Intermittent fasting has recently become an increasingly popular option for weight loss, with many adopting it simply because it fits into their schedule.
Food historian Amy Bentley explained to The Atlantic that our tendency to eat three meals a day is not based on nutritional science or natural human appetite, but rather a social norm. However, many of us force ourselves to eat at “normal meal times” because that’s what we’ve been taught to do.
Some people, however, are starting to move away from this eating model in favor of a more customized eating plan that better fits their lifestyle and their body’s needs.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that regularly schedules one hour to fast and one hour to eat (according to Johns Hopkins Medicine). While there are many ways to fast, many prefer a daily approach that limits food consumption to a six- or eight-hour window each day, referred to as 18:6 or 16:8, respectively.
How the 18:6 method works
The 18:6 fasting method involves 18 hours of fasting, leaving you with a six-hour eating window. Pop Sugar notes that this is a more rigid form of fasting than the 14:10 or 16:8 methods. It is best suited for those more experienced with this method or those who find that an eight-hour eating window allows them plenty of time to eat a lot.
While 18 hours of fasting may seem like a lot, the Wharton Medical Clinic emphasizes that eight of those hours will be spent sleeping. Although this is a stricter method of fasting, the 18:6 method also allows for some flexibility in terms of when your six-hour window begins and ends.
If you’re not the early sleeper type, a 2pm eating window. until 8 p.m. may be ideal. If, on the other hand, breakfast is your forte, the six-hour from 10 a.m. until 16.00 pm may suit you better. The beauty of a short eating window is that you can stop counting calories and enjoy nutritious, satisfying meals.
Rozalyn Anderson, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin, told the BBC that intermittent fasting suits us better from an evolutionary point of view. Giving our bodies a substantial break from the heavy load of digestion allows room for cellular repair and the release of energy from our bodies.
Healthline reports that intermittent fasting can also help with weight loss, reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, lower blood pressure, and improve brain function.
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