Intermittent fasting (IMF) has been used for centuries during times when food was scarce and plays a central role in many religions. It requires you to skip meals, and due to its numerous benefits, it is already a popular practice.
There are many types of IMF, but the most common option is skipping breakfast and fasting for about 16 hours a day, from overnight to lunchtime the next day.
As an example, if you stop eating from 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. (the next day), you would have already fasted for 16 hours.
If 16 hours of fasting it’s too much effort at first, begin with a shorter fast lasting about 13 or 14 hours. Increase your fasting time as your body gets accustomed to it.
The 16/8 method (16 hours of fasting and 8 hours in which you allow yourself to eat) has been shown to be generally safe for most people.
Longer fasts, ranging from 16 to 72 hours, may not be for everyone. The body needs time to adjust to the effects of fasting, so don’t push yourself too hard at first.
Intermittent fasting can help you in many ways, some people use it for:
chronic diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome
Whatever your reason for starting IMF may be, choose the one that suits your schedule and lifestyle best, listen to your body when doing it and start slowly. Make sure that your diet is rich in nutrients to avoid deficiencies or any side effects such as fatigue.
- Metabolic Effects of Intermittent Fasting, Annu Rev Nutr. 2017 Aug.
- Effects of intermittent fasting on glucose and lipid metabolism, Proc Nutr Soc. 2017 Aug.
- Intermittent fasting from dawn to sunset for four consecutive weeks induces anticancer serum proteome response and improves metabolic syndrome, Sci Rep. 2020 Oct 27.
- Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease, N Engl J Med 2019.