Las Vegas Bariatrics Blog
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If you’ve been researching different diets and lifestyle changes over the last several years, you’ve probably come across intermittent fasting (IF) as an option. This method has become popular for its many health benefits, including:
IF is not a new concept for humankind as we have historically adapted to various forms of IF. In hunter-gatherer societies, not every meal was planned for or expected. Finding sources of food was an integral part of the day’s work and would result in long fasts.
Today, we don’t have those challenges and we have trained our bodies to expect nourishment at regular intervals while simultaneously decreasing the amount of physical activity we do. As a result, our bodies don’t have an opportunity to utilize the stored fats and sugars we have but instead rely on new intake throughout the day.
Here, we try to introduce some of the fact and fiction behind the IF method and help you decide if it’s the right approach for you!
What is IF?
Intermittent fasting is a method of controlled fasting in which we choose when we want to feed our bodies and when we want to fast it. There are shorter fasts (<24 hrs), longer fasts (>24 hrs), alternate day fasts, and extended fasts (>48 hrs). The recommended starting point for those interested in IF is always shorter fasts. This can be done safely in several ways:
The most well researched method is the 5/2 method which allows for 5 days of regular eating with 2 days of “fasting”. On fasting days, you are able to consume 500-600 calories total in 1 or more meals.
A second common method is 16/8 or 18/6 in which you are in a fasting state for the majority of the day and have a relatively smaller window of eating time. For beginners, it is preferred to start with a 16/8 routine so that the likelihood of adherence and success is greater.
How do I start IF (Intermittent Fasting)?
First, decide what schedule you want to follow and how long you would like to be fasting for. Then, start your fast!
Continue your daily activities and exercise as you normally would. Although you may struggle for the first several days, your body will quickly adapt to this new lifestyle.
Tips for Intermittent Fasting
Remember, there is no success without diligence, sacrifice, and commitment. Intermittent fasting is not for everyone, but those who can create a lifestyle around these premises stand to gain many healthful years of life.
Punam Patel, MD FACS