We’ve always been told not to skip meals, and that even if we’re trying to cut down on our calorie intake, we should go for smaller portions and healthier options.
But is intermittent fasting the trick to improving our health? Some studies suggest it may help with weight control, improve brain health and slow down the effects of ageing.
Intrigued? Here’s the lowdown.
So what is it?
Intermittent fasting involves periods of eating and fasting. It isn’t so much about the foods you should eat, but when you should eat them, so some don’t even consider it diet at all.
But Bridget Marr, a dietitian at Nutritional Solutions, disagrees. “I believe it’s a diet as it involves restrictions and changes to current eating habits,” she says.
There are several kinds of intermittent fasting regimes, but a well-known one is the LeanGains method, which involves fasting for 16 hours each day, so eating only takes places during the remaining eight-hour window. The eating and fasting schedule should be consistent every day, and people who follow this method typically only consume two meals between the hours of 1pm and 9pm. This timing is popular because it allows them to still enjoy lunches and dinners with friends.
Another common method is the Eat-Stop-Eat method, which involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week. While calorie free drinks are allowed, this one can be harder to do.