Intermittent Fasting


Article by Dr. Layla Sade

Photography by Layla Sade

Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat. 

What can I eat while intermittent fasting?

During the times when you’re not eating, water, black coffee and herbal tea are permitted. And during your eating periods, “eating normally” does not mean going crazy. You’re not likely to lose weight or get healthier if you pack your feeding times with high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried items and treats.

Intermittent fasting is nothing new, but what is new is that clinical research on the benefits of intermittent fasting for health and longevity is beginning to tell an interesting story.

Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting include:

* Reduced insulin resistance and improved glucose homeostasis

* Reduced blood lipids (including triglycerides and LDL)

* Reduced blood pressure

* Reduced oxidative stress

* Reduced risk of cancer

* Increased cellular turnover and repair

* Increased fat burning

* Increased growth hormone release

* Increased metabolic rate

* Improved memory and cognitive function

Choosing a fasting protocol:

1. Alternate day fasting (ADF)

ADF requires individuals to restrict calories (25% of their usual intake) only every other day. This strategy is perhaps the most restrictive protocols and is a true intermittent fast.

2. Modified ADF

To improve compliance to ADF, a modified ADF was developed which involves fast days where individuals consume 25% of their usual intake (approximately 500 kcal for women and 600 kcal for men), alternated with a feast days where individuals are permitted to consume as usual.

3. 5:2 protocol

The 5:2 plan involves eating normally for five days of the week and cutting calories to about 25% of normal intake on two nonconsecutive days of the week.

4. Time restricted feeding (TRF)

The TRF protocol suggests consuming meals within a 6-8 hour eating window each day and allowing at least 16 hours of fasting. If you think about it, all of us “fast” every day while we are sleeping. The idea behind TRF is to simply extend that time frame. The timing of the 6-8 hours window is flexible, with some choosing an early TRF where breakfast is consumed and eating is halted around 2-3 pm. Another approach is to skip traditional breakfast and have the first meal at noon.

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