What Is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a term for an eating pattern that cycles between periods of not eating and eating. It does not say anything about which foods you should eat, but rather when you should eat them.


How do you do it?  

There are many methods but here are three popular methods

  • 16.8 Method
    16 hours fast- 8 hours eat (ie. skip breakfast and eat between 1 and 9 pm)

  • 24/2 Method
    Fast for 24 hours 2 days a week  (not eating from dinner to dinner)

  • 5:2 Method
    Two days a week eat only 500(W)-600 kcal (M)




How does Intermittent Fasting affect your body?

Studies have shown that shorter periods of fasting can have the following benefits:

a.      Increases release of growth hormone

b.      Increases insulin sensitivity

c.      Initiates cell repair processes (detoxing)


How does Intermittent Fasting effect weight loss?

Short-term fasting has been shown to be effective for weight lost due to the following:

a.      Reduces calorie intake.

b.      Stimulates hormones release to stimulate weight loss/ short-term fasting may increase metabolism

c.       Studies show increased fat loss in the belly region (harmful belly fat)

Since the body is unable to get its energy from food during fasting, it dips into glucose that is stored in the liver and muscles. This begins around 8 hours after the last meal is consumed. When the stored glucose has been used up, the body then begins to burn fat as a source of energy, which can result in weight loss.


Are there Health Benefits to Intermittent Fasting  

Although the research to date on this type of eating pattern is still small and mostly done on animals, there is support for some health benefits from IF:

a.     Weight loss- specifically visceral fat stored in the belly.

b.     Insulin regulation/ Reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

d.      Reduces Oxidative Stress and inflammation —which may improve brain health.

e.      Boosts Immune system.

f.        Anti-aging-  Longevity.

When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged. A study, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, found that repeated cycles of 2-4 days without food over a 6-month period destroyed the old and damaged immune cells in mice and generated new ones.


 Who should skip Intermittent Fasting?

a.      Underweight people.

b.      People with a history of eating disorders.

c.       Type I Diabetics.

d.      High or low blood pressure.

e.      Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or trying to conceive.

f.        People recovering from surgery.


What’s the downside of Intermittent Fasting?

People who fast commonly experience dehydration, largely because their body is not getting any fluid from food.

If you are used to having breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between, fasting periods can be a major challenge. As such, fasting can increase stress levels and disrupt sleep. Dehydration, hunger or lack of sleep during a fasting period can also lead to headaches.

Fasting can also cause heartburn; lack of food leads to a reduction in stomach acid, which digests food and destroys bacteria. But smelling food or even thinking about it during fasting periods can trigger the brain into telling the stomach to produce more acid, leading to heartburn.

While many nutritionists claim intermittent fasting is a good way to lose weight, some health professionals believe such a diet is ineffective for long-term weight loss- also leaves out a lot of nutrition and is not sustainable.

Because the pattern is based on TIME rather than QUALITY of food, the main issue of eating healthy foods is not addressed.  At Pilates 1901 in T School, we address the issue of eating clean, smart exercise and mindset to develop a new relationship with habits that support real lifestyle change.

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