Have you made New Year’s resolutions about your health? What you eat and how you eat it have a significant impact on virtually every aspect of health. If you’ve looked into different ways to eat healthier, you may have come across the idea of intermittent fasting before. How well do you understand the basics?
Intermittent fasting focuses on limiting when you eat, rather than what you eat. There are a few common methods or patterns people use to determine when they eat and when they fast. First, there’s the 16/8 method. This method limits your eating time to 8 consecutive hours of the day. You fast for the other 16. Second, there’s the eat-stop-eat method. In this method, you fast for 24 hours once or twice a week, eating as normal on the other days. Third, there’s the 5:2 method. For this method, you eat normally for five days out of the week. During the other two, you limit your caloric intake to 500-600 calories per day on two non-consecutive days.
Most people who participate in intermittent fasting do so for weight control benefits. In addition to helping with weight loss and loss of belly fat, intermittent fasting has also been shown to help with reducing insulin resistance, inflammation markers, and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Some animal studies have suggested that it may reduce the risk of cancer and Alzheimers, and even extend lifespan.
As great as the benefits of intermittent fasting can be, it’s not for everyone. Those who are underweight or have eating disorders shouldn’t engage in intermittent fasting without supervision and guidance from a healthcare professional. The same goes for anyone with diabetes or low blood pressure, as well as anyone pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or is nursing. Women may also not benefit from intermittent fasting as much as men do, especially regarding blood sugar control.
Intermittent fasting has become a popular health and fitness trend over the last few years. While it works well for some people, it’s not the right fit for everyone. It’s always best to talk to your doctor about your dietary needs and goals. They’ll help you determine if intermittent fasting could be a good option for you. Together you can come up with a realistic, healthy plan that will help you live a healthier life in 2023 and beyond.
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