What the heck is IF? Intermittent fasting is the new buzz word in the health, longevity and weight loss community. It’s not new to the body building world however, as competitors have utilized this strategy for years to lean down and lose body fat. It’s also not new to people worldwide for centuries who fast for religious purposes because of the dramatic increase in mental clarity that results in the fasted state. IF or time restricted eating, has definite metabolic components that lend benefit to just about everyone. We need to dispel the myth that humans need to eat often. There is no science to support this, and on the contrary, research has shown that the fasting period or the post prandial period when the body is not working to digest, is a critical time for cellular repair, growth and hormonal activity. Simply put, when the body doesn’t have food to digest it will derive its energy from stored sources, first glycogen from excess carbohydrates stored in the liver, and then ketones from the breakdown of stored body fat.
Most people don’t realize they already do intermittent fasting. When we sleep we don’t eat and therefore we are fasted. A great way to get started is to extent your fast one hour after you wake up. For instance, if you stop eating after dinner at 7pm and then wake up at 7am, you’ve been fasted for 12 hours. Instead of eating breakfast immediately, try waiting until 8 or even 9am to eat. That’s why it’s called break-fast….people have been fasting for centuries! Research shows that the ultimate benefits for cellular turnover (autophagy) and fat loss is at the 16-18 hour mark. So if you can restrict your eating window to 6-8 hours during the day, you will start so see results. The more you fast, the more you stabilize insulin levels as glucose starts to normalize and the body goes into ketosis. IF is the best way to reverse type 2 diabetes. Sadly, most doctors don’t suggest this and certainly big pharm doesn’t want to tell patients that type 2 diabetes is a reversible condition, it doesn’t need to be managed with medication.
Clearly when you eat can be more impactful than what you eat. A low carbohydrate diet that avoids simple sugars and processed foods is the best way to begin IF. Hunger is less of an issue when you are consuming healthy fats and protein at meals. Snacking is not necessary! Eat enough fat at meals to satiate hunger and snacking becomes obsolete. If you want to turn it up a notch and torch more body fat quickly, try working out during the fasted state. Start off gradually and before you know it, you’ll be fasting with ease.