Physical Health, Wellness / Self-Care

Is Intermittent Fasting actually good for you?

Hint: You have to do it right.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Jun 18, 2022

Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that switches between fasting and eating on a regular schedule. Research shows that intermittent fasting is a way to manage your weight and prevent — or even reverse — some forms of disease. But how do you do it? And is it safe?

 

Rather than focusing on what to eat, intermittent fasting focuses on when. As in, you choose a specific time when you eat, fasting for multiple hours a day. Alternatively, some choose to eat a single meal for a couple days a week. This diet is said to help burn body fat. In the past, intermittent fasting had health benefits because humans lived completely differently. Now, we are in a digital age. Plus, we stay awake for long hours and snack constantly. Some use intermittent fasting to cut these habits out.

 

How does intermittent fasting work?

While the methods vary, the general idea is the same: Choose when to eat and when to fast. This could look like fasting 3 days a week. Alternatively, maybe you choose to only eat during a set number of hours 2 days a week.

 

The reason the body can sustain itself during fasting periods is because it begins to run off of sugar stores in the body—thus, burning fat. This process is known as metabolic switching. When you fast intermittently, you make your body depend on burning fat stores, rather than eating 3 times a day and running on calories.

 

Ok, so when would I eat?

If you decide to try intermittent fasting, it’s important to consult with your healthcare professional. It should be noted that this diet may not be recommended for everyone. But if you get the green light, the planning is up to you. Some people choose to go about it daily—eating during one period of about 6-8 hours. Others go with 16/8, which is fasting for 16 hours, and eating within 8. A popular method is eating regularly for 5 days a week, and for 2 days, eating one meal of 500-600 calories.

 

Take note that if you choose to go with full days of fasting, you could be in the danger zone. Above, meals were involved during every day of the fasting process. You must eat something, and enough to sustain yourself while you’re fasting. Plus, your body will store more fat in response to starving. While you’re getting used to intermittent fasting, you might experience an adjusting period. Feeling hangry is a common response for up to 4 weeks, so be mindful of that.

 

What can I eat while intermittent fasting?

When you’re fasting, you’re allowed to consume water, black coffee, and tea. During eating times, you’re allowed to pig out if you want to, but don’t neglect nutrition. After all, you’ll be able to enjoy a wide range of meals, and food is a delicious way to treat your body well. Some people choose to adapt to specific diets, like Mediterranean, to accompany their eating periods. Of course, leafy greens, protein, healthy fats, and whole grains are never a bad idea.

 

What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?

It’s been proven that intermittent fasting burn fat, but there are other benefits. For instance, metabolic switching involves the body and brain—meaning, that they will have to adapt to the change as well. You might experience improved memory. Additionally, you might see improved heart health, physical performance, tissue health, and a lesser chance of diabetes and obesity.

 

Is intermittent fasting safe?

There are many reasons why people may choose to fast intermittently. This includes management of conditions like IBS, arthritis, or high cholesterol. But, like we noted above, this isn’t for everyone. Check with your doctor, but it isn’t recommended for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a history of eating disorders, are under 18, or have diabetes or blood sugar problems.

 

Regardless of what and when you’re eating, here are some key foods that you should be putting into your diet to improve your health, including kale.