Intermittent Fasting

by Fiamma Barbieri

'Intermitent Fasting' remains a controversial topic to this day. Because of this, it's a good idea to reasearch and educate ourselves on its benefits or contraindications, to be able to build induvidual, and informed opnions on the matter.

The whole premise consists on modifying our eating schedule in such a way that our daily food intake is contained within a smaller time frame, and we are left with a prolongued fasting period. Fasting is not new(or strange), as we technically do it every day, given that the time lapse between last night's dinner, and next day's breakfast, is a 'fasting' period.

The average person will fast approxiamtely 9-10 hours during that time frame. The ideal time frame suggested by 'intermitent fasting', as to get all of its benefits, is around 14.

If we go back in time we actually get to see that people alive during older civilizations did not eat three times a day. They would do it once, or whenever there was food available. The idea of explicitly eating three times a day surges during the industrial revolution where breakfast becomes essential to withstand the brutal upcoming labour, followed by luncheon, which was an already established meal, and later, dinner to keep on working with the new electric lights.

BENEFITS:

The greatest and most liberating benefit, is the feeling of how the abdominal area is restored, specific navel. A purification of intrusion and a rest of the digestive system because it does not have to comply with the digestion constantly. So by performing this method our body can take time for itself and its own regeneration, it can also send higher levels of hydration and free energy. Since our attention is not set on meeting the schedule and satation…

It's been proven that Intermitent Fasting, and caloric restriction, prolong our life expectancy, and prevent neurodegenerative diseases due to the benefits our neurons get from it. Independently from that, it's also a great strategy to improve the health of overweight individuals. Similarily, different investigations and studies performed on both animals and humans, show us that intermitent fasting(adapted to patients) works wonders during treatment of illnesses like cancer.

Added to these benefits, is the time that is granted to the digestive system to regenerate itself, and rest. Given how constantly it's working to accomplish digestion.

DO CONSIDER:

It's important to not confuse, or wrongly conflate, this method with disordered eating, which we are no strangers to, due to how common such illnesses like anorexia or bulimia, among many others of their kind, are. This means that strong mental health, especially regarding eating habits, is required if one wants to practice this method the right way.

It's also important to take ease and consideration during periods, and in cases of: Lactation, gastation, infancy, emaciated individuals, and uncontrolled diabetes.

WHERE TO START?

It is most important to feel comfortable with it, and to have the disposition to practice it with the best energy possible. Follwing this, it's good to start progressively, and accordingly to the habits we have, for example: If the time lapse between last night's dinner, and next day's breakfast is 10 hours, aim for 12 instead.

Intermitent Fasting is divided into various types and categories.

  • 12/12 Fasting: Consists of eating within the 12 hour time frame we are awake during the day, and fasting 12 hours at night. It's the simplest to follow, and the most similar to our regular eating schedule.

  • 16/8 Fasting: Consists of eating within an 8 hour time frame during the day, and fasting for 16. With this one, it's ideal to build up to it so the body can adapt, and ease into it. It's the most popular method in the Intermitent Fasting repertoire.

  • Flexible Fasting: It relies on mindful intuition, and flowing with the moment and availability of food, always minding the necessity of a resting period throughout a prolongued fasting period. Out of all the types it is the most recommended.

  • 24 hour Fast: It consists of not consumming any sort of food for a whole day, and eating food only once every 24 hours.

  • Other sorts of fasting: There are different sorts of fasting which are even more prologued, and do not enter in the Intermitent Fasting category

REFERENCES:

Klempel, M. C., Kroeger, C. M., Bhutani, S., Trepanowski, J. F., & Varady, K. A. (2012). Intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction is effective for weight loss and cardio-protection in obese women. Nutrition journal, 11(1), 98.