What You Need Know About Intermittent Fasting
Shape Malaysia|May - June 2019

You’ve probably heard a lot about this dieting and weight-loss technique, but what is it exactly? Is it safe? And does it mean you can’t eat?

Scrolling through meal prep ideas on Instagram, chances are you’ve come across all sorts of meal plans that people follow and swear by— Whole30, keto, paleo, IIFYM. Intermittent fasting (IF) is another eating style making that’s generating a lot of buzzes and, with it, a lot of questions. But what exactly is intermittent fasting? How do you do it? And is it actually healthy?

Intermittent fasting isn’t a diet

IF doesn’t have a meal plan in the sense that it’s a prescribed diet of things you can and cannot eat. Rather, it’s an eating schedule or pattern that dictates when you eat.

“Intermittent fasting is a means of cycling between periods of fasting and eating, following a specific and predetermined pattern,” says Dr. Cara Harbstreet, of Street Smart Nutrition. “People may be drawn to this form of dieting because it does not specify what to eat.” Plus, IF comes in many forms that you can modify depending on your schedule and needs.

“The amount of time that you spend eating and fasting can vary depending on which form of the diet you choose,” says Dr. Karen Ansel, author of Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging: Stay Younger, Live Longer. “Some may require that you fast for 16 hours out of the day and then eat during the remaining eight hours; others may recommend a 24-hour fast a couple of days a week; and others may simply require that you eat about 500 or 600 calories, two days a week and then eat as much and whatever you want on the others.”

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