The popular 5 and 2 diet has been around for ages, which is more related to dropping your calories significantly for 2 days a week. This can have weight loss benefits cutting your calories down for the week; however, in my opinion fasting daily 16:8 has greater benefits and is easier to sustain. This involves fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8 hours. It is important to ensure that your first meal of the day is still high in fibre, protein, and micro-nutrients with no refined carbohydrates. If you are going to have carbohydrates make sure they are complex carbohydrates.
This isn’t necessarily about cutting calories but more about the significant benefits to your overall health. However, generally you will consume less calories leading to weight loss.
Fasting allows your digestive organs and adrenal glands to rest. This allows cells to regenerate rather than replicate reducing the risk of chronic diseases and will significantly reduce inflammation within the body. It will also take the pressure off your adrenal glands to produce insulin, helping to prevent pre-diabetes and diabetes. Relieving the strain on the adrenal glands will reduce the production of cortisol and adrenaline, again reducing inflammation and aiding the cell’s ability to utilise the energy they receive effectively. It takes approximately 90-180 minutes to fully digest your food. If you are a grazer this puts strain on the digestive system never allowing a rest period.
We naturally fast for approximately 8 hours a day, whilst we sleep but the research shows that fasting for longer can provide numerous benefits to your health and well-being.
It can help with:
Cardio-metabolic risk factors, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin-resistance.
Your immune system and inflammatory responses due to the
reduction of cortisol and free radicals being released from the
Chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis, by reducing levels of the C - reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation.
Improve blood sugar control, lowering the insulin production, especially for those at risk of diabetes or overweight around the abdominal area.
Improve focus, mental clarity, and brain function and prevent
neurodegenerative disorders, by reducing inflammation.
Increase the secretion of growth hormone (HGH), improving
development of muscle, sustaining muscle, and improve
Increase weight loss and boost metabolism by increasing levels
of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which can enhance
Improve body composition, more lean muscle and less fat.
Increased energy levels due to the reduction of cortisol which in
turn allows the mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) to
function more effectively.
Easy to follow as it doesn’t involve counting calories and because
you do this daily your body and mind will adapt to the change
How to fast?
I advise fasting overnight with your last meal no later than 8pm. Fasting the evening and through the night and morning. If your last meal is at 8pm then your first meal will be at lunch time around 12pm.
If you last meal is earlier, the first meal will be earlier.
Make sure your first meal is high in lean protein, fibre and a small amount of complex carbohydrates, to ensure the first meal of the day doesn’t spike your blood sugar and therefore trigger the insulin response and rollercoaster beginning. This will then set you up for the rest of the day and your sugar craving will decline.
I have fasted for many years off and on and always feel the benefits from it. The benefits of fasting speak for themselves, so why not give it a go.