Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

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Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

Intermittent fasting is an eating style that involves balancing planned periods of eating with planned periods of fasting.

When it comes to health, most people know that what you eat plays a huge role. But did you know when you eat plays a huge role too? Your diet in general affects your quality of life in the short term and greatly influences your overall health and risk of developing disease as you age. The food you eat also impacts your body weight, and excess body weight is linked to a variety of health issues.

If you’ve never considered the benefits of a time-based diet, read on to learn the basics of intermittent fasting and its potential health effects.

Table of contents:

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating style that involves balancing planned periods of eating with planned periods of fasting. Essentially, someone on an intermittent fasting diet will decide on a time window during which they will eat a full day’s worth of calories (hungry right now? Check out the Clean Juice menu!). Then, they allow their body to enter a fasted state for the rest of the day.

There are multiple ways to do an intermittent fast. Many beginner fasters start with the 16:8 method — a pattern of 16 hours of fasting followed by 8 hours of food intake.

Generally, time spent asleep is included in the fasting time window. For example, someone who follows a 16:8 fasting schedule might decide not to eat anything after 6 p.m. In the mornings, they postpone breakfast (perhaps they plan to munch on an acai bowl) until at least 10 a.m. They eat all of their meals during the eight hours in the middle of the day.

Many people who follow intermittent fasting will move on to longer fasts and shorter eating windows, such as the 18:6 method. Some fasters will even choose to eat normally five days per week and fast completely through two non-consecutive days.

Unlike most other diet strategies, you do not restrict what types of food you eat during an intermittent fast—just when you eat. The foods you choose to include in your routine during your eating times are entirely up to you–whether you want a satisfying sandwich, a nutrient-packed salad, or even some avocado toast (the Clean Juice version includes pink himalayan sea salt.)

However, intermittent fasting doesn’t mean you have free rein to eat anything without the typical consequences. You should still pack your diet with whole, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins and save the treat foods for special occasions.

When paired with a healthy, balanced diet like this, intermittent fasting has been linked to a variety of potential health benefits.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Health

Why would someone choose to restrict their eating times? Though the research is still emerging, the benefits of intermittent fasting for short-term and long-term health are promising. Just make sure to consult your doctor before you try any new diet plan.

It Can Improve Brain Function

 intermittent fasting might help increase new nerve cell growth.

According to research conducted on mice, intermittent fasting might help increase new nerve cell growth. This growth is directly related to better brain function, including markers like clearer memory and sharper focus.

Similarly, fasting could also help the brain increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which could be effective in reducing symptoms of depression. Though more research is needed on intermittent fasting’s specific effects on the brain, a fasting routine could contribute to better focus and a healthier mind.

Not down with fasting but curious about other ways to increase brain function? Bananas, yes bananas, can also help as they contain the B6 vitamin. Lucky for you, Clean Juice has a ton of items that contain that delicious yellow fruit.

It Can Reduce Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition in which your body has trouble breaking down and using insulin. Insulin is an essential hormone that your body relies on to control how much glucose is in your blood.

When you have insulin resistance, the glucose in your blood is not as easily absorbed by your cells, so it builds up in your bloodstream. This condition is bad for your health and can cause many secondary health effects, including type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Some of the most effective known treatments for insulin resistance are regular exercise and a healthier diet; part of improving your diet to treat insulin resistance could be intermittent fasting.

Early studies around fasting and diabetes show that intermittent fasting could directly protect against retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that causes blindness.

It Helps With Weight Loss

When you’re eating meals on a normal schedule, your body uses the food you consume for energy throughout the day. When your body is in a fasted state and doesn’t have a recent meal to rely on for fuel, it tends to use other sources for the energy it needs, such as stored fat on your body.

In this way, following an intermittent fasting schedule can help you to lose body fat. Because your body relies on your fat stores for fuel, you can burn fat simply by adjusting what time of day you eat.

It’s also important to note that intermittent fasting can help individuals eat fewer calories throughout the day to achieve what’s called a caloric deficit.

When you’ve designated a six or eight-hour window in which to enjoy all of your meals, you won’t be able to snack throughout the day. This can make achieving a slight caloric deficit easier, especially if you have had trouble trying to do so in the past.

It May Decrease Inflammation

Inflammation in the body can be extremely harmful. Not only can it cause discomfort, pain, or reduced mobility in the short term, but it can also lead to long-term issues like premature signs of aging and chronic disease when left untreated.

According to a study conducted in 2019, allowing your body to rest for extended periods between eating can help to reduce inflammation. Additionally, an intermittent fasting habit might even play a key role in increasing your body’s ability to resist inflammation and oxidative stress.

If by chance you aren’t on the intermittent fasting train, there are other ways to reduce inflammation like eating green, leafy vegetables. Our “The Tropical One” includes kale while our “The Longevity One” smoothie includes spinach. Take your pick–both are tasty.

It Can Support Heart Health

One of the most common causes of death in adults around the world is heart disease. This is why adopting behaviors that support a healthy heart is so crucial, no matter your age or other health markers.

Eating healthy foods is the first step to supporting heart health with your diet, but can your meal timing make a difference, too? Some early research has shown that intermittent fasting may actively improve multiple heart disease risk factors in patients, including cholesterol, inflammation, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

It Might Protect Against Alzheimer’s

Unfortunately, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s are very common among older adults. At this time, Alzheimer’s has no cure, but certain lifestyle factors can help to prevent it from developing.

Animal studies point to a promising connection between intermittent fasting and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. Since fasting has been found to have many benefits for brain health, these same benefits could have a lasting effect on how your brain functions as you age.

This could mean a reduced risk of not only Alzheimer’s but similar conditions as well, such as Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Antioxidants also work to decrease the risk of a lot of diseases. Blueberries, especially. So if you aren’t quite ready for the intermittent fasting game, something containing blueberries might provide a lot of the benefits you are aiming for. “The Youthful One” is packed with this tiny berry.

It’s Convenient for Some Lifestyles

There is a wide variety of possible health benefits associated with intermittent fasting. However, it’s important to also highlight the lifestyle benefits that many people who choose this eating pattern can take advantage of.

If you work a non-standard schedule, such as very early mornings, very late nights, or overnight shifts, you may find it difficult to fit in a normal eating routine. For people with lifestyles like this, intermittent fasting can be extremely convenient.

All you have to do is schedule your eating window (or order Clean Juice via delivery if short on time) around your time off work and schedule your fasting window during your shifts. Over time, your body will adjust, and you won’t have to worry about finding the time to eat at inconvenient hours. Just make sure you’re still getting all the calories you need to thrive during your eating window.

Tips for Intermittent Fasting

If you’re interested in trying intermittent fasting, it’s important to do it the right way to avoid unwanted health effects or negative experiences. Here are a few helpful tips for beginners to intermittent fasting.

Start Small

When you’re experimenting with an intermittent fasting schedule, the worst thing you can do is jump right from a typical eating pattern to extended periods of fasting.

If your body is used to receiving glucose and other nutrients on a regular basis and you suddenly deprive it for many hours, you could end up feeling faint, nauseous, or moody. This is especially true if you have any preexisting mental or physical health conditions.

Ease your way into intermittent fasting by choosing a modest fasting window that includes your sleeping time. Some brand-new fasters will choose a 12:12 split, which means eating within 12 hours and fasting for 12 hours.

A 12:12 arrangement shouldn’t be very different than your typical eating pattern. However, it could help you cut out unhealthy late-night snacks and allow your body to get used to longer periods without eating. You could also give juicing a go, instead of participating in total food-free hours. It’s a great way to lean into intermittent fasting. We have so many to choose from here at Clean Juice. “The Hardcore One” is one of our absolute faves.

Expect an Adjustment Period

you should still expect some side effects when you start intermittent fasting.

Getting used to any change in your diet can take some adjustment. If you start with a shorter fast, your adjustment period will be much smoother than if you jump into a long fast right away.

However, you should still expect some side effects when you start intermittent fasting. Some of these include:

  • Hunger
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Headaches

These side effects should start to fade after several days of your new routine, especially if you are careful to take in enough calories during your eating window. If these symptoms persist, consult with your doctor and determine whether intermittent fasting is right for you.

Drink Water During Your Fast

Staying hydrated is important at all times, and that includes when you’re fasting. Since water has no calories, it won’t break your fast, and your body will still get all the benefits you’re looking for.

If you avoid eating for several hours a day, keeping your body hydrated through water is even more important since you won’t be absorbing any liquids from food during that time.

Break Your Fast With a Light Meal

After not eating for multiple hours at a time, your stomach will likely be sensitive and may become easily overwhelmed by too much food at once. This could lead to unwanted side effects like nausea, constipation, or diarrhea. Make sure you break your fast with something light and easy on the stomach, such as soup or a smoothie.

Does Intermittent Fasting Have Risks?

You understand the potential benefits of intermittent fasting, but what about the risks? Intermittent fasting is not essential for health and well-being, and it may not be a good idea for everyone.

Intermittent fasting can cause shifts in your hormones, which means that it is not recommended for pregnant women.

Intermittent fasting can cause shifts in your hormones, which means that it is not recommended for pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding.

This eating style is also not recommended for children under 18 or individuals who have experienced eating disorders in the past, as rigid boundaries around eating or significant routine changes can be triggering.

The Bottom Line

Still not sure if intermittent fasting is right for you and your goals? Take the time to do some research on the topic and talk to your primary care physician about it. They will give you the most accurate assessment of whether this routine is right for you.

This style of eating does not suit everyone; some schedules make it impractical, and some people simply don’t feel good when they try it out. If you find that it’s not right for you, there’s no problem with transitioning back to eating normally.

However, if you do enjoy the routine of fasting, you may have found your next healthy habit that will keep you feeling your best for many years to come.

Support All Your Health Endeavors With Clean Juice

Clean Juice is here to help with all of your health goals, and that includes intermittent fasting. A fresh, tasty juice or smoothie is the perfect way to break your fast and transition into your eating window. Find your nearest Clean Juice today to place your order!


Disclaimer: The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. Consult your doctor before using any health treatment, including natural remedies, and tell your doctor if you have a serious medical condition or are taking any medications.