Intermittent fasting has gained a lot of hype of recent, especially when it comes to gut health. In fact fasting isn’t anything new to humans – we have been doing it for years when our food sources were scarce, or as a part of a religious ritual or spiritual pursuit. So why has ‘intermittent fasting’ gone viral? Well, we thought we would dig a little deeper for you so you can truly see what this craze is all about.
So what exactly is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting can be defined as consuming food over a selected window of time followed by a period of no food or limited food. These selected time periods can be as simple as consuming food throughout the day and none after sunset or while you sleep. Take a look below at four of the most well-known approaches to intermittent fasting.
16/8 Intermittent Fasting
16/8 Intermittent fasting is when food and calorie-containing beverages are limited to an eight hour window of the day, and the remaining 16 hours of the day is fasting. For example you may choose to eat between 10am and 6pm and abstain over the night and first thing in the morning. You can choose to do this every day or just one or two days a week.
The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet approach by Dr Michael Mosley is where for 5 days of the week you eat whatever you like and for 2 days of the week you restrict your intake to 500 – 600 calories.
The Bulletproof Fast
Founded by David Asprey, 1 – 2 bulletproof coffees replace breakfast in the morning and lunch is your first proper meal of the day (generally consumed around noon).
Bulletproof coffee boasts a long list of health benefits ranging from increased mental clarity, sustained energy and helps to suppress hunger just to name a few. Click here to learn more about the benefits of Bulletproof Coffee and how to make it.
The 24hr Fast
This method involves fasting for a period of 24 hours (dinner to dinner is a great place to start) 1 – 2 days per week, where only water is consumed in between.
What are the Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Improves Gut Health
Just like our Cleanse Programs, intermittent fasting takes the load off the digestive system and provides it with the opportunity for the good vs bad gut bacteria to rebalance to reduce bloating, gas, gut dysbiosis. Without this opportunity to rebalance, the gut environment can encourage the growth of bad gut bacteria, encouraging conditions like candida (yeast overgrowth) which is not a lot of fun and can take time to heal.
Increases Immune Function
When the body is inflamed (which can be caused by certain foods – yes even wholefoods) the immune system is compromised and the body is more likely to become run down. When we provide our body with a break from food on a regular basis the immune system (which is controlled in the gut) has the opportunity to address the inflammation. The phagocytic neutrophil cells (white blood cells) begin to chase away the bad bacteria which causes infection, instead of chasing the refined sugars and starches which may be a part of your diet.
Helps to Rebalance Blood Sugar Levels
When we fast our body is encouraged to rebalance our blood glucose levels which can be incredible for sustainable weight loss and diabetes. How? Because when we fast (this includes not snacking between meals) our insulin levels (blood glucose) begin to decline which then signals our fat cells to release their stored sugar.
Some ways to ease into Intermittent Fasting
If intermittent fasting does not seem achievable for you personally, please do not get down on yourself. We would like to stress that there isn’t one way to achieve true wellness. Instead it is about finding the tools that work for you and most importantly are sustainable.
See below for some other incredible tools you can use to help take the load off your digestive system without skipping a meal.
- Enjoy a diet rich in plants, beans, lentil, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. We LOVE the Mediterranean Diet! You will find when you load your diet with these types of foods, refined sugars and processed foods fall away naturally.
- Don’t snack between meals and ensure that your main meals each contain lean protein, complex carbohydrates and good fats to keep you sustained.
- Move your body daily, a morning walk is an incredible way to start your day and get your lymph moving and stimulate your digestive system. Incorporating some resistance training a few times a week is also super important to maintain good muscle mass and bone density.
- Try eating in a selected time frame one day per week, this could be from 7 am – 3 pm or 10 am – 6 pm, ensuring each night you finish eating by 7 pm.
We would love to hear your thoughts about Intermittent Fasting, so feel free to leave a comment below to share your experience.