Intermittent fasting has become a popular dietary trend as people use this structured eating plan to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyles.
Registered dietician and founder of Newtricion Wellness Dieticians, Omy Naidoo, says fasting has been around for decades and many within society still practice some form of fasting for religious reasons.
Intermittent fasting defined
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a dietary strategy in which the adherent undergoes a voluntary fast for a specific time period.
The benefit of fasting is that your body starts to break down fat after 12 hours – you typically store fat after eating a meal. Some experts refer to this process as a way to “flip your metabolism’s switch”.
“The (potential) benefits of IF include weight loss, some improvements in blood glucose levels, anti-ageing effects, and a reduction in cardiovascular, as well as cancer risks,” states Naidoo.
Naidoo believes the best IF approach is the 16/8 structure, which requires that you consume all your calories within an eight-hour window. This would mean having supper at 6 pm and then your next meal at 10 am the next morning.
Adherents typically experience the best results when they combine IF and calorie restriction. This means remaining mindful of the foods you eat during the eight-hour window.
Not for everyone
While there is growing evidence that IF has its benefits, it is crucial to remember it may not be an approach that works for everyone.
“It is important to work with an expert such as a registered dietician, to determine which strategy would be the best for you. Remember, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach,” continues Naidoo.
Naidoo cautions that IF does not always yield positive results from a health perspective – eating this way can cause hypoglycemia for diabetic people and low blood sugar levels in pregnant women.
“Although intermittent fasting can seem convenient, it is advisable that you consult your medical practitioner before implementing it, especially if you have a medical condition,” concludes Naidoo.
READ MORE: 7 steps to your leanest body ever