Intermittent Fasting 101
Sarah here! writing this through the lens of a dietitian who believes that one should focus on eating whole foods and minimally processed ingredients above any diet or trend. I also think that specific diets can be beneficial for people during certain times of their life, but that same diet may not be what’s best long-term or what everybody should be doing. Everyone is going through something different, and it’s essential to recognize the countless ways in which one can find the right nutritional journey for themselves at the right time.
What is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
Intermittent Fasting or IF is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and not eating. IF is currently very popular in the health and fitness community.
Why do people partake in IF?
People like IF because it’s not a diet - it’s an eating pattern. IF does not specify what foods you can and cannot eat but rather when you eat them. Fasting has been around for a long time. Our ancestors did not always have access to grocery stores or refrigerators, so it was common to go for extended periods without food to eat. As a result, humans evolved to be able to function during these periods of “fasting.” In a sense, it can feel easy or routine for someone to allow their body time between meals to feel hungry and want/need food.
Many studies show health benefits to practicing IF. Linked here is a Harvard Medical School Journal explaining a few proven benefits of IF. According to the Study who looked at two groups who had either an 8-hour or 12-hour window to eat, after five weeks, “the eight-hour group had dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity, as well as significantly lower blood pressure. The best part? The eight-hour group also had significantly decreased appetite. They weren’t starving.” Other studies show that it can boost metabolism, increase weight loss (mainly from eating fewer calories), reduce inflammation, improve heart health, and reduce insulin resistance. Keep in mind that this theory is based on eating “normal” meals during non-fasting meal times. If you are to binge while you are not fasting, you may not see the same benefits. And beyond that, if you find yourself binging out of pure hunger and feelings of deprivation during your eating cycle IF may not be suitable for you at this time.
What are the different IF Methods?
There are several different ways to practice IF, but here are the most popular:
- The 16/8 method: Involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example, by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
- The 5:2 diet: With this method, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week but normally eat the other five days.
How do Coffee Bombs work with IF?
Our Pure + Simple Coffee Bombs® will not break a modified fast. The only ingredients in Pure + Simple are Organic Coconut Oil (high in MCTs), Collagen Peptides, and Grass-fed Butter. There are no carbohydrates and no added sugar per serving - but there are calories from fat and protein. Based on your IF goals, Coffee Bombs can be a great way to give your body and mind the energy it needs to make it to your feeding window.
Is IF good for everyone?
IF can undoubtedly be beneficial for folks, but that does not mean that it’s the right choice for everyone. For example, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not follow IF practices. The most important thing to do is listen to your body - you may find yourself miserable and hungry while trying to fast, and if that is the case, then it’s probably not what your body needs at the moment. If you feel great practicing IF, keep it up! Listen to your body, and YOU DO YOU!
Sarah Rioux, MBA, RDN, LD