Myth Buster Alert: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” NOT!
According to various scientific reports from the National Library of Medicine (NCBI); narrowing your eating window to eight hours, then fasting for 16 hours each day, can increase brain function (2), lessen overall body inflammation (3), increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower blood pressure (4), weight loss(5), and finally, life longevity! (6). So, who wants to try Intermittent Fasting, or as the science community call it; Time Restricted Eating.
Time Restricted Eating has been extensively researched and is becoming a popular, easy lifestyle change due to its vast health benefits. Traditionally, after at least 12 hours of fasting, our body begins to convert energy from fat cells stored in the body. As it breaks down the stored fat to release glucose, ketones are delivered into the blood. Once you have ketones in your blood, you are in a state of ketosis. You probably have heard of keto diets, which rely heavily on restricting carbohydrates in order to achieve ketosis. But if you want to enjoy your healthy grains, pastas and bread, Time Restricted Eating (Intermittent Fasting), can be an excellent and easier alternative to get those same ketones flowing and enjoy the following benefits.
Firstly, having ketones in your blood can improve cognitive function (PubMed). Ketones are one of the few substances that can cross the blood brain barrier. The state of ketosis has long been used to treat seizures in some patients, but in recent studies shared by Harvard Medical School, being in ketosis has shown a noticeable effect on various brain functions and improving certain brain diseases (HMS). So, by fasting each day, you can improve both brain health and increase memory function (HMS).
Secondly, ketones released in the body have shown to reduce overall body inflammation. As reported in the National Library of Medicine, fasting not only has a positive effect on tissue inflammation, but also on cardiovascular dysfunction (NCBI). For myself, I notice that my joints ache less when I fast. Also, in various experiments reported on examine.com, healthy cholesterol HDL-C, increased while blood pressure reported as being reduced (EC). Other reports from the Annual Review of Nutrition state “Pervasive benefits on multiple organ systems” (ARN).
Lastly, and most significantly, fasting each day can cause weight loss that is likely to stay off! By narrowing the amount of time in which you eat, you naturally consume less calories. Additionally, you will eat less at mealtimes as they’re closer together. According to Harvard Medical School, other low-calorie diets usually fail due to the body improvising and adapting to the lower calorie in-take. However, with Time Restricted Eating, these adaptions do not occur, creating more effective weight-loss as well as sustaining a healthier weight overall (HMS)
So, what does the 16:8 Time Restricted Eating program look like for you?
The 8-hour eating window can be anytime of your choosing. If you’d rather eat at 8AM, then finish your last meal by 4PM, that works. Other people wait until noon to begin eating, then finish their last meal by 8PM. It’s advisable to avoid eating within 3 hours before going to bed. This allows your body time to digest before sleeping, enabling better digestion as well as aiding in a better night’s sleep. I like to skip my breakfast meal then begin eating around 10AM, closing with my last meal by 6PM. You can eat what and when you want during the 8-hour window, but it is still advisable to make healthy food choices. Also, it is important to stay hydrated especially while fasting, so drink plenty of water. At least 64oz a day for everyone! You can still enjoy your coffee or tea if you’re fasting in the morning, but don’t add creamers or sugar. So, have fun experimenting to find the best eating window time period that works for you. All that matters is that the body fasts for 16 hours each day, in order to reach the daily state of ketosis and receive all the wellness benefits.
It’s important to note that there are some health conditions that may not benefit from Time Restricted Eating. So, if you have any doubts or pre-existing conditions, please check-in with your physician before you start fasting.
There are other fasting programs such as 12:12, in which you fast for 12, then eat for 12. This may be a better first step as you adjust to a regular fasting routine. Or there are more complicated programs which such as; 5:2, which involves eating regularly for 5 days, then fast for 2. Alternate Day and 24 Hour Fasting are other options, where you eat solid foods every other day or fast for a full 24 hours, twice a week.
So, pick the fasting window for your body to begin releasing daily ketones into your system. Then revel in higher energy as well as enjoying all the health benefits. Although this could be a small adjustment to your lifestyle, it can have a lasting and impressive impact on your overall health including; becoming smarter (NCBI), weight loss (NCBI), and living longer (NCBI).