Post by Emily White
When I first heard the words ‘intermittent fasting’, I panicked. ‘Hangry’ is a real life condition that I suffer from terribly as most of my family and friends could confirm. So why on earth would anyone voluntarily fast?
Fasting is not actually just the latest ‘fad’ and has in fact been around for thousands of years. Whether conducted on purpose or not (our ancestors didn’t exactly have a supermarket down the road), for many people the body appears to thrive in this environment. The simplest and most sustainable form of fasting is the 16/8 method. This is where you only eat for an eight-hour window (say 12pm to 8pm) and fast for the remaining 16. This means that around half of your fasting is conducted while you are sleeping and it literally just means that you may be skipping breakfast.
Benefits of fasting:
Intermittent fasting is definitely one of those things where it may be great for one person and not so good for the next. If you aren’t into it that’s completely fine, just forget you ever read this post. It is definitely not something that needs to be done. In fact some studies suggest that women may not benefit from fasting as much as men (7) so if you are unsure give it a go to see if it works for you. However you should focus on the quality of your food before you consider fasting, as fasting combined with a highly processed or nutrient devoid diet is probably just going to make things worse. As with everything nutrition related, there is no one-size-fits-all approach so get into the habit of BACKING YOURSELF! Your body is very clever at telling you what works best, you just have to listen!
1. Barnosky AR, Hoddy KK, Unterman TG, Varady KA. Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings. Translational Research. 2014;164(4):302-11.
2. Hartman ML, Veldhuis JD, Johnson ML, Lee MM, Alberti KG, Samojlik E, et al. Augmented growth hormone (GH) secretory burst frequency and amplitude mediate enhanced GH secretion during a two-day fast in normal men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1992;74(4):757-65.
3. Ho KY, Veldhuis JD, Johnson ML, Furlanetto R, Evans WS, Alberti KG, et al. Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1988;81(4):968-75.
4. Aksungar FB, Topkaya AE, Akyildiz M. Interleukin-6, C-reactive protein and biochemical parameters during prolonged intermittent fasting. Ann Nutr Metab. 2007;51(1):88-95.
5. Zauner C, Schneeweiss B, Kranz A, Madl C, Ratheiser K, Kramer L, et al. Resting energy expenditure in short-term starvation is increased as a result of an increase in serum norepinephrine. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71(6):1511-5.
6. Azevedo FRd, Ikeoka D, Caramelli B. Effects of intermittent fasting on metabolism in men. Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira. 2013;59(2):167-73.
7. Heilbronn LK, Civitarese AE, Bogacka I, Smith SR, Hulver M, Ravussin E. Glucose tolerance and skeletal muscle gene expression in response to alternate day fasting. Obes Res. 2005;13(3):574-81.
Research and popular science articles by the members and faculty of the Holistic Performance Institute.