Day 17 of our 30-day nutrition challenge is about intermittent fasting – could it improve your health and weight?

In one particular study of 30 people for four weeks doing alternate day fasting the average weight loss was 3.5kg (control group 0.19kg), blood pressure also reduced.

There’s various ways to do intermittent fasting:

  • time restricted eating – fasting for 12 hours per day and eating food within 12 hours per day, or
  • 5:2 – fasting two non-consecutive days per week with just 600-800 calories

It’s suggested intermittent fasting may help you lose weight quicker than a restricted eating diet and that intermittent fasting may also reverse diabetes, improve sleep, and decrease risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. But, and it’s a BIG but – there’s not a sufficient number of studies showing safety long term, they have all been short term studies and many have been done on rodents. We need more longer-term larger population studies with human participants. But the information is looking interesting.

If you are in good health and you’d like to try intermittent fasting perhaps the easiest format would be the 12 hour fast – not eating for 12 hours per day, perhaps between 8pm until 8am. If you find this achievable and you’d like to stretch it a bit further perhaps add an additional fasting hour.

Will it help you?

If you snack in the evening whilst being distracted e.g. watching TV, then setting some structured non-eating time is helpful.

If you don’t want to cut our any particular food groups then eating in a restricted time frame means you still get to eat all food groups.

The 5:2 diet means you can pick which days are the fasting days so it works around social occasions making this way of eating more sustainable for the longer term.

But, in the hours/days which are non-fasting you do still need to eat a healthy balanced diet including 5-a-day and wholegrains.

Not for everyone

Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. It’s not advised for pregnant women, children, the elderly, some mental health conditions, and if there is a history of an eating disorder. If you’re diabetic it’s important to check with your GP before you try it as your medication may need to change.

If you’d like to find out more tips to improve your health check out our webinars and our Bitesize Nutrition podcasts especially the episodes with Dr Adam Collins on gender, weight & exercise. Listen free without registration on your phone or PC by clicking on the podcast link in this paragraph, or listen to Bitesize Nutrition on iTunes & Spotify.

Don’t forget to let us know what you think using #nutritionchallenge30

A reminder:

  • The information in this article is for educational purposes and should not replace medical advice.
  • The information is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition.
  • If you have a diagnosed medical condition, you should consult a doctor before making any major changes to your diet, and;
  • Some supplements may interact with medications and you should check with your GP before commencing any supplement programme.
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Day 18 – Resisting snack temptation
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