Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them.
The initial research on IF was on a group of obese men with pre-diabetes and just changing the timing of meals, by eating earlier in the day and extending the overnight fast, significantly benefited metabolism even in people who didn’t lose a single pound.
Intermittent Fasting addresses
- Brain health
- Cardiovascular concerns
What is with the fast timing?
A growing body of research suggests that the timing of the fast is key, and can make IF a more realistic, sustainable, and effective approach for weight loss, as well as for diabetes prevention.
While men will typically fast for 16 hours and then eat for 8 hours, women may find better results by eating for 10 hours and fasting for 14 hours.
There is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period of the daytime, is effective. When circadian rhythm fasting is combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, it can be a particularly effective approach to weight loss, especially for people at risk for diabetes.
Additional benefits of “Fasting”
Fasting is embedded within our physiology, triggering several essential cellular functions. Flipping the switch from a fed to fasting state does more than help us burn calories and lose weight. The researchers combed through dozens of animal and human studies to explain how simple fasting improves metabolism, lowering blood sugar; lessens inflammation, which improves a range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma; and even helps clear out toxins and damaged cells, which lowers risk for cancer and enhances brain function.
Intermittent Fasting and Hormones
Intermittent fasting enhances hormone function to facilitate weight loss. Lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.
Fasting or not, make sure to
1. Stick to your circadian rhythm for meals, avoiding refined sugar and reducing salt, following a wholesome nutrition plan.
2. Avoid or eliminate late night or bedtime snacking.
3. Invest in regular exercise including muscle building.
4. Eliminate Binge Eating
5. Follow the 3-4 hour gap between meals to allow the body to burn fat between meals.
The best advice I can give anyone, not just women, is to experiment and see what works best for you. Your body will give you signals.