A Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting


Intermittent is defined as “coming and going at intervals”. When it comes to our diet, intermittent fasting means that we don’t eat or drink (debatable)  anything aside from water.

One research study found that pre-diabetic men who were restricted to a 6 hour feeding window were able to lower insulin, appetite, blood pressure, and oxidative stress; while increasing pancreatic function (Beta Cell) and insulin sensitivity. The remaining 18 hours they were fasting.

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Fasting has also been shown to have an anti-tumor effect and the ability to reduce a woman's chance of breast cancer. [2]  In addition, numerous studies have shown fasting can aid to weight loss. In one research study, a group of participants lost an average of 2.5 lbs with an alternate day fasting within a 22 day trial. [3]


Types of Intermittent Fasting:

●      16:8: Eat for 8 hours, example Noon to 8pm, and fast for 16 hours

●      5:2: Eat regular for 5 days; then have 2 days with restricted calories to approximately 500

●      Weekly: Fast for 24 hour period 1-2x/week

●      Alternate Day Fasting: fasting every other day


Precautions: those with eating disorders, pregnant, chronic kidney disease or diabetes


Benefits of Fasting:

●      Longevity : via gene expression

●      Decrease in insulin levels[4]

●      Increase in Human Growth Hormone[5]

●      Weight loss[6]

●      Reduces tumor growth[7]


Some of the benefits of Intermittent Fasting are due to autophagy, which is a process that occurs naturally in the body that recycles cellular components and damaged molecules. Basically it’s a form of detoxification for the body which can help reduce inflammation, and help promote longevity.


The details of fasting are debatable when it comes to what liquids are acceptable to rink. Let’s address them one by one:


Water: Yes! Drink abundantly at at any time.

Tea: Possibly, but the reason it is controversial is technically it does trigger metabolic processes, as it contains compounds which are xenobiotics (substances foreign to our body) that will require processing from the liver, regardless of caloric value.

-If the point of fasting is to give your system an entire break in cases of digestive issues this will defeat the point. However, if the goal of fasting if for weight loss, and the tea is plain, that can be ok.

Coffee: Same as above, however added info is that for some people, coffee, even black can cause your blood sugar to rise. Consider testing your morning fasting blood sugar if you have access to a glucometer. Then have a cup of coffee, see what happens to your blood sugar. Try again with adding cream and testing. We want blood sugar to stay stable and not have spikes.


Interested to start, but need some help?


Consider checking out a couple apps. Here’s just 2 of several available.


Zero: Free on the App Store. Designed to help you avoid eating late, and having dinner close to the sun going down, for optimal health


myCiracadianClock: Developed by Dr. Satchin Panda, a lead researcher on fasting. This app helps you, while you also help further research as they will use some of the data, such as exercise, food logs, times of eating, etc.

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