Intermittent Fasting – what’s old is new

Fasting is the oldest and best known of all health interventions – if you’re unwell you don’t feel like eating!

Fasting reduces inflammation and lessens free radical damage, correctly shifts the metabolism to fat burning, normalizes insulin sensitivity, lowers triglyceride levels, helps preserve memory functioning and learning, boosts growth hormone to build/maintain muscle.

The evidence is clear; regularly going without food for a planned period of time has big benefits. Its the classic nature cure. Ample water with no food forces the body to re-balance everything and to detoxify as its doing it.

Traditional fasting was over a certain number of days. Nature cure as it is known in India provided for 3 day, 7, 11, 21 day fasts and so on up to over 40 days. This kind of regime is very challenging and takes much preparation.

The most likely problem to be encountered nowadays is the release of toxins. Almost everybody has heavy metals and a certain microbial load. The release of heavy metals is quite damaging if not managed properly and an extended fast will cause considerable distress.

Two Simple Styles of Fasting

Intermittent fasting is now proving itself as easily accessible and safe. There are 2 types of intermittent fast (IF).

Swing IF: This involves eating on a normal schedule, then taking 24 hours off from eating for one or two days per week. There’s a lot of interest in the “5/2” diet; fasting 2 days out of the 7 day week. Generally eating for 3 days, one day off, then eating for 2 days, one day off.

Window IF: This is eating all meals within a short window of time. The best average time-frame for the days meals is 8 hours, with no (or very little) food for the remaining 16 hours. For example starting the day with a hot drink (yes, coffee works), having a breakfast anytime up to mid-morning, then a good meal within 7 or 8 hours (plus a small snack between if needed). The last food eaten should be at least 3 hours before bedtime.

The Window IF is a better routine. Gently increasing the duration of the fast from the usual night time sleep of 8 hours up to a period of 16 or 17 hours, while gradually replacing carbohydrate with healthy fats supports natural detoxification pathways to manage heavy metals or chemicals which are released from fat cells as they are depleted.

It’s best ensure good nourishment by counting macronutrients especially protein so that you’re well fed each day regardless of how short the IF Window.

Intermittent Fasting certainly isn’t binge eating and starving. It becomes an easy and satisfying routine with enormous benefit.