Does Intermittent Fasting Actually Work?

Intermittent fasting, when used correctly for the right person in the right time frame, can be fantastic when weight loss is the goal BUT the key phrases in that sentence are “right person” and “right time frame.”

Many health experts emphasise eating frequent small meals throughout the day, but this approach isn’t right for everyone.  Intermittent Fasting (IF), which involves cycling between fasting and eating (different methods split the day or week into eating and fasting periods), can also be a powerful tool in the weight-loss toolkit.

Many studies show the benefits of Intermittent Fasting especially those struggling with obesity. Evidence also shows that alternate day fasting can be cardio-protective.

Does Intermittent Fasting Actually Work

Who should not use Intermittent Fasting?

  • Anyone with big swings in blood-sugar levels
  • Anyone with hormone imbalances
  • Anyone with thyroid issues
  • Pregnant women
  • Children
  • Orthorexics
  • Anyone with a history of eating disorders

Remember calorie restriction can put a lot of stress on the delicate endocrine system which looks after our hormones.

Although Intermittent Fasting can be a useful tool for both men and women, gender can play a role to how successful it is. Men tend to respond better to it as a weight-loss intervention as fasting is more likely to trigger hormonal imbalance in women.

It’s equally important to remember that fasting and intermittent fasting are not meant to be practiced in the long term. Long-term fasting should never be done without a qualified professional. Executed by the wrong person, long-term fasting can do more harm than good.

Does Intermittent Fasting Actually Work

What is Time-restricted eating?

This means avoiding food for a 12 hour window, say from 8 p.m. until 8 or 9 a.m. the next day. It is generally considered safe and is a fairly common pattern for many people already. But don’t undertake a serious fasting regime without consulting a qualified professional. If your blood-sugar levels fluctuate dramatically or you have a history of hormone imbalance, make sure you have your thyroid function checked before starting.

If you continue using intermittent-fasting for more than a month or two, it would be advisable to have a blood test with your nutritional therapist / GP to ensure that you’re not triggering a stress response or imbalance.

Finally, don’t let the fasting mentality be an excuse to eat whatever you want during your eating hours. Focus on high-quality, nutrient-dense whole foods that support your health.

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