How and why you might want to fast
Fasting is fast becoming a new health trend and is worth considering for supporting a variety of conditions, such as digestive imbalances, detoxification and insulin resistance as well as to help with weight loss. Recently intermittent fasting has become popularised by Michael Moseley. We have become a nation of snackers and coffee drinkers and what we don’t always stop and consider is the impact of this on our health. Constantly bombarding or bodies with food and drinks can be overwhelming for our bodies and does not give any time for us to rest and digest or to reset our body clocks.
So how do you go about fasting and are there any rules?
The simple answer is no not really; fasting is as easy or as complicated as you make it and there are a vast variety of options to choose from. The main thing here is to have a look at the different options and then try the approach that you feel you can commit to without causing yourself or your loved ones to much unnecessary stress.
Some Fasting Options
A 12 hour fast is probably the single most simple start to fasting – so simply eat your evening meal and then don’t eat for the next 12 hours – simple. Therefore if you finish eating at 7.30 PM you would then wait until at least 7.30 AM to have a meal.
16:8 routine is a very popular method of fasting. Here you basically have an eight hour window in which you can have 1-3 meals and you fast for 16 hours. This method can be a great way to support gentle weight loss without any of the calorie counting. For people who are pre-diabetic / insulin resistant they may need to combine this pattern of eating with a low carb high-fat diet – this has been found to support reduction in HbA1. It is vitally important though if you are diabetic and on medication that you follow this regime with the support of a healthcare practitioner as you may well need less medication and this will need a regular review.
Intermittent fasting is where you would follow a very low-calorie diet on 2-3 days a week. Aiming to consume around 500 calories a day for women and 600 a day for men. On the non-fasting days you simply have to stick to your daily calorie recommendation based on your basal metabolic rate and level of activity. This approach is the most frequently followed approach and can be very supportive of weight loss.
Water fasting – It is possible to have an extended period of fasting where you only drink water. This though is not something to try on your own and I would definitely recommend that you build up to this gradually through the 12 hours and 16:8 styles of fasting and work closely with a healthcare professional.
Drinks when you are fasting
On fasting days, you can drink water, carbonated water, tea and coffee as well as green and herbal teas, a small amount of milk is permitted if preferred.
Popularised for enhancing weight loss – simply blend a good quality fat such as coconut oil with a filter coffee and kick-start your fast day.
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About Ruth Taylor
Ruth Taylor is a Nutritional Consultant located in Hampshire. She has clinics in Romsey and at The Natural Practice, Winchester. Ruth is a Lecturer at the world renowned Institute of Optimum Nutrition and runs supervision sessions for other Nutritional Therapists in Hampshire and Surrey.
Specialising in Digestive Health
Dip ION BSc RGN DN… Read more
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