Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a way of eating where you transition between eating and fasting. It hasn't always been a way of restricting calories and has in fact been around for centuries as an important part of various cultures and religions.
Let's start off with the different types of IF.
𝟏. Alternate-Day Fasting: 1-2 days per week of no food intake alternating with "normal" eating the other 5-6 days
𝟐. Modified Fasting: Two days of the week consisting of roughly 25% of daily calorie needs (~400-600 calories, which is generally consumed in one meal. The other 5 days in the week are "normal eating." This is sometimes referred to as 5:2 fasting.
𝟑. Time-Restricted Feeding: Eating within a specific range of time and fasting outside of this. For example, eating only between 10 am and 6 pm and fasting for the 16 hours outside of this window (otherwise known as 16:8).
-May be easier to follow than traditional fad diets that have continuous calorie restriction
-Evening snacking is often reduced/eliminated
-Counting macro-nutrients is not required and there is no restriction on entire food groups
-Energy levels may improve
-May improve triglyceride levels and blood pressure
-May improve blood glucose levels
-May result in weight loss
-There is a lack of scientific evidence in the long term success and safety of IF
-Side effects/symptoms include fatigue, headache, lack of concentration, poor mood, reduced athletic performance, etc.
-Risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
-No emphasis on importance of nutrient dense foods
-Not recommended for individuals with Type 1 diabetes, pregnant or breastfeeding women, if you have a history of eating disorder(s), or are a highly competitive/elite athlete.
𝐁𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐨𝐦 𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞: It is important to find a way of eating that works for you as an individual and that may or may not be IF. Take the time to find foods, meals and a lifestyle that you are happy with while including a variety of foods that nourish your body.