What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting was one of the most popular diets of 2022,1 and it’s still going strong in 2023. You may be wondering what it is and why so many people are talking about it. We’re here to give you all the information you need, so you can make an informed decision about whether intermittent fasting is for you! We’ll explore the science behind it, typical fasting plans, and how it can benefit your overall health. We’ll also see what Dr. Wallach has to say about fasting, and how he recommends making the most of it with good nutrition.
To start, let’s clear something up: intermittent fasting is less of a typical diet plan and more of an eating schedule. It usually involves long periods of fasting (anywhere from 10 hours to multiple days) followed by predefined meal times. Instead of eating anytime you want, you’ll be eating during a set window of time.
The most common fasting plans are Time Restricted Eating (TRF) and Alternate-Day Fasting (ADF). Those who participate in TRF usually fast for 16, 12, or 10 hours before eating each day. People who choose ADF usually fast (or limit calorie intake) four or five days out of the week, followed by three or two days of regular meals, respectively.2
In our opinion, the best part about intermittent fasting is your ability to ease into it slowly and place the fasting window wherever you want! Beginners will want to start with a shorter fast, such as the 12-hour plan, to get their bodies accustomed to longer breaks between meals. Most people also include sleep time in their fasting window – which means you’ll spend less time fighting the munchies – but it’s completely up to you when you prefer to fast. Overall, we think intermittent fasting is a really accessible, convenient way for many people to manage their calorie intake and support their overall health.
HOW IT WORKS
Intermittent fasting is associated with a number of health benefits, including weight loss and disease prevention. According to research, fasting lowers insulin levels and releases stored fat, which becomes energy for the body.3 In other words, fasting can help you lose weight4 and may make you feel more energized!5 This is due, in part, to the time of day you eat and how often you eat. The science behind it relates to our circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock that regulates your energy throughout the day and night. In general, if you eat at a time of day when you should be asleep or recovering from the day (late night), your body stores food as fat; if you eat at a time of day when your body expects to be active (morning, middle of the day, etc), the food is turned into energy.3,6
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting may support overall health and longevity by giving the body more time in between meals to repair itself at the cellular level. During the fast, amazing things happen to your metabolism. “Many things happen during intermittent fasting that can protect organs against chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, age-related neurodegenerative disorders, even inflammatory bowel disease and many cancers,” explained Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Mark Mattson.6 Research says that the fasting process may aid the body’s natural cleanup/detox process, reduce inflammation, and protect cells from damage.7,8,9 It may also help regulate blood pressure, boost memory function, and generate neurons, all of which will help the body thrive.5,6,10 Fasting has also been studied for its ability to reduce insulin resistance and balance blood sugar levels, which may help those with diabetes (or those who are at risk and want to prevent it).11,12 The list goes on and on, but as you can see, there are many potential health benefits to be explored with time-restricted eating schedules.
90 Essential Nutrients and Fasting Go Hand-in-Hand
For over 50 years, Dr. Wallach has sought to educate the public on the importance of nutrition, and how the right balance is key to supporting longevity and a healthy lifestyle. According to him, the 90 essential nutrients and intermittent fasting go hand in hand, especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. “If you’re eating, eating, eating, you’re going to gain weight,” he explained to audiences on his radio show, “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie”, in 2021.13 “If you’re eating for only 10 hours a day instead of 15 hours a day, and you’re taking a supplement, you’ll lose weight faster and lose more weight.”
Long before they were trendy, Dr. Wallach knew supplements and fasting together would be the best way to help people overcome binge eating, continuous snacking, and the constant thirst for more energy. “People gain weight because of a behavior called PICA, which is an insatiable drive to eat – because you’re missing all these nutrients,” he said during a separate interview.14 “Your body keeps telling you to eat when you’re missing these nutrients; [if] you take the nutrients [the supplements], your body stops telling you to eat.” To sum up Dr. Wallach’s point: intermittent fasting can only work its metabolic magic if you’re getting the right nutrients to support your body in between fasts. High-quality supplements provide a quick and easy solution to that problem!
Before You Try Intermittent Fasting
Everyone is different, and it’s important for us to recognize that this diet may not work for all of us. Before you dive into a new eating schedule, make sure to check in with your doctor. Those who are pregnant or on medications especially need to consult a healthcare provider before changing their eating routine.