The health benefits of intermittent fasting

Eating three square meals a day may be recognised as a normal routine, but is there an eating schedule that could change the way you think about food while allowing you to both lose weight and become more productive?

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting could be the solution you’ve been looking for. It isn’t a diet as such, but instead it focuses on the times you are eating at.

A simple way to define intermittent fasting is eating a normal amount of food in a shorter time frame.

The idea is that you reduce your eating pattern into a window of about 8 hours each day. You’re effectively fasting for 16 hours of the day, including when you sleep. It is supposed to help the body to rejuvenate and repair which promotes overall health.

Evidence has revealed that when and how often people eat can play a major part in the state of your health.

What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?

It is well documented that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but for the purposes of intermittent fasting, there certainly seems some benefit in eliminating food in the morning.

It will mean that you end up eating fewer meals, thus taking in fewer calories, unless you compensate by eating more during your allotted hours. This will enhance hormone function to facilitate weight loss, and is also supposed to increase your metabolic rate, which will help you to burn even more calories.

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Intermittent fasting is becoming increasingly popular due to its convenience. Many people have reported feeling more energised, more alert and have increased willpower. There’s no rushing around in the morning to prep for breakfast and it also gives you more time to be productive.

Studies have also shown that it can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. This will have benefits against aging and the development of some diseases.

Things to consider

Intermittent fasting doesn’t necessarily work for everybody, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the results. Monitor how your body is responding and how it makes you feel.

There could be a difference between genders too. One study in women showed that blood sugar control worsened after partaking in intermittent fasting over a period of 22 days.

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Making sure you still exercise and eat a healthy diet is important too. Your job may also make it hard to be flexible in terms of 8-hour windows, but do what works best for you.

Research has shown some positive results, but more definitive research needs to be undertaken before solid scientific claims can be made.

Your experience with intermittent fasting is likely to be unique, so try it out and see what works for you.

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