The world of nutrition is a bewildering place. It seems like everywhere you look there’s a new diet *ahem* lifestyle book or program making the same old claims. You know the ones. The claims about how this is the scientifically proven formula for sustained weight loss and overall health, dismissing all the other diets that have come before as ill informed bunkum. These guys say that fats should be avoided at all costs, these guys say that fats are fine, and that it’s carbs that should have us lying awake at night shivering with terror. There are the people who claim that protein is the single most important part of our diet, while others claim that the western diet has way too much protein. It can be bewildering and exhausting, and if you’re a little sick of dietary advice it may be time for something completely different. While what we eat is certainly important, perhaps we should think more about when we eat. Here we’ll look at the benefits of intermittent fasting for weight loss and general health.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting breaks up your day between periods of “feasting” and “fasting”. It eschews the presumed virtues of a 3 meal a day structure of breakfast, lunch and dinner that most of us are used to. Rather than having 3 meals spread throughout the day, you consume 2 or 3 meals within an 8 hour period and fast for the remaining 16 hours of the day. There are other methods but the 8/16 method is generally the most workable and popular.
Why does it work?
The science behind intermittent fasting is actually pretty sound. After all, as natural hunter gatherers and foragers, our bodies have evolved to sustain long periods of fasting when we were looking for food. Since food is in abundance today, we’ve adapted to eat intermittently throughout the day, but if our bodies have a regular stream of energy they don’t have the opportunity to burn the energy we store as body fat.
How does it work?
Your caloric intake remains roughly the same, yet instead of consuming 3 medium sized meals a day (or even 6 small meals as fitness nuts are wont to do), you consume 2 large meals within an 8 hour window. This not only saves a lot of time in terms of cooking and meal prep it also ensures that we get more gains from our exercise, especially when we time our feasting periods to take place shortly after exercising. Your body may take a couple of days to adapt to the change but you’d be surprised at how quickly your body learns to mitigate the effects of hunger. Plus you can still enjoy non caloric drinks like herbal tea or any of the best detox teas for 2018. Black coffee is fine too and of course drinking lots of water is a prerequisite for any healthy lifestyle.
Thus, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of a balanced diet (intermittent fasting won’t work if your diet is filled with empty calories), while burning the fat that many of us keep stored around our bellies and internal organs which rarely has the opportunity to be burned when we eat 3 meals a day.