Swapping Diets For 24 Hours

What Can I Eat While Intermittent Fasting

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During the times when youre not eating, water and zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee and tea are permitted.

And during your eating periods, eating normally does not mean going crazy. Youre not likely to lose weight or get healthier if you pack your feeding times with high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried items and treats.

But what Williams likes about intermittent fasting is that it allows for a range of different foods to be eaten and enjoyed. We want people to be mindful and take pleasure in eating good, nutritious food, she says. She adds that eating with others and sharing the mealtime experience adds satisfaction and supports good health.

Williams, like most nutrition experts, regards the Mediterranean diet as a good blueprint of what to eat, whether youre trying intermittent fasting or not. You can hardly go wrong when you pick complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats and lean protein.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work

There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting, but they are all based on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast. For instance, you might try eating only during an eight-hour period each day and fast for the remainder. Or you might choose to eat only one meal a day two days a week. There are many different intermittent fasting schedules.

Mattson says that after hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat. He refers to this as metabolic switching.

Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours, Mattson says. If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and theyre not exercising, then every time they eat, theyre running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.

Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.

What Is Intermittent Fasting

Many diets focus on what to eat, but intermittent fasting is all about when you eat.

With intermittent fasting, you only eat during a specific time. Fasting for a certain number of hours each day or eating just one meal a couple days a week, can help your body burn fat. And scientific evidence points to some health benefits, as well.

Johns Hopkins neuroscientist , has studied intermittent fasting for 25 years. He says that our bodies have evolved to be able to go without food for many hours, or even several days or longer. In prehistoric times, before humans learned to farm, they were hunters and gatherers who evolved to survive and thrive for long periods without eating. They had to: It took a lot of time and energy to hunt game and gather nuts and berries.

Even 50 years ago, it was easier to maintain a healthy weight. Johns Hopkins dietitian Christie Williams, M.S., R.D.N., explains: There were no computers, and TV shows turned off at 11 p.m. people stopped eating because they went to bed. Portions were much smaller. More people worked and played outside and, in general, got more exercise.

Nowadays, TV, the internet and other entertainment are available 24/7. We stay awake for longer hours to catch our favorite shows, play games and chat online. Were sitting and snacking all day and most of the night.

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Is Intermittent Fasting Safe

Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.

Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:

  • Children and teens under age 18.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
  • Those with a history of eating disorders.

But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.

Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.

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