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A Beginner's Guide to Intermittent Fasting

By Rachel Carver

Eating three daily meals is quite common. However, various factors such as your work life or religious beliefs can shape a person's eating habits. Maybe it works better for you to eat more meals that are smaller throughout the day. Some people swear by intermittent fasting. But should you try it?

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting restricts your eating times to a shortened daily window. It can be done with our without a calorie deficit. It can also consist of days without eating during the week followed by days of unrestricted eating.

Many plans give you 12 hours of eating followed by 12 hours of no food. Stricter plans allow food consumption in just eight hours of your day and fasting for 16.

So, Should You Try It?

Religions and philosophies have promoted fasting for centuries. But recent research suggests intermittent fasting may improve insulin sensitivity, weight loss, and heart health. While these benefits have made intermittent fasting popular, preliminary studies were conducted on mice. More research needs to be done on humans to determine the effectiveness of intermittent fasting.

A 2017 study of 100 adults found that intermittent fasting can produce similar weight loss results as a calorie-restricted diet. Some people prefer intermittent fasting because it allows more customization of a diet. It also works for people with busy schedules, who can decrease their time spent in the kitchen.

However, too much food restrictions can negatively impact a person's relationship with food. Fasting can impact your ability to respond to hunger and fullness cues. People with eating disorders or breast feeding women should not follow an intermittent fasting diet.

Fasting on the road or during social gatherings can also be difficult. You don't want to sacrifice your emotional health for a few benefits that are not a guarantee.

The Bottom Line

Intermittent fasting can be effective for some people but may not be right for everyone. Even when you fast, you need to fuel your body with nutrients such as protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Prioritize sleep. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Proper sleep will give you a natural fasting window.

Evaluate any diet or eating style before you get started. Remember you are different from your co-worker or family member who had success with intermittent fasting or another diet.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mukilteo, Wash.

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