Intermittent fasting: why and how you should try it

IFastingf I had a Rand for every time I heard that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, I’d be at least R1000 richer. And, according to some studies, it’s true. Especially for children and the elderly. But…

Recent evidence shows that intermittent fasting – an eating strategy where some people skip breakfast – can also be great for your health. In fact, according to Healthline.com, it’s a powerful immune booster, improving cell regeneration, fighting infections and inflammation, and having positive effects on illnesses like type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.

Fasting options

One of the best things I find about intermittent fasting, is that you can often still eat the foods you love, as long as you don’t binge. You just need to pick the method that suits your lifestyle. Dailyburn.com lists these 5 methods to help you pick one that’s best for you:

 

1.    Skip a meal: Fast for 14 to 16 hours a day (including your 8 hours of sleep). The rest of the day, eat normally. Some skip breakfast, while others prefer skipping dinner.

2.    Eat, stop, eat: Fast for a full 24 hours once or twice a week and eat normally every other day.

3.    The Warrior Diet: Eat one large meal a day at dinnertime and fast the rest of the day.

4.    Fat loss forever: This is a 7-day combination of the methods above with one cheat day a week.

5.    Alternate-day fasting: Eat a fifth of your normal calorie intake every second day and eat normally every other day.

Other options

Daily Burn also writes about the When Hunger Ensues Naturally (WHEN) method; only eating when you’re hungry. This means not necessarily eating at scheduled meal times (or when you’re bored, angry, sad, etc.), and stopping when your body is satisfied.

How to choose

From Banting to Paleo, gluten-free, and now intermittent fasting (something previous experts said we should never do), no one seems to agree on what’s best for our bodies. So, if nothing else, what the evidence does show us is that our bodies respond well to many different eating styles, including not eating, as long as we don’t overindulge.

So, if you can’t get through the day without breakfast, keep it in. If you only get hungry at lunchtime, don’t eat until then. If your job forces you to skip meals, go with it. In other words: your lifestyle, and more importantly, your body, defines what the most important meal of the day is for you. Listen to it.

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