If you’ve heard of keto or gluten-free, and who hasn’t, then you’re probably also familiar with intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is one of the most common diets of 2019. And while all weight loss diets are restrictive in some sense, intermittent fasting is a little different than most. Rather than restricting what you eat, intermittent fasting restricts when you eat. There are different ways that people approach fasting, but the most common method is by controlling the window of time each day during which you consume food.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
The most common practice is to restrict your eating, or feeding, period to an 8 hour window each day. This means that you’ll go without food for 16 hours every day. On the surface this may sound difficult, but when you factor in your sleep schedule, it usually works out to swapping breakfast for a later lunch, and eliminating late-night snacking. Though it doesn’t impose any restrictions on the type of food you’re allowed to eat, many people on the diet find themselves making more mindful and healthy choices. Anything with calories counts. So if you’re doing it properly, you shouldn’t have juices or smoothies during your fasting window. Water, black coffee or tea are all okay to consume outside of your normal eating time.
What are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Practical Weight Loss
Most people pick up intermittent fasting to lose weight (read: fat). The idea is that rather than restricting the quantity and type of food you eat at every meal, you instead reduce the number of meals, or times you eat. Because it doesn’t impose any restrictions on the type of food you’re allowed, many find it to be a very practical approach to dieting. There’s no special shopping lists or annoying your friends with super picky restaurant choices.
Higher Energy Levels
One of the other commonly praised benefits of intermittent fasting is the feeling of more consistent energy levels. After you eat, your body releases a number of hormones, including insulin, to process and digest what you’ve just consumed. This often results in an energy boost right after eating, which is followed by a crash a few hours later. When you switch to fewer meals, you rely less on these short burst of energy, and train your body instead to use more long term fuel sources. Sounds cool, no?
I don’t know about you, but my self-control is like a light switch. I can hold off from eating junk food, but the second I have a single chip or piece of chocolate, you know that entire bag is getting destroyed. Unfortunately, I’m not alone in this. As humans, we’re good at self-control if we don’t know what we’re missing out on. It’s easy to ignore that bag of candy first thing in the morning, but much harder when it’s sitting in front of you after lunch. This is why intermittent fasters experience fewer cravings during their non-eating times.
Simpler Food Decisions
When you’ve got fewer cravings, you think about food less. If you’re the type to start thinking about your next meal the second you put down your fork, intermittent fasting may be a tool for you. At the very least, with a shorter eating window, you’ll have fewer meals to plan and shop for.
There are also a number of purported hormonal benefits associated with intermittent fasting. Research suggests that insulin sensitivity is improved after short periods of fasting. Increased insulin sensitivity can reduce your propensity to store fat. Fasting has also been shown to assist with eliminating old cells and regenerating new ones. These hormonal effects will have positive effects on your body’s overall health.
What Fasting Doesn’t Do
Don’t kids yourselves, while intermittent fasting may provide health benefits unrelated to numbers on your scale, most people use the diet to lose weight. The important thing to note is that intermittent fasting sets you up for weight loss, but it doesn’t guarantee it. Because the diet doesn’t restrict the type of food you eat, or even the quantity, you’ve got to be careful that you’re not overconsuming during your eating window, to compensate for skipped meals. If you consume the same food your normally do, but just pack it into a shorter window, you won’t see any changes.
Who Shouldn’t Fast?
We’ve all heard stories, likely from our mothers, that skipping meals will slow your metabolism. We know now that this isn’t the case, but there are a few people that should consult a medical professional before starting on intermittent fasting. Talk to a doctor if you have diabetes, problems with blood sugar regulation, low blood pressure, if you're trying to conceive, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you're ready to take on intermittent fasting, Suppy protein powder is a great way to break the fast. Have a scoop right after a workout and let the gains begin.