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To Fast or Not To Fast, That is the Question

To Fast or Not to Fast, from Angela Manderfeld, RD

Over the past few years there has been more and more talk about the possible benefits of fasting. People have been fasting for centuries, Hippocrates and the Greeks may be on to something. They are responsible for the Mediterranean diet and found fasting was a beneficial practice for many health conditions.  Contrary to the typical advice of eating every few hours, the majority of fasts require 12-24 hr of no energy intake or very low calorie intake. There are many different types of fasting, so here’s a quick look at all of them and what they are.

 

So, who could try it:

  • anyone with the desire to see what it is all about and possibly experience health benefits
  • anyone willing to commit and follow through for at least a month to give it a solid chance
  • anyone interested in improving immune function and insulin sensitivity
  • anyone wondering if this may jumpstart weight loss for them

Who should think twice about trying it, or discuss first with their healthcare professional who has researched and understands fasting:

  • anyone on insulin or a sulfonylurea (glipizide, glyburide, glimepiride)
  • anyone with adrenal fatigue
  • anyone who has struggled with disordered eating or an eating disorder
  • anyone with any other disease or condition that could be worsened by going long periods without eating

If you decide this is for you (and not just for the mice that it’s been studied on), the easiest one to start with would be the time restricted, overnight fast for 12-13 hr.  Most people do this one anyway, and if you don’t, then it might be the easiest one to start with because the majority of the fast is while you sleep. 

Finally, fasting is a practice that has been around a very long time.  Even though it appears to be the latest fad, people have been doing this for centuries.  There is definitely a right and wrong way to fast, so do a little research.  Finally, ask yourself why you want to do it.  Your why is what drives your will.  For example, if you have chosen to do the time-restricted feeding because you can “eat whatever your want” during the 8 hr time frame, this truly may not be the right choice for you (especially if your fave foods are Hot Cheetos and Coke). You are likely to be disappointed in your results and do more harm than good.   If your “why” is improved sleep, improving your immune system, or other health reasons, then you will be more motivated to provide your body with the highest quality food during your 8 hr feeding time to help support your why.

I’m all about taking chances and trying new things.  Intermittent fasting is harmless to most and could possibly be beneficial.  If you want to try it and are an appropriate candidate, go for it, but make sure to tell me how it goes.  Please email me, I want to hear about your experience!

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Even though diabetes is present in your life, there is hope. Hope that harmony between you and diabetes can be attained.

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