Intermittent fasting refers to the way we eat. It speaks more to the pattern of eating rather than a diet itself. In this way of eating we have cycles of eating and fasting. Some people eat normally for a few days and then restrict their calorie intake for a few days. This is an example of intermittent fasting.
It is possible for women to eat no more than 500 calories in any given day when doing an intermittent fast. For men, this should be about 600 calories for the day (Brown-Riggs, 2017).
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Researchers showed where the 11 am to 7 pm is a great window of time in which to eat and fast for the other times when we are sleeping and just came out of our sleep, making it more manageable (Brown-Riggs, 2017). These same people claim that this pattern of eating has the following benefits:
- Reduces insulin resistance
- Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
- Slows the progression of diabetes
- Improves pancreatic functions
- Reduces/Limit inflammation
- Decreases body mass index
- Promotes weight loss
- Offers protection against cardiovascular diseases
- Lowers the heart rate
- Reduces LDL
- Lowers cholesterol
- Improves metabolic efficiency
- Helps in the reduction of blood pressure
A Word of Caution for the Wise
Hypoglycemia is possible when we are on an intermittent fast. This means that our blood sugar could drop low, especially if we are taking the same amount of medication. However, please be cautioned that a decision to take less medication should always involve our doctor/s.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
I know that by now you are excited and maybe a bit anxious to learn how to do intermittent fasting. There are a few ways you could fast and receive some, if not all, or even more benefits than the ones I listed above. Let’s look at some possible ways we can fast and be healthier:
- Alternate days of normal calorie intake with other days of severely restricting your calorie intake. In this method, you can set aside two days per week for fasting. During these two days, women can consume 500 calories, whilst men are allowed to consume 600 calories. Here is an example of this type of intermittent fasting:
- A specific window of time intermittent fasting. Here we may decide to eat during a specific window of time for example within a six or eight hours window dependent on our preference. This method offers some flexibility as we choose our window. An example is that we could choose to eat between 12 noon and 7 pm. This means we would extend our nightly fast for a few hours in the day. Here our first meal for the day would be eaten at noon and the final meal must be eaten before 7 pm.
Some Notes About Intermittent Fast
Our bodies take approximately 6 to 8 hours to burn the stored carbs/glycogen. When this is exhausted we start to burn fat to be used as our main source of fuel. This does not happen overnight and can take a few weeks before our bodies behave in this manner. The result during the transition period is that we may experience sugar cravings.
In the meantime, while our body is getting accustomed to burning our fat, we can reduce our cravings with coconut oil. Yes, you read correctly. Coconut oil is really a short-chain fat which is quickly broken down to provide the much-needed fuel to help with the cravings we may experience. Yes, using coconut oil can give us that burst of energy we need to perform our daily tasks.
I am now experimenting with intermittent fasting. Let me explain that I am going through a brief period of not feeling well due to the common cold. This resulted in a loss of appetite some days. Yes, my involuntary intermittent fast.
I, however, noticed that I had improved readings and that my cravings disappeared. I limit my consumption of carbs and sweets because I am diabetic, but, some days I still experienced and occasionally gave in to temptations. This was not the case on my involuntary intermittent fast.
The truth is, some days I get concerned about the fact that I am now so turned off from eating a number of foods. I love bammy, especially deep fried in any oil. Now, I can’t stand to eat the bammy soaked in the unhealthy oils. I went to the beach yesterday with my family and I did not enjoy the fried fish nor the bammy.
My craving for bread had disappeared and even rice. Before now, you could not give me curried meat without the whitest rice you could find in the supermarket. Not now! I use the natural produce grown in my country to replace rice, bread, and other pastries. This is what I use to replace the foods that were making me ill:
- Sweet potatoes
- Green bananas
- Cho Cho
- Steamed bammy
Please note that a lot of the above are high in starch and so I pay attention to the amount I eat at any given time, especially during my fasting days. When I am fasting, I eat a lot of pumpkin and cho cho since these are low in carbs. I also eat a lot of raw vegetables and other vegetables which are low in carbs, such as:
- Pak Choy
- Limited amount of Nuts (walnut, pecan, cashew, peanuts, and pistachio)
I also eat the following, especially on my fasting days:
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
Let me hasten to add that because I am diabetic, I can’t do a long fast without developing other health issues. I simply try to extend my nighttime fast for about three hours some mornings. Ideally, diabetics should avoid fasting of any kind.
If you have been following my articles, then you would know by now that I am not afraid to self-experiment for the sake of a better health. Thus far it has been great and I give God the glory.
I now take about half of the prescribed medication and I noticed the following benefits from my new lifestyle:
- Significantly lower blood glucose readings
- Lower blood pressure mostly in the normal range
- Weight loss
- More energy
- Less inflamed body
- Limited and certainly not severe arthritic pain
Should I Avoid or Not?
The following people should avoid intermittent fasting:
- People taking beta-blockers (please see below for more information)
- Elderly people
- Pregnant women
- Women who are breastfeeding
- People younger than 20 years of age
- Underweight individuals
- People with eating disorders
Beta-adrenergic blocking agents (beta-blockers) are medications which are used to lower our blood pressure. The effects of the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline) are blocked by beta-blockers. Our heart beats slower and less forceful when we take beta-blockers and this reduces our blood pressure. Blood flow is also improved because our blood vessels open up when we consume beta-blockers.
Please note that some beta-blockers work on our heart while others work on our blood vessels and our heart (Mayo Clinic Staff, 1998 – 2017).
Why are Beta-Blockers Used?
Beta-blockers are used for the following conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm)
- Angina (chest pain)
- Heart failure
- Heart attacks
- Some tremors
Some Examples of Beta-Blockers
Please see below for some examples of beta-blockers:
Please allow me to encourage you to continue the research on intermittent fasting and to share your findings and your thoughts on the topic. Please click on the button below and subscribe for updates and free e-books.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Beta Blockers.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), 1998-2017. Web. 09 Apr. 2017.