FridayFocus: Intermittent Fasting

In this Friday Focus we are talking about Intermittent Fasting – what the diet is and the pros and cons.

Firstly, it’s important to note that there are different versions of intermittent fasting. One is a daily version, in which you eat a certain number of calories in a specific window of the day then do and not eat any more food for the rest of the day (14-16 hours). The second is a weekly version, where you are fasting for two days of the week, and will only eat a certain number of calories (no more than 500 for men and 600 for men) and then eat as much as you want for the rest of the week!

The diets fasting period revolves around you having no or limited calories for those number of hours/days, however black coffee, diet/calorie free drinks and sugar free gum are allowed within this period. If you’re doing the daily fasting its recommended that the fasting period is from late evening to the following afternoon. Exercise isn’t part of the diet but it is advised to work out just before the fasting period would end, if you’re going to.

Weight loss is the aim of intermittent fasting and has proven effective, by cutting these calories you could see a loss of two and a half pounds per week. The diet works because your body is put into a fat burning state, during the fasting period.

Pros:

The diet does work and is an effective way of losing weight in a considerably quick amount of time. There are also other health advantages to fasting, such as improving the digestive system, sensitivity to insulin and reducing body fat. It also has been proven to reduce the risk of cancer and aid chemotherapy treatment in some patients.

It has practical benefits as well, saving you time and money; preparing one less meal a day (daily version) and not having to stress about making ‘diet’ meals (weekly version).

Cons:

As with every diet along with the benefits, there are drawbacks, such as reduced energy levels (particularly at first) and the mental challenge of not eating when hungry. If you have a medical condition, also it may not be a healthy way of dieting. Pregnant women or the elderly aren’t advised to do it either because the diet may not contain the nutrients they need.