Many cultures and religions have practiced intermittent fasting throughout time, but only recently intermittent fasting benefits have been highlighted in the medical community.
Intermittent fasting is a time-restricted eating pattern in which you fast between 10 to 16 hours. When you aren’t fasting, you can eat like you typically would.
Are you considering intermittent fasting? If so, read on to learn more about intermittent fasting benefits, tips and tricks on how to fast properly and more.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting offers many positive health-related benefits and convenience compared to other eating patterns.
1. Weight loss
Intermittent fasting is often touted as a quick weight loss diet. Since you are limiting the time you consume food and caloric beverages, you’ll likely reduce your overall daily calorie intake, plus you’ll give your body a metabolic break. Because you’re reducing the time frame in which you eat, you may see results fairly quickly — especially if you’re used to eating late at night.
2. Reduces blood pressure
Prolonged high blood pressure makes the blood pushing against the arteries wall harder to flow, which makes your heart work harder to pump blood throughout your body.
Fasting periods may help to reduce blood pressure, especially when followed long-term.
3. Lowers blood sugar & insulin resistance
Typically, our body breaks down carbohydrates and turns them into glucose. Then, glucose fuels our bodies and brains.
When fasting, your body doesn’t use glucose, meaning that extra glucose left over doesn’t turn into fat that gets stored in the body.
Instead, our bodies use fat for energy which helps reduce blood sugar and insulin levels.1 This improvement in blood glucose may be sustained over time.
4. Reduces inflammation
Compared to other eating patterns, intermittent fasting may help reduce inflammation and help improve inflammatory diseases.
5. Offers flexibility
Some people eat more processed snacks at night. Others eat most of their calories in the morning. With intermittent fasting, you can choose your own fasting and eating window to fit your lifestyle and needs.
6. No foods are off-limits
Although I highly encourage nutrient-dense meals during the eating window, there are no food restrictions on an intermittent fasting eating pattern.
You can continue enjoying your favorite dessert in smart portions while still reaping all the intermittent fasting benefits!
Intermittent Fasting Tips
It can feel daunting to get started on a new eating pattern. Try the following tips and tricks as you start your intermittent fasting journey.
- Drink lots of water! Drinking water aids in digestion, may help boost your metabolism, and helps you feel energized and satisfied. It’s the perfect weight loss aid.
- Align your sleeping schedule with your fasting period. Make sure you stick with a regular bedtime. You’ll feel refreshed the next day and can keep those late-night cravings away!
- Stay busy. Go for walks or spend time with family and friends so your mind isn’t hyper-focused on eating (especially during your fasting time!).
- Track your weight. Monitor success with a digital scale over time.
- Practice makes perfect. Adjusting to a new eating pattern takes time and effort. Give yourself some grace and allow mistakes along the way.
- Plan ahead. If you know you’ll be eating with friends or family outside of your fasting period, adjust accordingly. Or let them know about your commitment to bettering your health.
Intermittent Fasting Plan
If you’re looking for an easy way to take advantage of intermittent fasting benefits, consider Jenny Craig’s meal plan for weight loss.
Jenny’s complete plan leverages the powerful science of intermittent fasting and incorporates Jenny Craig’s revolutionary Recharge Bar, which is designed to help accelerate weight loss and fat burn.* It offers nutritious, chef-crafted meals you’ll love.
It’s a first-of-its-kind, holistic weight loss program that can help you build healthier habits in the long run. What I like the most about this program is that it’s not a “diet” – it’s a lifestyle approach that addresses the whole person by addressing food, activity, support and tracking.
*When used as directed as part of a metabolic fasting diet.
What to Eat While Intermittent Fasting
During your fasting period, don’t consume any food. You can drink water, black coffee, unsweetened tea or fruit-infused water. Avoid any sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened beverages or gum as this will interrupt your fast.
When you’re ready to resume eating, take it slow and steady! You don’t have to catch up on all the foods you missed. Jenny Craig’s fasting bars are a great way to keep your body in fat-burning mode during your intermittent fast.
Try to incorporate whole grains, leafy greens, fruits, healthy fats and lean proteins on your list of food for weight loss. Consuming plenty of dietary fiber from whole grains, fruits and veggies can help you stay regular and feel fuller.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe?
Overall, fasting can be a safe approach for most individuals over the age of 18. It is simple to follow and offers many health benefits I noted earlier.
Intermittent fasting benefits greatly outweigh the risks. Be sure to check with your physician before making any changes to your diet.
Some exceptions of individuals who may need to consult their physician before starting an intermittent fasting eating pattern include:
- Pregnant or breast-feeding women
- People with eating disorders or a history of eating disorders
- People under the age of 18
- People with kidney stones, gastroesophageal reflux, diabetes and other chronic medical complications
Ready to start an easy-to-follow weight loss program that included intermittent fasting? Jenny Craig can help.
Click here to learn more about our different plans.
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and reviewed by certified professionals.
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