I bet by now, either you or someone you know has tried intermittent fasting and have something to say about it. I have not tried it myself, but I have heard from friends who swear by it. As a physician, I see patients who during the month of Ramadan fast all day and engorge themselves with food at night and I am sure most do just fine, but the ones who come into my office complain of heartburn, headaches, joint pains, and fatigue. And sometimes when I accidentally fast (like when traveling or too busy with a project or activity) I get ravenous and then frantically eat anything in sight, which usually means eating highly palatable and accessible not-so-healthy foods. As a Cookie Monster, my healthy decision making skills fly out the window.
But it does make sense that if you limit the hours you eat, usually you eat less calories. And it gives your digestive tract some time to finish the job and recover. And some research shows that when insulin levels do go down and stay down, you will burn off more fat. Some do a 12 hour fast, which doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Just don't eat from 8 PM to 8AM. Or better yet, don't eat from 6 PM to 8 AM. Even I can do that. But then I hear about folks who ONLY eat in a two hour period, like 6 PM to 8 PM. Or the 5:2 plan which you eat every other day. Mmmm. I don't know about that.
I still don't what to make of this form of dieting but I do know if works for some people and everybody is different. What I have learned from my Institute for Integrative Nutrition school this past year is bio individuality - what works for one person may be a disaster for another. I would love to hear what your experience or thoughts are on this matter. Please write them in the comments below! Also, check out this article from the Harvard Health blog: