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Intermittent fasting: Does it work?


Intermittent fasting (time restricted eating) has been around for thousands of years and it is because of evolution that humans take 3 meals a day, sometimes even snacking while in front of a TV. Eating habits has been sporadic in historic times, and with some research showing that eating habits like that may give improved body health markers. What we need to understand is that intermittent fasting has many variations, some more preferable when it comes to compliance.


Variations

  • 8: 16 diet - eating within the 8 hour time frame, fasting for 16 hours

  • 5: 2 diet - 5 days of normal eating, 2 days of restricted eating (about 500-600 Calories)

  • alternate day diet - fasting every alternate day

Some Health benefits

According to studies, certain variations of intermittent fasting showed benefits such as:

  • Reduced risk factors of cardiovascular disease

  • Improved insulin resistance (5:2 diet for at least 3 months)

  • Weight loss

  • Positively impact on gut microbiome

  • reduced liver inflammation (local study)

  • May also benefit from reduction in weight related medical conditions like cholesterol and non-alcoholic fatty liver.

Misconceptions

With all the hype going on, there will definitely be people claiming that as long as you follow the intermittent fasting time frame, you can eat anything you want during the eating phase. Some even encourage you to eat as much protein and fatty foods as long as you do not consume carbohydrates.

Consuming as much protein and fats or consuming anything you want may mislead people into thinking that diets loaded with saturated fats or junk foods are tolerable. True enough that these eating patterns may still give you reduced weight, but may in turn cause other health concerns like increase blood lipids.


Preferred method?

Intermittent fasting in general needs more long term study, but studies conducted thus far suggests that the 5:2 diet adopting the mediterranean approach did show promising improvements like insulin resistance, reduced HbA1c and cardiovascular health.

5:2 diet and 8:16 diet both did result in weight loss.

5:2 diet did have better compliance as compared to full day fasting.


People who should not do intermittent fasting

Unfortunately, there are groups of people who are not encouraged to start intermittent fasting, especially without the tracking of a healthcare professional. This includes people who are/have:

  • Pregnant

  • Diabetic or on insulin medications

  • Mental problems

  • Liver cirrhosis

  • Kidney failures

  • Nutrient deficient

  • Chronic low blood pressure

If you are doing intermittent fasting and see favourable results, Good for you. But remember, any diet high in saturated fats or too high of protein content may have an adverse effect on your health. Do your routine health checks, speak to a healthcare professional or contact us to find out more


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