What to Know Before You Try Intermittent Fasting

By: Jena Valenzuela

January 01, 2021

A plate with some food

As many people search for diets to try to achieve weight loss resolutions, Kim Colegrove, Renown Dietary Educator, has all you need to know about one of the trendiest diets – intermittent fasting.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that switches between periods of fasting with no food or very restricted caloric intake, and periods of unrestricted eating. The diet has come into popularity as a way to help people lose weight without restricting what they eat, just when they eat.

How does it work?

The rationale behind intermittent fasting is that the pattern of eating promotes weight loss due to hormonal changes – namely, the decrease in insulin levels – as well as effects on your gut and overall decreased energy consumption. There are various schedules, including alternate-day fasting and time-restricted feeding. For example, one popular method involves restricting your eating period to eight hours per day and then fasting for the remaining 16 hours. Another requires fasting for 24 hours once or twice per week.

What should people consider before they try intermittent fasting?

Some people have found success in losing weight with intermittent fasting. However, it’s important to note that it’s not a diet that necessarily promotes sustainable habits and lifestyle changes.

There’s also not enough research conducted that shows its lasting impact on health, weight, or metabolic improvement.

For most, an intermittent fasting diet is just that – a diet. A person will likely lose weight because they consume fewer calories, but keeping the pounds off is an aspect of healthy weight loss that requires a permanent lifestyle change.

Who should NOT try intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is not for everyone and it can pose a health risk to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people with diabetes, and children and adolescents in an active growth stage.

Also, it would not be appropriate for those with a history of eating disorders, as well as people with certain health conditions that require them to eat every few hours.

You should always talk to your doctor before beginning a restrictive diet such as this, especially if you have a chronic health condition or are taking certain medications.

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