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What Is IF and Why Should I Care?

Have you heard of Intermittent Fasting (IF)? It’s all the rage these days.

What is IF?

Intermittent fasting, specifically “early time restricted feeding” is a method of eating by which you eat by the clock. Following this methodology, you do all your eating during a shorter period of time and never before bedtime. You confine your eating to about an eight hour time period, say from 9AM to 5PM. This gives the body plenty of time to process the food before sleeping.

It can help improve your health

According to this article from the Cleveland Clinic, by limiting food consumption in this manner, you make your body more sensitive to insulin. If you are pre-diabetic or suffering from metabolic syndrome, using intermittent fasting can help to normalize blood sugar and blood pressure.

The reason early time restricted feeding works is because our bodies are programmed to digest food during the day and rest at night so by eating during daytime hours, we are actually following our body’s circadian rhythms. If we eat shortly before sleeping when we don’t have much use for the energy it produces, our body produces more insulin and stores that excess energy as fat, increasing the risk for diabetes and obesity.

When we limit our eating to a shorter time span, we allow the pancreas a rest and allowing the body to burn stored fat and store less fat. When insulin production slows, it allows the fat cells to release sugar for energy and we burn fat for energy.

How should we practice IF?

There are several ways to practice intermittent fasting. However, it seems  the most effective and, to me that  the most sustainable way to do it is the “early time restricted feeding” method.

It’s important to note that eating high quality, nutrient dense foods during the feeding period is key to success. The actual hours don’t matter as long as you’re eating early in the day and never right before bedtime.

Not recommended for Type 1 Diabetics

This practice is not recommended for people who have type-1 diabetes because the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin. They need to manage their blood sugar. This type of plan can make the blood sugar in type-1 diabetics go dangerously high or low. If you are otherwise pretty healthy, this plan should benefit anyone who tries it. At the very least, it won’t hurt you.

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