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Unlocking the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting: A Beginner’s Guide

Fasting:   abstinence from food or drink or both for health, ritualistic, religious, or ethical purposes. The abstention may be complete or partial, lengthy, of short duration, or intermittent. Fasting has been promoted and practiced from antiquity worldwide by physicians, by the founders and followers of many religions, by culturally designated individuals…

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a time-based approach to eating that involves cycling between periods of fasting and eating. The benefits of IF include weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, improved cognitive function, and a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Popular methods of IF include the 16/8 method, the 5:2 diet, alternate-day fasting, and eat-stop-eat.

Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

  • Weight loss: Intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss by reducing caloric intake and revving up your metabolism.
  • Improved insulin sensitivity: Intermittent fasting can improve insulin sensitivity, which is important for regulating blood sugar levels.
  • Reduced inflammation: Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation, which is associated with most chronic diseases.
  • Improved cognitive function: Intermittent fasting can enhance cognitive function and improve brain health.
  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases: Intermittent fasting may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Intermittent Fasting Methods

As mentioned above, there are several approaches to intermittent fasting. Some of the popular methods are described below.

  • 16/8 method: This involves fasting for 16 hours and eating during an 8-hour window each day.  This might have you stop eating at 5pm, then eat your first meal of the day at 9 am.  You then eat 2 more meals, stopping again at 5 pm.
  • 5:2 diet: This might involve eating normally for five days and restricting calorie intake on two non-consecutive days.  You can also do the 16/8 method on 5 days, and then eat normally 2 days of the week.  There are different combinations that might work better for some people.
  • Alternate-day fasting: This involves alternating between eating normally and fasting every other day.
  • Eat-stop-eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week and eating without fasting timelines the rest of the week.

Before starting an intermittent fasting program, it is important to consult with your natural health care provider. It is also important to stay hydrated and consume nutrient-dense foods during non-fasting periods.  You don’t want to fast and then load your body with sugar and empty carbs.

Many people also talk about juice fasts or bone broth fasts, which are cleanses that are also very healthy for you.

Dr. Kalaba is a chiropractor in Tucson, AZ, practicing gentle chiropractic care and providing health tips to help you live the best rest of your life.

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