First let me explain that Intermittent Fasting is not a diet it is a pattern of eating. It is not the what of eating, it is the when. The main drive for this type of eating is to lose fat and gain more muscle. The thought behind this method is the actual fat burn process is higher for those who eat once or twice a day. This happens because glucose levels stay low throughout the day except during eating periods. Metabolically we eat, it sparks insulin. Therefore, the more you eat the more Insulin you are producing. The fat burning process is highest 12 hours past your absorbent state, that means 12 hours after your last meal. So if you are someone who eats every 4 hours you never allow your insulin levels to drop. The thought is our bodies will burn food calories the same whether it is 2000 calories in two meals or one. Intermittent fasting looks solely at the fat burn during the bodies fasting state.
Like all things there are side effects to IF, headaches, heart burn, binge eating, coffee dependency and dysregulated sleep. All of these side effects can be minor and usually end within the first couple of weeks of fasting. However, there are signs this type of eating plan is not right for you, these side effect aside. First off if you have any type of amenorrhea, loss of period, you should contact your doctor if you have any type of sudden loss of your period. Also any type of eating disorder. You need to be of stable mind to start such a plan and old habits can definitely come back. If a person has any metabolic issues like, thyroid, kidney function or digestion issues this could over stress these issues creating more problems instead of less. Also if you are pregnant or breast feeding…now is not the time for such a structured plan. Lastly, stress or sleep disorders can impact the positive gains from IF and it might be better to start such a plan when life if a little bit less stressful for you.
Like I say in all my blogs, always seeks doctor’s advice when starting anything new. I am not here to give one plan or another my endorsement. Rather, I am here to give you current information on health and fitness treads. Always do you own research and find out what is best for you. In all the reading and video's I have watched those who IF are quick to try to debunk the eating 6 small meals theory. They were trying to sell the methodology of IF like the Oxi-clean guy sells soap. I found doing research for this blog interesting and worth looking into further.
Stacie A. Zamperini M.Ed.