Experts claim that intermittent fasting helps to promote weight loss, improve
blood sugar and cholesterol, and regenerate healthy cells, which can boost
neurological function. Although there are many variations of intermittent
fasting, one of the most common approaches is the “16/8 Method.”
You basically fast for a 16-hour period each day and limit your eating
window to an 8-hour period of time. Individuals practicing this approach
will fast between 8 p.m. and noon the next day, and consume all of their
calories for the day between noon and 8 p.m. Some choose to do a full
24-hour fast once or twice a week. During the fasting period, you can
consume things such as broth, herbal tea, water, and bulletproof coffee.
Intermittent fasting can promote weight loss because the fasting state
allows your body to easily transition into fat-burning mode. Other benefits
include improved energy levels, improved blood sugar control, decreased
brain fog, and a reduction in inflammatory markers and cholesterol levels.
While intermittent fasting does seem to offer some promising health benefits,
it may not be for everyone. Shorter periods of fasting are generally considered
safe for most individuals, but extended fasting times can be problematic
for women. Fasting is ultimately sending a message of scarcity to your
body, which might be deemed as a “stressor” leading to fertility
issues, hormone disruption, or worsening of pre-existing health issues.
Overall, research shows that men have better outcomes with intermittent
fasting. If your energy and strength levels are consistently declining,
fasting may not be a good fit for you. It’s always important to
pay attention to your body to identify any red flags.
Ultimately, the most important things you can do for your health are to
focus on a nutrient-dense diet, increase physical activity, and prioritize
good quality sleep. Work with a registered dietitian to formulate an individualized
meal plan that works best for you.
Kristen West, RD, LDN
Baton Rouge General - Health and Wellness Center
Phone: (225) 819-1175