What was the most searched-for diet of last year, according to Google?
- Not Keto.
- Not Whole 30.
- Not Paleo.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) captured our attention in a major way this year. While forms of fasting have been around for thousands of years, Intermittent Fasting picked up a lot of steam last year (after gaining new attention in 2012 and 2016 with the publication of new books and studies).
So, what exactly is Intermittent Fasting?
- It’s not a diet. It’s a diet strategy In which you limit the time period during which you eat. For example, you might only eat from 11 am–7pm each day.
- You can repeat that every day, or 5 days a week, or every other day, or whatever works for you.
- During the fasting period you pick, you don’t eat but you should stay hydrated with water. (And some people do drink coffee and tea.)
It’s pretty simple. There are no strict rules other than you don’t eat during the fasting period so that your body will decrease its insulin levels and your fat cells can release stored sugar. Your body then uses that stored sugar as energy. If you keep repeating this sequence (and don’t increase your caloric intake), you should lose weight. Hence, the concept behind IF is that you will be able to help your body decrease your insulin levels far enough and long enough that you burn off fat.
What are the benefits of IF?
Some people lose weight. But that’s not the only important result of IF, although it might be the most notable.
Besides weight loss, there is also some evidence that IF on a nutritionally balanced diet helps with reducing inflammation in the body and increasing longevity by delaying the onset and progression of disease. Whoa. That’s a lot of goodness, right? (There are many IF studies going on right now.)
And, interestingly, IF seems to align with nutritional strategies based on our natural circadian rhythms. Our ancestors didn’t (usually) work through the night and eat during the night. They ate a dinner-time meal and went to bed a few hours later. No snacking. No Netflix. No gaming until the early hours.
If you want to try Intermittent Fasting, remember that the rules are pretty simple:
- Limit your eating window. Pick a period to fast and stick with it.
- For greatest results, don’t eat within two hours of going to bed.
- Repeat on a schedule that feels good for you and achieves the results you want. (There are more options)
And as always, avoid sugars and processed foods. Eat clean, whole foods and get enough sleep. And let us know if IF works for you!