Remember when eating fat free food and small frequent meals were all the fad? Well, new research has confirmed that probably isn’t the healthiest route anymore. Intermittent fasting basically refers to occasionally reducing or eliminating food intake for a period of time. There are great health benefits to fasting for periods of time (skipping meals), if done so in an informed way.

Benefits of intermittent fasting

1.Cancer and Heart Disease Prevention

Studies have shown that the benefits of caloric restriction can be obtained in ways besides just reducing overall calories, and that there are other methods that might be more effective. Studies show that when people fasted on alternate days they not only showed the same benefits as caloric restriction groups, but also showed an increased ability to lose weight and improvements in coronary heart disease risk factors. This has even demonstrated a reduced proliferation of cancer cells in people who practiced intermittent fasting.

2. Mental Health

These days most people live to eat, not eat to live. Excessive calorie intake over a long period of time can compromise cell function and promote cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancers. Restricting your calories can have a positive effect on brain function and vulnerability to injury and disease. It can also stimulate production of new neurons and stem cells and enhance synaptic plasticity according to the National Institute on Aging.

3. Fitness and Health

Intermittent fasting can help facilitate weight loss and muscle growth. Working out while fasting allows the body to burn fat instead of easy accessible carbohydrates, that you would usually get from eating before-hand.

Types of fasting

  1. 16- Hour Fast/8-Hour Window– One of the easiest forms of fasting that includes all of the benefits listed above. This type of fasting allows you to eat every day and only feel mildly hungry. You eat all your meals in an 8-hour window and don’t eat at other times or while you are sleeping. This allows your body to have a 16- hour fast with only minor adjustments to your eating schedule.
  2. 24 Hour Fast Still Eating Each Day- In a 24 -hour period you don’t eat, so from 5pm-5pm the next day no food and alternate fasting/eating days. You technically aren’t going a day without eating, and this type of fasting show the highest cancer and heart disease benefits.
  3. Full Alternate-Day Fasting- This method is similar to the 24- hour method, and to achieve just repeat for two weeks. You alternate between one fasting day and one full day of your regular eating schedule. I am by no means a doctor, always check with your health care professional before trying intermittent fasting. I hope you found this information useful, and good luck in your health journey.

As always, before starting any new diet or nutritional program, you must consult with your physician to learn what program works best for you.  A supervised nutritional program is the best way to ensure that your body keeps getting all needed vitamins and minerals for your individual lifestyle.

Thank you for reading.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to add them to the section below.

Photo by tyler gebhart on Unsplash


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