Updated: Feb 24
Like all diet trends, that may or may not benefit what your body truly needs, fit into your lifestyle or give you the results to help feel your best. However, intermittent fasting (IF) is something many of us do without realizing, and just happens to have this term attached to it.
An intermittent fast is a brief fast, where for 12–15 hours (or more) you don’t eat anything, except clear liquids and of course some water. And while that may sound incredibly difficult to achieve, like I mentioned you might already be fasting without even knowing and realizing how your body and blood sugar is benefiting.
For example, if you eat dinner at, say 7 p.m. and break your fast in the morning between 7—10 a.m., then you're fasting between 12-15 hrs. It's recommended that you continue drinking water to stay hydrated, black coffee or tea in this phase of fasting time is perfect too.
Functional medicine Dr. Mark Hyman, shares information on introducing fasting into an eating plan and the many benefits it has on reducing insulin levels and blood pressure. Fasting can also reduce inflammatory belly fat and further improve insulin sensitivity in those with prediabetes, type 2 and type 1 diabetes.
Some women have been conditioned to eat three meals a day, or convinced you don't have time and skip meals, even snacking in between to “keep our metabolism up,” it can be an arduous and seemingly contradictory feat to go 12-plus hours on liquids alone.
Important to make a plan of when you decide to take a break from eating, choose to fast following a nutritious and balanced meal. Doing so, will fuel your body and energy during this break, and not leave you hungry or irritable in those 12-15 hours. Another reason to first experiment with intermittent fasting when the majority of this break from food occurs while sleeping,
But science actually backs this ancient practice that fasting can have on reducing blood sugar levels in those living with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes
7 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting and Blood Sugar Control:
Increases energy to exercise more
Improves cognition, memory and clear-thinking
Improves insulin sensitivity
Promotes weight loss
Makes us less insulin resistant, staving off fat and insulin related disease by reducing levels of circulating IGF-1 and increasing insulin sensitivity without lowering the resting metabolic rate.
May improve immunity, lower diabetes risk, and improve heart health
Increases production of brain neurotropic growth factor — a protein that promotes neuron growth and protection — making us more resilient to neurological stress and thus staving off neurodegenerative diseases
Intermittent fasting may sound like a lot going on, but it actually gives your body and digestive system a break, a chance to rejuvenate and to do its job easier.
Have you or anyone you know said, "I've been up all night with gas, heartburn, acid reflux after eating late or to close to bedtime?"
This is the body letting you know how difficult the digestive process is, how much energy and time it takes to properly metabolize food throughout the day or evening the night time.
Intermittent fasting allows the body a healing period of time, an overnight rest from food, to help function more efficiently around the clock.
Just like this example, and as a woman living with type 1 diabetes, I can do a 12-14 hr. fast between dinner and breakfast. This of course always depends on my bedtime blood sugar. If and when you decide to try Intermittent Fasting (IF), it is vital that you stay in tune with your eating time window and blood sugar level.
Very important to first check with your healthcare provider for advise. Proceed with caution and be sure to treat any low blood sugar during any types of fasting with food.
As with anything new, proceed with caution if you decide to try fasting, especially beyond 12 hours. Listen to your body and of course keep drinking water to stay hydrated.