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What Is Intermittent Fasting and Is It Right for You?

Fasting has been around for ages now in various cultures; however, the importance of fasting has only recently gained momentum. It is a practice that encourages individuals not to eat for 16 hours (including time spent sleeping) or fasting for an entire 24-hour period only two times a week. This includes any liquids, excluding water, herbal tea, or black coffee. All drinks should be taken without any sweeteners or additives that add calories.

The idea behind intermittent fasting is that the body gets a period of rest between meals to solely focus on important cellular processes, balancing hormone levels that encourage fat loss, and promoting gene expression to support the immune system and the development of new cells. 

Is It Right for You?

Many individuals find that fasting is too difficult and leaves them with unwanted side effects, such as headaches, light-headedness, muscle aches, and fatigue. Once an individual feels these symptoms, they start to question if the benefits of fasting really outweigh the side effects.

These side effects can be minimized by starting the fast more slowly, which means that you don’t commit to a full 16- or 24-hour period of fasting at first. Start by fasting for 6 hours, then add 2 to 4 hours each week to minimize the impact on the body. Starting off with smaller windows of eating and fasting can help the body ease into this lifestyle change. 

Let’s take a look at how this would work in your life. You would need to consume your total caloric need between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m., each day, and not eat or snack at any point outside of that 8-hour period, meaning you are fasting for a full 16 hours. 

Much of this time would be while you were asleep, so that would also make the transition easier. This would allow you to stop eating a couple of hours before bedtime, and then go around 4 to 5 hours without eating the next day, depending on the time you wake up. 

However, if the above example does not work for your body, you can start even smaller and eat from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. The key is to find whatever works for you and to stick with that. No two bodies are alike, and it can take some experimentation to find what your body thrives off of.  

As for taking supplements with intermittent fasting, be mindful of which supplements are recommended with food and which ones are recommended on an empty stomach. Supplements that are water-soluble like vitamin C or any B vitamins are ideal while fasting. Minerals like zinc or copper can also be taken during periods of not eating. 

Curcumin, fat-soluble vitamins, amino acids, and magnesium are ideal for when you eat. As always, with anything you ingest, it is important to shop high-quality sources of supplements. Companies like Bioclinic Naturals adhere to very strict standards and are trusted by doctors. 

Probiotic-Pro BB536 is a probiotic with 10 billion active colony-forming units. Probiotics are often best taken on an empty stomach. When you do start eating again, this supplement may provide additional support for digestion and your overall health goals. If you are struggling to sleep as you work to change your diet, then Melatonin Time Release 5 Mg may help to ease your body and mind into sleep with a non-habit forming formula.

Intermittent fasting is not for everyone, but after reading this article, you hopefully have a better understanding of how it’s done. Just be mindful of your current health and needs. Speak with your primary care physician before trying this type of diet because it may not be right for you.