Intermittent Fasting: Merits and Misconceptions

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Intermittent fasting has been widely discussed and written about as a means to lose weight. The emphasis is on the timing of meal consumption, rather than on specifically what foods one should and should not eat. There are several variations, but the basic regimen consists of approximately an eight-hour eating period, followed by a 16-hour fasting period each day.

Our Paleo hunter-gatherer ancestors were not always able to find food in their surroundings and often went for long periods of time with nothing to eat. Convenience stores and food courts were unknown to them. As a result, human beings have evolved with the ability to function without food for great amounts of time.

According to Joel Fuhrman, M.D., author of Fasting and Eating for Health and several other books, it is best for the eating period to be completed at least three hours before bedtime.

During sleep, if one’s body isn’t burdened with digesting food, it can heal and repair one’s cells.  As a result, insulin levels will be reduced and that will allow the stored sugar in the fat cells to be released and used as energy, and weight loss will likely occur. Other positive side effects include reduced inflammation and improved immune function.

However, there is quite a bit of misinformation circulating concerning the correct way to follow the plan. There is literature that states that people have carte blanche to eat whatever they want, just as long as they keep their eating within that eight-hour window. One article gives a suggested eating window from 1 to 9 p.m. For many people, this too late in the evening to meet that three hour before bedtime deadline.

Certified Holistic Health Nutrition Coaches Mindy B. Pensig and Anthony C. Mirro, who specialize in healthy lifestyles and the attainment of ideal weight, believe a diet rich in good quality fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods is our best bet for maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle.

For a free 15-minute consultation, call 516-935-0354 (office) or 516-513-4000 (mobile), or email [email protected]. See listing in calendar section.

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