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Intermittent fasting – Not just for weight loss

If you want to lose fat, improve metabolism, and experience other health benefits all without giving up your favourite foods, intermittent fasting might be for you!

It’s an emerging area of research and the results are very promising. Similar to calorie reduced diets, intermittent fasting has benefits for weight loss and metabolic improvements, and might even improve brain and mental health.

Intermittent fasting (IF) has a few advantages over regular calorie reduced diets. Not only is it easier for many people to stick with, but it also seems to have a metabolic advantage. These are really good things when it comes to long-term health.

Intermittent fasting is just that – fasting intermittently (periodically). It’s an “eating pattern,” rather than a “diet.” That means regularly reducing your eating and drinking during pre-set times. It’s controlling when you eat and drink, as opposed to what you eat and drink.

There are lots of ways to intermittently fast. It can be done daily, weekly, or monthly. After we go over the health benefits, we’ll look at some of the most popular methods on how to, and who shouldn’t, IF.

Background: History and animal studies

Intermittent Fasting for Weight and Fat Loss

Intermittent Fasting for Metabolic and Heart Health

Intermittent Fasting for Brain and Mental Health

How intermittent fasting helps our bodies and brains

Who shouldn’t try intermittent fasting?

How to Intermittently Fast

Conclusion

Intermittent fasting is a way to get the benefits of a regular calorie reduced diet without restricting what you eat, just when you eat it. Intermittent fasting reduces both weight and fat, and can improve blood sugar and blood lipids. It has been shown to reduce blood pressure and some markers of inflammation. Many animal studies show improvements in brain health too.

While these benefits of IF are similar to those with calorie reduced diets, IF has some key advantages including being easier for some people to stick with and it might help people eat more intentionally. There is also evidence that IF preferentially reduces fat while preserving muscle and may help our bodies become more “metabolically flexible.”

More research is needed to really understand long-term benefits of IF on the body and brain, as well as which IF approach is optimal for different people and different health goals.

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