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What is Intermittent Fasting and Is It Right For You?

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What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting

The idea of not eating for a restricted period of time for health purposes may sound contradictory. However, intermittent fasting—a practice that has been adopted for centuries—has made a prominent comeback over the last few years. The idea is this: you have an eating window and a non-eating window during the day. For some, this might mean eating during an 8-hour window and fasting for the other 16 hours of the day. For others, fasting might be longer—up to 24 or even 36 hours (which we don’t recommend unless you’re being supervised by a medical practitioner). The point of intermittent fasting isn’t to starve yourself for weight loss, it’s about controlling what you eat and when you eat in order to reap the health benefits that come alongside fasting.  Research is still being done on intermittent fasting and the benefits of it. But the evidence that has come in about it is clear: intermittent fasting can reduce chronic health conditions and improve your overall health. If you’re new to intermittent fasting, or have never tried it before, remember that it’s at your own discretion and it’s NOT a diet. It’s just a way of eating. 

Whenever we eat, our body immediately uses it for energy purposes. But when we fast, we’re not experiencing a boost in insulin levels from food, which can help our body burn stored sugar and fat. So, it makes sense that refraining from foods for a specific duration of time allows your body to use its stored energy and burn off excess body fat. But, is it right for you? According to research, there are multiple different types of fasting that a person can try. However, it really depends on what you’re most comfortable with and, more importantly, what feels right for your body. Unless your pregnant, breastfeeding, under the age of 18, or have a BMI less than 18.5, intermittent fasting could be beneficial to your overall health. Below are just a few of the benefits related to intermittent fasting.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting on Brain Health

Research conducted on intermittent fasting shows that not eating for a restricted length of time can reduce inflammation in the brain. Inflammation in the brain has links to neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Research also shows that those who practice fasting regularly may also have a lower risk of a stroke. Those who are thinking about adopting a way of fasting into their lifestyle for neurological health purposes should chat with their doctor about the best practices available. 

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting on Weight Loss

Of course, when you’re fasting, you’re restricting calories. Committing to a fast means you’re eliminating excess calories that sometimes come with late night eating or drinking. When we’re eating multiple small meals a day, we’re not allowing our body the time it needs to burn off fat that it has stored. And, when we’re limiting what we eat to a specific window, our insulin levels drop, which cause the cells in our body to release glucose as energy.

Intermittent Fasting Can Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes 

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that impacts the way your body metabolizes glucose (otherwise known as sugar). Intermittent fasting can aid in weight loss, which is a factor that can decrease the risk of diabetes. When we’re eating clean, whole foods and maintaining a healthy weight, the blood glucose and insulin levels in our body drop. Thus, minimizing the risk, and potentially even reversing, diabetes altogether. 

The above are just a few of the health benefits of intermittent fasting. Some others include improved mental clarity and concentration, an increase in energy, improved blood cholesterol, longer life, and cellular cleansing. If you’re thinking about starting a fast, check out the following fasts that are the most popular. 

What is the best intermittent fasting program?

16:8—This involves fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window. This fast can be done daily or however many times a week preferred. This fast is flexible—depending on how early you like to eat, you can fast for any 8 hours you choose.

20:4—A fast where you’re eating within a 4-hour window and fasting for the other 20 hours of the day. Typically, this fast would involve eating one big meal or a couple of small meals within the eating frame.

24-hour—Involves eating once a day and fasting for the duration of the day, up until the same time the following day. Some individuals choose to do this fast a couple of times per week. If you’re new to fasting, we don’t recommend doing the 24-hour until you’re sure your body is ready for it. Longer fasts can initially cause dizziness, fatigue, and nausea. 

36-hour—Although a powerful way to lose weight, fasting for this length of time shouldn’t be done by the newcomers to fasting. This fast involves eating dinner on the first day, fasting for the entire second day and eating again on the third day. Extended fasting should be accompanied by vitamins to ensure you’re not lacking in nutrient deficiency.

When you’re fasting, it’s important to maintain a clean diet that is high in protein during the eating windows. Nagi’s raw organic energy bars and macaroons are gluten, soy and dairy-free, and delicious—a powerhouse of nutrients whether you’re fasting or not. 

Further Reading

What can you drink during intermittent fasting?

During fasting, drinks can prove a lifesaver and there is plenty to choose from. Water is the obvious one, but why not enjoy coffee in the morning and tea around lunchtime. Green tea, in particular, has shown to have many health benefits as well as helping stave off hunger.

However be aware, all drinks are not created equal when it comes to fasting. Drinks like diet sodas and energy drinks should be avoided as they can create an insulin response and inhibit the positive effects of fasting.

Can I drink coconut water whilst intermittent fasting?

Coconut water contains a lot of sugars and sugars equal to carbohydrates. This means drinking coconut water during fasting windows should be totally avoided.

Coconut Nectar also starts as one of our superfoods - learn more here.

Does intermittent fasting affect fertility?

Fasting for long periods of time, whether it be intermittent or even longer can be both mentally and physically challenging. Such types of stress can potentially affect hormone levels and fertility. That being said, most doctors would agree that intermittent fasting can reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce weight. All of these would be good for fertility. So if you do it right then intermittent fasting can be good for fertility.

Does celery juice break intermittent fasting?

Celery is a super healthy food and great of both a nutritional and balanced diet. However low in calories celery is, it certainly would break your intermittent fasting period.

Does brushing teeth break intermittent fasting?

Some toothpastes may contain artificial sweeteners. Whilst these don’t have any calories as such, they can trigger an insulin reaction, which is counterproductive to one of the main benefits of intermittent fasting. So we advise, keep brushing your teeth but be careful of swallowing any of the toothpaste itself!

How to stave off hunger whilst intermittent fasting?

There are numerous ways to help you stave off hunger whilst intermittent fasting. Starting your day with drinking a lot of water can certainly help. Aim for 32 ounces in the first hour and keep refreshed every 30-60 minutes. Drinking tea, chewing gum and staying busy can also help keep those hunger pangs at bay. 

Can you drink protein shakes whilst intermittent fasting?

Some people take between 50 and 250 calories during their fasting windows. This is more mimicking than anything else. Why not try a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee along with a dash of milk. That would be within the 50 to 250 calorie range.

True fasting would mean no calories. Hence, no. You generally would not be enjoying the full benefits of fasting when you take protein shakes in fasting windows.

So how do you get enough protein while intermittent fasting?

Try our awesome organic snack bars that are packed full of protein, taste delicious and serve as the perfect snack during any periods of intermittent fasting!

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