As modern human beings, we’re preprogrammed to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. And if the processed-food marketers have their way, a lot of inbetweeners.
Now, there is nothing wrong with a few treats and a bit of snacking every now and again, but eating mindlessly can add heaps of empty calories into your diet.
This can not only lead to unhealthy weight gain but also an overburdened metabolism, liver and heart and worst of all burnt out mitochondria (mitochondria power the cells that make up our bodies).
The result; a chronic feeling of fatigue, health issues and accelerated aging.
But actually, we all want to feel energised, free of health risks and add life to our later years. Right?
So, which diet approaches tend to get the most attention when it comes to ticking these boxes?
One of our favourites is intermittent fasting. So what is it, how does it work and what are the benefits?
To start with; Intermittent fasting hinges on the fundamental idea that eating well means eating less. Here is an interesting article that points to the potential life extending benefits of calorie restriction: https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2018/04/calorie-restriction-extends-life-span-significantly-in-short-lived-primates/
Important to note that this blog post is not tailored diet advice, readers should consult with a qualified dietitian or nutritionist if they have an interest in weight loss and need a tailored diet. Eating less also does not mean starving oneself either. Intermittent fasting may not be advisable for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
The following 2 points can be thought of as a framework for understanding the cornerstones of the intermittent fasting approach
- Principle 1: Understand the timing
- A typical fast starts at 12 hours but 16 hours is fairly common
- That means 12 – 16 hours between dinner and breakfast typically
- Longer than 16 hours should be done in consultation with a healthcare practitioner
- Stick to a few set meal times and don’t graze all day
- Try to plot your meal times along a schedule you know you can maintain as consistency becomes key to getting results
- Principle 2: Nutrients over calories
- Eat whole foods (unprocessed) that are high in nutrients. These foods are also generally bright in colour and ensuring your meal is multi-coloured is a simple way of considering the nutrient content. Think broccoli, tomatoes, most fruit
- Eat clean proteins (not only animal protein, could be a plant protein like legumes). Free range meats are generally higher in nutrient and calorie value than grain fed meats
If you are trying intermittent fasting as a way of shedding a few unwanted kilos and increasing general feelings of wellbeing, try and add in some extra benefits like a power walk towards the end of a fast.
This will also fully maximise the metabolic benefits of the fast and promote lean muscle mass.
Good luck and happy munching.