An introduction to intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is growing in popularity. For those unfamiliar with the practice, intermittent fasting occurs when a person deliberately fasts for most of the day and only consumes calories in a specific amount of time. Generally, the fast lasts between 12 and 16 hours.

The story

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t have the modern luxuries of grocery stores, refrigerators, or easy access to food. As a result, humans evolved to be able to function without food for long periods of time. Fasting has also been practiced for centuries for religious or spiritual reasons.


According to the National Institute on Aging, fasting improves biomarkers of disease, reduces oxidative stress, and preserves learning and memory function. High insulin levels are often responsible for diabetes and obesity. Between meals, insulin levels will drop and fat cells can then release stored sugars to use as energy. We lose weight and improve our health if insulin levels drop. The idea of ​​intermittent fasting is to allow levels to drop long enough for us to start burning our fat stores.

The moment

Our metabolisms have adapted to a day-food, night-sleep rhythm. Eating late at night is linked to a higher risk of obesity and diabetes. Although studies show that fasting is effective, it is often difficult for people to follow.

Finding a program that fits your lifestyle is important for it to be effective and long-lasting, especially when paired with a plant-based diet. Many find that eating between noon and 8 p.m. works best.

The beginning

If you usually eat breakfast, this may be a challenge for you. Over time, your body will adjust and hunger pangs will subside. When you fast, you can consume caffeine, which acts as an appetite suppressant. Stay away from creams, sugar or other calories in your coffee or tea; those calories will break your fast. Stick to an all-natural, calorie-free sweetener like stevia or monk fruit.

The secret

To drink a lot of water. Often when we are hungry, our body confuses it with thirst. Consuming water first thing in the morning will help relieve hunger pangs and clear your system at night.

Jennifer Campbell, an Army veteran, is a certified personal trainer and holds a master’s degree in nutrition education. She is the commander of the 24th district of the California American Legion.

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