free shipping over $59
Intermittent Fasting. What is it? Who is it for?

Intermittent Fasting. What is it? Who is it for?

mai 30, 2022 0 Commentaires

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting has become very popular over the past couple of years for several reasons. It is free, simple, and seems to have great results. Perhaps, a more accurate name for this eating paradigm is time-restricted feeding. As there are several variations of time restricted feeding, not all of them putting someone in a ‘fasted state.’ What it comes down to, is restricting eating for certain time periods and then having all of your daily calories within a specific time span. There are many patterns which all fall under time-restricted eating.

Some popular eating patterns are:

  • 16:8 - Which means 16 hours of fasting, 8 hours of eating. For example, eat your first meal at 10:00am and your last meal finishes at 6:00pm.
  • Alternate-day fasting - Which is exactly what it sounds like. Eating for 1 day (usually 12 hours) then fasting the entire next day and night usually (36 hours).
  • 5:2 - 5 days of eating unrestricted throughout the day and then 2 days a week, eating very little or fasting.

What are the Benefits of Fasting?

There are several health benefits for fasting. Some benefits explained in a 2019 New England Journal of Medicine article include: improved cognitive performance, decreased cardiovascular risk factors, increased physical performance, improved healing with tissue damage, encourages weight loss and can prevent and possibly reverse type two diabetes.1 These benefits come from both a caloric restriction, which is a side effect of eating in restricted windows, but also from hormonal and metabolic changes.1

Perhaps the most talked about benefit with time-restricted feeding is the promise of a longer life. Although not well studied in humans yet, fasting is linked to longevity in several animal studies.2 Research shows that restricting calories in animals, leads to increased life span when compared to regular feeding schedules.2

It’s hypothesized that this caloric limitation causes a type of stress on the body, leading to the development of adaptive mechanisms which in time make the body more resistant to disease and stress at a cellular level.3 Think about exercise as an example. Exercise is a type of ‘good’ stress that is put on our body. Although at the time of exercise, the body is under a great amount of stress, adaptions take place over repeated bouts of stress, leading to stronger muscles and improved cardiometabolic health.

stress excersize

Another aspect of time-restricted feeding is the process of autophagy which occurs in cells after fasting periods. Autophagy is the means in which the body ‘cleans up’ unwanted material and fixes damaged parts of cells.4 During autophagy, growth hormone is also produced. Increased autophagy is associated with both increased longevity as well as a decrease in chronic disease like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease as well as certain cancers.4 It is important to mention that inducing autophagy usually takes about 16 hours of fasting and becomes more efficient at the 24-hour mark.4 This amount of fasting may not be advised for everyone.

Who should avoid fasting?

Although fasting seems to be the perfect solution for many of today’s chronic diseases, it’s not for everyone.

Eating disorders.

Anyone who is currently or has struggled with eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia in the past, is advised to not try out time-restricted feeding schedules. This restricted eating paradigm may lead to unsafe disordered eating patterns.

Pregnant and Nursing Women

Not only does restricting eating to certain windows make it more difficult to obtain adequate calories for a pregnant or nursing mother, but some studies have also found that fasting has been linked with lower birth weight in babies as well as premature labour.5

Diabetic Patients

Although one of the most popular conditions that fasting is used for is diabetes, there are some very important points to address. Fasting is generally not recommended for patients with type 1 diabetes.6 Although some may be able to, they should discuss it with their healthcare provider and closely monitor blood sugar levels. People with type 2 diabetes may see great benefits with time-restricted feeding, however this should also be done under the supervision or a healthcare provider.

The young and the elderly

Just like any medical intervention, we must always be cautious with both the young and elderly. Time-restricted feeding is not recommended for children and teens as it may limit very important nutrients needed for growth and development. The elderly in general also struggle to meet basic nutritional demands and therefore fasting is not recommended for this age group as well.

This is not an exhaustive list of those who may see negative health impacts of fasting. Just like any health intervention, implementation must be individualistic. Perhaps a 16:8 fasting schedule is heathy for your body but a 5:2 schedule is not. Maybe you can go 36 hours without eating and notice higher energy levels while someone else may feel fatigued and irritable with fasting. So, if deciding to try out fasting, remember to seek advice from a regulated health professional and listen to your body.

About the Author

Dr. Maille Devlin

Dr. Maille Devlin, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and corporate wellness consultant practicing in virtually for patients all across Ontario as well as in person in the east end of Toronto. Dr. Devlin has a clinical focus in: weight loss, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hormonal issues, stress management and healthy aging. She considers true health not only the absence of disease, but rather a state where an individual is thriving both physically and mentally.

Dr. Devlin believes that education and preventative medicine are the greatest steps toward wellness and is focused on empowering individuals to take the appropriate steps towards being their own health advocate. Dr. Devlin uses a combination of dietary changes, herbal medicine, supplements and lifestyle counselling to treat patients.





Voir l'article entier

3 Ways to Decrease Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
3 Ways to Decrease Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

décembre 05, 2022 0 Commentaires

"There are times when we can experience stomach pain and discomfort from certain foods that we eat, or gut bugs we may come into contact with. However, when symptoms such as stomach pain and..."

Voir l'article entier

How your Digestion May Be Affecting your Skin
How your Digestion May Be Affecting your Skin

novembre 17, 2022 0 Commentaires

"We have all heard of the gut-brain axis, in which the state of our digestive tract and the bacteria which live in it can affect our brain health and mood regulation. In research, the gut has been linked to depression, anxiety and..."

Voir l'article entier

Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Triglyceride Levels?
Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Triglyceride Levels?

novembre 04, 2022 0 Commentaires

"Triglycerides are a type of lipid or fat and are an important measure of overall heart health. Triglycerides are used to store excess calories in the body which are not needed for current energy demands..."

Voir l'article entier