Straight To The Point Blog
Intermittent Fasting: Timing Your Nutritional Needs
By Dr. Laurie Brodsky, HBSc, ND
Intermittent fasting has been a huge topic of interest here at Point Performance, as some of the staff makes their first attempt at taking on a new approach to food by pulling out their first meal of the day at lunch time instead of eating usual breakfast.
Intermittent fasting is a cycle of eating based on timing. Current research is leaning towards the concept that it is not so much what you eat, but rather WHEN you eat it. We must still emphasize eating the right foods in the right amounts, but that can be the focus of our next conversation once we see that our bodies are fueling up, getting rid of excess toxins and clearing out inflammation as we give it the time it needs to do so with a safe, effective overnight fast best suited to your individual needs. Please note that those with hypoglycemia, women who are nursing or pregnant should not ideally be fasting. Please check with your doctor before changing any nutritional guidelines.
Our goal throughout the process of intermittent fasting is to nourish with the highest quality and concentration of nutrients as possible at each meal within your 6-8 hour window of eating time (specifically, clean protein and healthy fats), and listen to our body’s true signals for hunger, thirst, fullness — instead of getting too wrapped up in the meal timing and frequency. Even healthy foods can be overeaten, so be mindful and try your best to follow your internal circadian rhythm and varying food preferences as to when you feel hungriest, and adjust accordingly.
Intermittent fasting benefits
Intermittent fasting increases—>
- Energy by burning stored fat
- The hunger hormone (Ghrelin) levels, which suppress overeating
- Insulin and leptin sensitivity, which reduces the risk of chronic disease and enhances weight loss
- Preserves memory function and learning, while delaying onset of cognitive decline
- Lifespan, as demonstrated by various animal studies via caloric restriction
Intermittent fasting decreases —>
- Weight gain and metabolic disease risk
- Inflammation and free radical damage
- Triglyceride levels and thus your risk of heart disease
What can I eat during my 6-8 hour window of ‘eating time’?
Avocado, pastured eggs, coconut oil, green vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, grass-fed butter, free range organic chicken, olive oil — think clean protein, whole foods, healthy fats.
What can I eat during my intermittent fast?
Nothing, that’s why it’s called a fast! Instead of the body focusing on digesting, it will be focused on cleaning up, regenerating tissues and restoring balance from within. Drinking water is strongly advised. Delay your breakfast, but if you must, unsweetened organic coffee or herbal tea is permitted.
Is my body going to ‘miss’ breakfast?
Eating breakfast does not necessarily improve your metabolism, especially with the quick, easy and often sugary choices we tend to make (cereal, bagels, muffins, buns, toast, granola bars, low fat dairy, etc.). Am I really hungry? Instead, drink water until lunch time. Your body will thrive once it’s fed less overall dietary calories throughout the day, and skipping breakfast is the best way to jump-start this trend.
Ideal intermittent fasting daily schedule
(at least five days per week, but can adjust accordingly)
- Fast from 7am-11am
- Eat from 12pm-6pm
- Fast from 6pm-11pm
- Sleep from 11pm-7am
How can I enhance my intermittent fast?
High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to be highly synergistic with intermittent fasting, and both techniques provide many of the same health benefits. Research has shown that intermittent fasting quickly improves insulin’s ability to manage blood sugar, and that fluctuations in food consumption appear to be required for optimal metabolic function.
Drink plenty of water and fluids. During your fast, prioritize drinking liquids to keep satiated, which will certainly help curb cravings. Work up to half of your body weight in ounces of water, daily, as a bare minimum.
Here is a fascinating research study that explains more about the health benefits of fasting and caloric restriction, especially pertaining to the nervous system, and also reduced overall incidence of disease in those who restricted calories and reduced meal frequency via intermittent fasting. One more study explores metabolic benefits and cardiovascular protection using intermittent fasting.
Have more questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any specific questions.
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