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Intermittent Fasting - 16/8: What Is It and The Benefits

I am a big fan of intermittent fasting. I often recommend it to my clients and they get great results. The reason I advise this 16/8 style is because it's very convenient, flexible, pretty easy to manage and hugely effective, as in turn it is very sustainable.

16/8 fasting is when you only eat and drink for a set period of 8 hours a day. The other 16 hours you're not eating or drinking - fasting. 16/8 is very convenient and can be applied to most life-styles therefore I often recommend that it's done every day, but you can do this for a select number of days per week - it's up to you.

The simplest way to fast for 16 hours is to extend your fast over the time you are sleeping. Typically I advise eating between 12 noon - 8pm, though 10am-6pm for example, works just as well. This is part of the flexibility around this style of nutrition so whatever works best for your life-style.

Is it often believed that fasting means you can allow yourself to eat a poorly balanced diet with lots of junk food - this is not the case. Whole foods and plant based is always the best way forward for maximum gains. Lots of fruit and veg, whole grains, protein sources such as nuts, seeds and tofu and healthy fats. Drinking teas and coffee, without sugar is fine, in the fasting hours, and can even help you to starve off hunger pangs. Ensure you drink plenty of water, staying well hydrated.

So let's cut to the chase, what are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting - I've avoided the science, because its a little boring and not in my scope. Please also note that many of the benefits of Intermittent Fasting have been found via major studies with animal testing - which is not ethical and has its own relevance questions, seeing as we are different from rats, dogs and hamsters. Here are the benefits;

  • May Support Weight Loss: Intermittent Fasting can increase metabolism. I stop eating at 8pm and find this effective as the late evenings are when I may otherwise find myself snacking. It can also be expected that you will simply eat less when eating in a restricted time period.

  • Improved Blood Sugar Control. Blood levels of insulin can reduce significantly, which supports fat burning.

  • The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells

  • Higher Levels of Human Growth Hormone. This can support the preservation of muscle mass and aid weight loss. Studies have shown that muscle mass can be preserved and fat levels decrease.

  • Intermittent Fasting may protect against diabetes type 2.

  • Intermittent Fast reduces oxidative stress, protecting against the effects of ageing and a range of diseases.

  • Increased autophagy which comes from the Greek word for “self eating” and it refers to how the body eats up its own dead and diseased cells and recycles them into new parts. This provides protection against several diseases including against Alzheimer's disease.

  • A number of benefits for improved brain cognitive function in part due to autophagy.

  • May Increase Life Expectancy.

Intermittent Fasting is generally considered very safe, though it is not safe for everyone. If you have any underlying conditions, please check with a GP before going ahead. Do not fast if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or looking to conceive - again please seek advice. Please also be very cautious and seek advice if you have any personal experience of eating disorders.

If you do go ahead, remember to take it easy in the beginning by acknowledging that the first few days are the hardest. You may feel tired but this will become less of a problem as you push past the first days.

In the meantime please contact me if any questions. I wish you great results and success with Intermittent Fasting.



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