Updated: Aug 29
Dr Leila Sahabi - Website Health Blog
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is the motion of cycling between controlled periods of fasting and eating and has been shown to have a long list of health benefits on the body.
People can choose to fast from between 12 – 16 hours up to a few days with medical supervision. Depending on their fasting approach the most popular approach is to fast for 12 to 16 hours each day.
This fasting approach is not as difficult as it sounds as for many, they will sleep for 8 hours of their fasting time. During the fasting period people will not eat food but can drink tea, coffee, and water. For many, they will break their 12-16 hour fasting period with breakfast “break fast” the term of breaking their fasting period.
For people over 50, intermittent fasting can serve as a foundation of youth helping to minimize the chance of developing age-related illnesses.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
The benefits of intermittent fasting affect both the body and mind. For many people intermittent fasting has shown to have better results then typical meal schedules at the same number of calories.
Through intermittent fasting there is a flipping of the metabolic switch that causes some metabolic changes in the body with many health benefits.
Lowers Insulin levels
Intermittent fasting helps to drop your insulin levels that alters your body’s demand for insulin in a good way. Whilst fasting our insulin levels will drop and our fat cells will release stored sugar to use as energy. Once we let our insulin levels go down this is where we can lose body weight, with intermittent fasting the goal is to get the insulin levels down far enough and for long enough. With improved insulin function and lowering insulin our bodies can burn off fat.
Through intermittent fasting many people see a decrease in inflammatory markers in their body with improvements in their immune function. Inflammation is a key driver of many chronic diseases and so with adopting the right fasting method for your body you are going to help reduce the overall inflammation in your body.
Improves Overall Health
Intermittent fasting has shown to improve overall health and well-being. For many women, they have reduced their risk of metabolic syndrome which are the health issues that increase post-menopausal women’s risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Intermittent fasting can be great for anti-aging too as fasting turns on autophagy to help clean your cells. Fasting has also been shown to improve mental clarity with improvements in mental focus.
Types of Intermittent Fasting?
To experience the full benefits of intermittent fasting you need to develop a fasting schedule that works best for you and your body.
Before starting any intermittent fasting approach, it is important to talk with your doctor first. Intermittent fasting does not suit everyone and can have some serious health risks for people not prepared, so it is advisable to contact your doctor first.
Dr Leila Sahabi will be able to advise and guide you through the best intermittent fasting method for you and your body.
The different types of intermittent fasting methods include:
12/12 Fasting Method
The easier fasting approach involves fasting for 12 hours followed by a 12-hour eating window. With this approach many choose to have a later breakfast or eat around lunch time. This approach is easier to adopt and a great place to start as an introduction to fasting.
16/8 Fasting Method
This method involves fasting for 16 hours followed by an 8-hour eating window. For many they will choose their eating schedule to be between Noon to 8pm each day followed by a 16 hour fast. This is the most popular fasting approach.
5/2 Fasting Method
This method includes taking any of the approaches above either the 12 or 16-hour fasting but for just 5 days straight. This is then followed by 2 days of a relaxed diet. Many choose this approach to fast during the week and then eat normally on the weekend.
Alternate Day Fasting Method
This is a more extreme fasting method that involves going a full day without eating food. Some people choose to restrict calories to 500 on fasting days to make the process easier. This method is not advisable for someone starting out with intermittent fasting and it is highly recommended to talk to your doctor before starting.
How Should I Start?
As mentioned above, before starting any Intermittent fasting method it is important to consult your doctor first.
For some people intermittent fasting will not work and could lead to some serious health issues. People who have adrenal stress and fatigue should not fast as it will strain their adrenal glands even further. Others with certain health conditions are advised to consult a doctor first.
To understand fully whether intermittent fasting is the right for you, contact Dr Leila Sahabi who is an experienced naturopathic doctor that fully understands the benefits and risks to intermittent fasting.
Dr Sahabi can advise if fasting is the right approach for you and your body and will suggest an accurate program with your health being the top priority.
Dr Sahabi is dedicated to enhancing the health of her patients, she is committed to help her patients reach their body’s optimum health.
By Mark Ollerton - Freelance Writer