Intermittent Fasting: Is it beneficial for health?

Intermittent Fasting: Is it beneficial for health?

July 03, 2023

When counseling clients, we usually discuss things like increasing fruits and vegetables, decreasing fats and processed foods, and choosing more lean protein and whole grains. However, when it comes to when to eat, the timing of meals, whether to eat breakfast, and if it would be beneficial to eat all meals before 6:00 p.m., each client’s needs can be different. Let's take a look at intermittent fasting (IF) — is it safe and would it be beneficial for you?

Studies have found that IF, or not consuming food for a certain number of hours each day, may be beneficial for health and reduce the risk of certain diseases. Other IF benefits include:

  • Allows insulin levels in the blood to drop significantly which can enhance fat burning. This in turn can reduce the risk of diabetes.
  • Increases human growth hormone, which also facilitates fat burning. 
  • Cellular repair occurs during IF.
  • Gene expression is altered to help protect against disease.
  • Helps you eat fewer calories which can enhance weight management and increase metabolic rate. 
  • Decreases oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • Provides many benefits to heart health like reducing blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, and inflammation 
  • May help prevent cancer and improve brain health. 

So what are some of the types of intermittent fasting?:

  • Time-restricted: fasting each day for 12 hours or longer. One popular technique is 16/8 — a 16-hour fast and an 8-hour window for eating. 
  • 5:2: eating normally 5 days a week and then 2 days of consuming only 500-600 calories. 
  • Eat/Stop/Eat: a 24-hour fast 2 days a week.
  • Alternating fast: fasting every other day. 

Before considering intermittent fasting, consult with a dietitian to see if it's right for you and how to approach this practice in a healthy manner. 

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Diet and Nutrients , Blog