The Pros and Cons of Intermittent Fasting

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.

Benefits

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.

Cautions

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.

Good Habits
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.


Kristin West, RD, LDN
Baton Rouge General - Health and Wellness Center

Phone: (225) 819-1175

August 3, 2018