Intermittent fasting is a big buzzword in the health space, and I get a lot of questions on whether it’s a healthy strategy to utilize and why it's all the rage. Today I'll answer these questions; watch the video below or read on to learn more!
Intermittent fasting includes a window of eating followed by a longer window of fasting, or not eating. Before we get into all of the terrific health benefits of intermittent fasting, I want to answer the question in the back of everyone’s head: isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day? If you’re a sugar burner with blood sugar regulation dysfunction, yes, breakfast is important.
What I mean by sugar burner is that your body relies on glucose, in the form of eating carbohydrates, to make cellular energy. Since glucose is a quick-burning fuel in comparison to fat and protein, it requires constant replenishing. So, sugar burners typically need to eat carbohydrates every 3-4 hours or their blood sugar will drop, and they’ll start to feel crummy with hangry feelings, headaches, fatigue, and weakness. For these people, fasting can feel miserable. People with adrenal dysfunction may also struggle with intermittent fasting if they’re following a carbohydrate-driven diet, because they tend to experience more significant low blood sugar symptoms.
You may have heard me talk about a keto-paleo style of eating to support the body. A keto-paleo style of eating allows the body to use fat for fuel instead of glucose. When your body relies on fat for fuel, intermittent fasting is much easier, and people don’t experience as many unpleasant symptoms. For fat burners, breakfast no longer has to be the most important meal of the day!
I have designed the meal plans and recipes in the Reset & Revitalize Program around a keto-paleo style of eating. In the program I also delve into how to begin incorporating intermittent fasting into your life.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Now I want to touch on the many benefits of intermittent fasting.
- Increases a compound in the brain called BDNF, which stands for Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. This compound increases resistance of brain neurons to dysfunction and degeneration
- Increases lifespan - caloric restriction has been known for a very long time to increase lifespan, and intermittent fasting is shown to have very similar biological effects of caloric restriction. Part of the mechanism for this effect is that these techniques cause something called mitochondrial autophagy, which is where our bodies clean up, or get rid of, damaged mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy producers in our cells.
- Decreases the risk for cancer, cancer recurrence, and cancer related mortality
- Decreases the risk for cardiovascular disease
- Helps promote weight loss
- Decreases fat mass while maintaining muscle mass
- Improves blood glucose control for diabetics
Since I’m all about finding ways to live healthier for longer, intermittent fasting is an absolute must given these amazing health benefits!
Intermittent Fasting Strategies
There are various strategies for performing intermittent fasting, but I’ll cover four common strategies here.
- A 5:2 pattern - eating normally for five days and significantly reducing calories to 400-500 per day the remaining two days
- A 24-hour fast - consuming only non-caloric beverages like coffee, tea, and water one day per week
- Alternate day fasting - restricting calories to 400-500 one day, and eating your normal diet the following day
- Time restricted eating - incorporating a fasting window anywhere from 12 hours to 20 hours per day and eating normally during the feeding window, which spans the remaining hours of that day.
Intermittent fasting doesn’t need to be done seven days per week to reap the benefits. Even just one day per week can be helpful, but I think consistency is the key. My husband and I do a 16-hour fast about 5-6 days per week. One day on the weekend we go out for breakfast, and there might be one other day of the week where we fast for 12 hours instead of 16. We’ll make a keto-paleo style breakfast at home that day.
To summarize, I think intermittent fasting is an excellent strategy to incorporate for overall health improvements. However, as I mentioned earlier, it’s not for everyone, especially:
- People who follow a diet that forces their metabolism to depend on carbohydrates as a fuel source and have resulting blood sugar regulation dysfunction
- People with adrenal hormone dysfunction
I hope you found this information helpful in living a more revitalized life, and remember, if you’re looking for more direction and a step-by-step plan to help with your health struggles, make sure to check out the Reset & Revitalize program. We’re getting great feedback from people; they love the manageable format, and the results, so far, have been amazing.
If you follow intermittent fasting, leave a comment below and let me know what you love about it!
Like this post? Share it with friends.