What Do You Know About...Intermittent Fasting?
Diving Into Dietary Crazes (a several part series, part 2)
by Coach Kat, August 20, 2019, copyright Bronwyn Katdare' 2019
When I was a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, we were trained in over 100 dietary theories. Some we heard of were silly, like the Cookie Diet; some were popular crazes for a while, like the Cabbage Soup Diet or the Grapefruit Diet; and some were based on lifestyle choices, like Vegan, Gluten-Free, or low Glycemic Index. While I am familiar with the key players, my education and my practice is not focused on them beyond promoting a whole-food plant-based way of eating and a clean, sustainable lifestyle that includes daily enjoyable movement that is strenuous enough to build strength and cardiovascular benefits. I know enough about dietary theories to educate my clients, inspire them to listen to their bodies, and empower them to add in what gives them vibrancy and vitality while crowding out what makes them sluggish and ill.
That being said, some folks want to try out the newest thing they read about or saw on a talk show. With so many theories and crazes circulating in the media and gaining celebrity endorsement, how do you know what is healthy and what is hype?
In this several part series, we will take a quick deep dive into several of the current popular diets in the media. You will learn what it is, what happens in the body, and the pros and cons of each. Last month, we focused on Keto. This month, we are taking a brief look at Intermittent Fasting.
With Intermittent Fasting, you forgo eating for a certain amount of time. It is not about starving yourself.
There are several variations of IF: the 5:2 plan where you eat normally for 5 days and then limit caloric intake to 500 calories for 2 days. Another method includes alternate day fasting, which is just what it sounds like: one day you eat regularly and the next day you only drink water. Still another method is what I follow, where I stop eating by 7 or 8pm and then not eat again until 2pm the next day, usually leaving me with between 14-17 hours without food.
What Happens in the Body: By giving the digestive system a break, uptake of glucose by fat cells is reduced, insulin resistance is reduced, and the body is able to cleanse itself of metabolic waste.
Pros: Intermittent fasting is especially good for those with enhanced intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) or insulin resistance as it gives the digestive system a break and a chance to work on healing itself rather than digesting food. Another pro is that there are no expensive foods to find and you eat what you normally would. Many people find they increase their water intake while fasting.
Cons: When first starting, hunger can be an issue and some people can feel deprived on fasting days so they “feast” on non-fasting days to make up for caloric deficit. Risks include fatigue when first beginning the regimen and some people may be prone to low blood sugar. Diabetics should not attempt this without approval of and monitoring by their primary physician.
Should you be interested in more information on IF, please research studies (always check who funded the study to see any bias!) at www.pubmed.com or check out the book recommendation below.