You’ve probably heard about intermittent fasting, and you might be wondering if this popular eating trend is safe for everyone. Here’s a look at how it works and how to decide if you should give it a try.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a fairly basic concept: Eat just about whatever you want, but only during a limited window of time. For example, one popular approach is the 5:2 method, where you eat normally for five days and then lower your intake to 500 to 600 calories for two days. Some practitioners opt to fast for a certain number of hours each day, instead.
Does it work?
Early studies have found that intermittent fasting could lead to body fat loss, lower blood pressure and a decreased chance of developing diabetes and heart disease. One study resulted in its participants losing about three percent of their body weight.
Who shouldn’t try it?
If you’ve experienced eating disorders in the past or need to eat regularly because you’re taking certain medications or insulin, you should probably avoid fasting.
What’s the best way to try it safely?
If you’ve decided that fasting is a good option for you (after talking to your doctor or another nutrition or wellness professional), it’s important to practice healthy habits, including:
- Don’t overdo it during non-fasting periods and try to stick to a well-balanced diet.
- Keep a record of what you’re eating and how you’re feeling.
- Modify your eating schedule if your mood and productivity start to suffer significantly.
- Stay hydrated. It’s always important to drink plenty of water every day.
Remember, intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. If you do try it, be sure to put your health first.