There are lots of studies about intermittent fasting. This way of eating has been shown to help both rats and people live longer, lose weight, and increase cardiovascular health. The most recent study on this type of fasting found that eating during a 6-8 hour window while fasting for 16-18 hours, is the best way to achieve maximum health results.
Please remember, everyone is different and there are some people with specific medical conditions that need to eat more frequently.
From Sugar-Burning to Fat-Burning
Mark Mattson, a neuroscience professor at Johns Hopkins, is the author of the study. He hypothesizes that this type of eating pattern changes our metabolism on the cellular level. Instead of having a constant supply of sugar to burn, cells must start using fat reserves. It’s no wonder that this diet is quite popular among people who want to lose fat and increase muscle mass.
It’s probably incorrect to call intermittent fasting a “diet” since it is more like a lifestyle change. It takes about 2-weeks to a month for your body to adjust. During that time, you’ll need to get over the whole “I’m hungry at night” thing. You might also feel a bit cranky or hangry. However, once you’ve adjusted, it isn’t a difficult plan to stick to.
Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods
There are no dietary restrictions, so you can eat whatever you want during the 6-hour window. It’s important to choose nutritionally dense food, not highly-processed supplements. Things like smoothies are a great way to add more vegetables to your diet without actually having to deal with the taste of vegetables. You can also choose to cook vegetables. The cooking process shrinks most vegetables down allowing you to eat more in one sitting.
If you’re unsure of not eating for 16-18 hours or have a medical condition, it’s best to speak with your doctor and a nutritionist before starting any sort of change. These healthcare professionals may suggest that you don’t dive in right away, but slowly extend the fasting period from 8 to 10 to 12 to 16 hours.