As a primary care physician, I often get asked about the latest trends in health and wellness. One of the most popular topics I've seen lately is Intermittent Fasting. In this blog post, we'll dive into what Intermittent Fasting is, its potential benefits, and some considerations to keep in mind before trying it.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern that alternates between periods of fasting and periods of feeding. There are several different methods of Intermittent Fasting, each with its own specific guidelines, but the most common are:
- 16/8 Method: This involves fasting for 16 hours and eating during an 8-hour window. For example, if you finish your last meal at 7 PM, you wouldn't eat again until 11 AM the next day.
- 5:2 Diet: This involves eating normally for 5 days and reducing caloric intake to 500-600 calories for the remaining 2 days.
- Alternate Day Fasting: This involves alternating between days of normal eating and days of restricted caloric intake.
- One Meal A Day or OMAD: This involves fasting except for when eating one single daily meal in a short window of time.
Potential Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Studies have shown that Intermittent Fasting can have several potential benefits, including:
- Weight Loss: Intermittent Fasting can lead to weight loss by reducing caloric intake and increasing insulin sensitivity. High insulin sensitivity allows the cells of the body to use blood glucose more effectively, reducing blood sugar and preventing conditions like Type 2 Diabetes. It also enhances the function of hormones that breakdown stubborn fat and use the fat for energy elsewhere in the body.
- Improved Metabolic Health: Intermittent Fasting has been shown to improve markers of metabolic health, such as reducing insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar levels, and reducing inflammation.
- Increased Longevity: Intermittent Fasting has been shown to increase lifespan in animal studies, and some research suggests that it may have similar effects in humans.
- Increased Cognitive Function: Intermittent Fasting has been shown to improve cognitive function, particularly in aging populations at risk for dementia and other neuroinflamatory diseases.
Considerations Before Trying Intermittent Fasting
While Intermittent Fasting has many potential benefits, there are also some considerations to keep in mind before trying it.
- Medical Conditions: Intermittent Fasting may not be appropriate for individuals with certain medical conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, hypoglycemia, or a history of eating disorders.
- Medications: Some medications, such as insulin, may need to be adjusted when starting Intermittent Fasting. It is important to discuss any changes to your eating pattern with your doctor to ensure that your medications are adjusted appropriately.
- Fasting-Induced Hypoglycemia: Fasting can lead to low blood sugar levels, particularly in individuals who have difficulty regulating their blood sugar. It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly while fasting and to adjust your medications as needed.
Intermittent Fasting is a popular trend in health and wellness, and there is some evidence to suggest that it may have several potential benefits. However, it is important to discuss any changes to your eating pattern with a skille doctor like Sr. Stephanie Opusunju at Elam Health and Wellness, particularly if you have any medical conditions or are taking medications, to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you.
If you would like to learn more about dieting and weight loss options that will help you lose weight for good, please call us to schedule an appointment or use the online booking tool on this website.