Intermittent fasting has made a lot of news the past few years, with some preliminary studies suggesting it may be beneficial for weight loss, reducing insulin resistance, lowering blood pressure, and even supporting better brain function. These results are not settled science — we don’t yet know with confidence if the benefits are real — but some of the early studies show encouraging results.
There are a few different models of intermittent fasting, but the most common is called time-restricted eating. This is when you only eat during a certain span of hours during the day, either some days or every day. For example, in the common 16:8 time-restricting eating practice, you eat only during a predetermined 8-hour window each day and fast the other 16 hours.
During the fasting period, most people still drink water and other no-calorie drinks, such as black coffee or unsweetened tea. This may make fasting easier and protects against dehydration.
While the effectiveness is still uncertain, if you’re considering trying intermittent fasting, it’s important to first determine whether it’s safe for your health.
An article published by the Harvard School of Public Health warns that intermittent fasting is not safe for people who are diabetic, pregnant, breastfeeding, or currently using medications that must be taken with food. It’s also not safe for adolescents or others in a growth stage of life. And intermittent fasting is dangerous for anyone who currently or has ever struggled with eating disorders.
If none of these apply to you and if you’re generally in good health, intermittent fasting may be safe and could potentially offer some health benefits. But it’s always best to ask your doctor before starting any diet. They can advise you on safe eating practices suited to your present health. And they may offer better alternatives for achieving your health goals.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to monitor the latest results on intermittent fasting, and we’ll alert you as new information emerges.
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