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The Alaska Club

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Intermittent Fasting

Posted by Elize Rumsley – RD, LD, CDE, MS, PhD. | Apr 18, 2022 9:56:16 AM

Every year, there is a new super food in the market or a new way of dieting to lose weight and be healthy. One that is becoming popular in recent days is intermittent fasting. Does it really have health benefits and promote weight loss? Here is what you need to know.

What is intermittent fasting? It is a diet plan that allows you to eat during a specific block of time. You may fast for a certain number of hours every day or even for days at a time.   While a diet focuses on what you eat, intermittent fasting focuses on when you eat. Nowadays, people are consuming food throughout all waking hours and not exercising much, so the body is constantly being fueled with energy and storing fat. The intermittent fasting makes your body exhaust the sugar store and use the stored fat as a fuel because there are no calories coming in from food during the fasting period.

What are the benefits of intermittent fasting besides weight loss? Studies are showing that it can improve memory, immune system, heart health, gut microbiota, blood sugars, insulin resistance, and physical endurance.

Is it OK to eat whatever you want during the “eating” hours? If you are serious about losing weight, the answer is no. Any extra calories consumed that are not being used as energy will be stored as fat. It is important to be mindful of food choices and the amount you are consuming, otherwise you can pack tons of calories in a short period of time.

How to Start Intermittent Fasting

  • First, get approval from your doctor and check if any existing medical condition or medication will suffer adverse effects from or be compromised by intermittent fasting. This eating pattern should not be tried by teenagers, people with eating disorders, pregnant women, or people with diabetes at risk for low blood sugars.
  • There are different ways of doing intermittent fasting, but, in my opinion, the best schedule is the one closest to the body’s natural physiology. Fast from 6-7 pm until 7-8 am the following day. This means that dinner should be the last meal of the day. Eating after dinner is a learned behavior over the last century and triggered by the stimulus of modern technology and 24/7 entertainment.
  • During the 10-12 hours of a typical eating period, don’t go wild by choosing high-calorie junk foods. Try to space out the food intake by 3-4 hours. For example, breakfast at 7 am, lunch at 11 am, snack at 3 pm, dinner at 7 pm. During the time you are not eating, drink plenty of water, unsweetened tea, or other zero-calorie beverages.
  • Be mindful of your food choices. Pick foods high in nutrients and fiber as they will help feel fuller and crave less. Choose whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, a variety of colorful vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. Limit highly processed foods and alcohol.

If you are thinking about trying intermittent fasting, consult with your doctor and discuss meal and snack ideas with a registered dietitian.


Topics: diet, exercise

Written by Elize Rumsley – RD, LD, CDE, MS, PhD.

Elize is registered and state licensed, has a BS in Human Nutrition and a MA and PhD in Nutrition Science.

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