Health & Wellness Committee: What's the Deal with Intermittent Fasting?

Jennifer Hall, Weavers Way Health & Wellness Committee

Intermittent Fasting

Thursday, Nov. 8, 7-8-30 p.m., Healing Arts Studio, 15 W. Highand Ave., Chestnut Hill

Join nutritiontist Jennifer Hall to learn more about fasting, and her own experience with intermittent fasting. FREE, but RSVPs are requested. Visit the Online Events Calendar for info.

Has anyone else noticed the increasing popularity of the phrase “intermittent fasting”? I was hearing and seeing it everywhere. It was trending on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds. People at my job were talking about it. I was hearing it on various podcasts. 

I couldn’t understand what all the hoopla was about. This is not a new thing. People have been fasting for thousands of years for religious and cultural reasons. But people were talking about it as if it was a new fad diet or a miracle cure. So I decided to do some research.

According to an article in the Annual Review of Nutrition (August 2017), intermittent fasting is a form of fasting that includes time-restricted eating, cycling between periods of fasting and eating. There are many different methods or schedules, but the more common ones are “10/14,” “8/16” and “6/18.” This means the daily eating window is 10, 8 or 6 hours, while the remaining times are the fasting period. 

Intermittent fasting has exploded in popularity and has been recently paired with other popular diets like the ketogenic diet and Whole30.

Can it produce results? This depends on what results are desired. From what I’ve read, many people try intermittent fasting for weight loss. But what is more interesting are the health benefits, which are are outlined in “Metabolic Effects of Intermittent Fasting” in the Annual Review. These benefits include circadian biology, which has positive implications on insulin sensitivity and can promote healthy gastrointestinal microbiota and reduce obesity-related conditions, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and diabetes.

After researching intermittent fasting, I decided to try it. My personal experience is that it has helped me shed some pounds, but it is hard to maintain. I find that skipping breakfast is difficult. By 10 a.m., I am famished and have to really struggle to last until noon. Then it would be better for me if I could skip dinner instead of lunch, because I am less hungry for dinner after working out. But I love cooking too much to skip dinner. Spending time in the kitchen after work is my solace — my stress relief. 

I have nevertheless adopted intermittent fasting into my daily way of eating. But I am interested in discovering other health benefits that this way of life can provide. If you are interested in learning more about the health benefits of fasting, join me on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Healing Arts Studio in Chestnut Hill.

Jennifer Hall is an integrative and functional nutritionist and health coach. She is the owner of Balanced Holistic Living, LLC, and treats a wide range of clients with varying conditions using a comprehensive holistic approach focused on identifying root causes of symptoms to support overall health and well-being. Email for more information. 

Views expressed in this article are those of the author, not necessarily the Health & Wellness Committee, and are not a substitute for talking to your doctor.