What is intermittent fasting? We always fast when we sleep. Hence the term for the morning meal - "break-fast". If we are not eating, we are fasting. We actually intermittently fast no matter what. But usually, when we speak of intermittent fasting, it means we are consciously thinking about the hours each day that we are eating and the hours that we are not eating.
Is it good to fast? As with all things, that depends of course. But the better question is, "what happens when we don't eat?" In the six to eight hours that we are sleeping, that is the time that our cells clear out the waste products generated by a day of activity and energy inputs (ie. food). By giving the body time to rest and do a deep cleaning so to speak, we eliminate the toxic waste products generated by cellular respiration. If we don't do that. . . let's say we don't sleep much and we eat right before bed and right when we get up, then our body doesn't have a chance to do the deep clean, toxins build up and over time, day in and day out for years, and the potential for disease increases markedly.
What is the optimal amount of time to fast each day? Again, depends. However, a typical intermittent fasting regimen is 14 hours of fasting and 10 hours of feeding (in other words all your eating is done in that ten hour window). If you are a little more ambitious, 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of feeding. This may mean going down to two meals a day instead of three. If you do that, it's important to make sure that you get good nutritious meals when you do eat.
What's the science behind this? This fascinating study from the University of California San Diego showed that in women with breast cancer, there was a 36% higher rate of cancer reoccurrence for those who fasted less than 13 hours. A 36% increase! Wow! Also, there was a higher all cause mortality (ie. death from any possible cause) for that population as well. Interesting, yes?
Why is this a beneficial health hack? For one, it is FREE. Two, it doesn't require that much effort or will power. You might be surprised how easy it is to do. Three, the health benefits are powerful. If you want to do just one thing to improve your overall health and "health span", then intermittent fasting is one that you might want to consider.
Shameless plug: If you want to try intermittent fasting but need some help doing it, sign up for a single session with me and we can work through the obstacles and set you up to take control of your health so you can "be the light"!
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