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16/8 Intermittent Fasting For Beginners

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Health Insider explains in super-simple fashion why and how to do Intermittent Fasting (IF), which is something that can sound complicated at first, but becomes very simple and easy once understood.

What do we need to know?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a good, well-evidenced way to ease your body’s metabolic load, and
give your organs a chance to recover from the strain of digestion and its effects. That’s not just your gastrointestinal organs! It’s your pancreas and liver too, amongst others—this is about glucose metabolism as much as it is about digestion.

This, in turn, allows your body some downtime to do its favorite thing, which is: maintenance!

This maintenance takes the form of enhanced cellular apoptosis and autophagy, helping to keep cells young and cancer-free.

In other words, with well-practised intermittent fasting, we can reduce our risk of metabolic disease (including heart disease and diabetes) as well as cancer and neurodegeneration.

You may be wondering: this sounds miraculous; what’s the catch? There are a couple:

  • While fasting from food, the body’s enhanced metabolism requires more water, so you’ll need to take extra care keep on top of your hydration (this is one reason why Ramadan fasting, while healthy for most people, is not as healthy as IF—because Ramadan fasting means abstaining from water, too).
  • If you are diabetic, and especially if you have Type 1 Diabetes, fasting may not be a safe option for you, since if you get a hypo in the middle of your fasting period, it’s obviously not a good idea to wait another many hours before fixing it.

Extra note on that last one: it’s easy to think “can’t I just lower my bolus insulin instead of eating?” and while superficially yes that will raise your blood sugar levels, it’s because the sugar will be sticking around in your blood, and not actually getting released into the organs that need it. So while your blood glucose monitor may say you’re fine, you will be starving your organs and if you keep it up they may suffer serious damage.

Disclaimer: our standard legal/medical disclaimer applies, and this is intended for educational purposes only; please do speak with your endocrinologist before changing anything you usually do with regard to your blood sugar maintenance.

Ok, back onto the cheerier topic at hand:

Aside from the above: for most people, IF is a remarkably healthful practice in very many ways.

For more on the science, practicalities, and things to do/avoid, enjoy this short (4:53) video:

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Want to know more?

Check out our previous main feature on this topic:

Intermittent Fasting: Mythbusting Edition


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