or tea your heart desires.
There are a few different intermittent fasting approaches people have taken, and all of these methods split the day or the week into eating periods and fasting periods. Here are the most popular intermittent fasting schedules:
The 16/8 Method: Fast for 16 hours each day. For example, you skip breakfast, eat your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8pm. If you do this, you’re fasting for 16 hours every day, and restricting your meals to a small 8-hour window.
Eat-Stop-Eat: Once or twice a week, don’t eat anything after dinner one day until it’s time for dinner the next day (this is a 24-hour fast).
The 5:2 Diet: Choose two days during the week where you eat only 500-600 calories. Nothing more.
Why Does it Work?
Um, did you read the beginning of this post? OK, we’ll reiterate for you: Weight loss. Increased metabolic rate. Disease prevention. And, that little added advantage of a living a longer life. Seems like pretty good reasons to give it a whirl, wouldn’t you say?
*Although intermittent fasting is safe for most people, health experts suggest that you talk to your doctor to see whether intermittent fasting is a safe option for you.*