What is all the rage behind Intermittent Fasting (IF)?

Intermittent fasting has been around for centuries, with ties to cultural and religious roots.  So why all the rage about it now?  Because it works!  Here’s why:

Why exactly does Intermittent fasting work?

One of the reasons intermittent fasting works is the migrating motor complex (MMC).  The MMC moves bacteria into your large intestine, to then be evacuated.  It is your ‘cleaning’ mechanism, of sorts.  MMC cannot occur when food is constantly being consumed.  MMC waits for your body to take a break.  Once you give your body a break from eating, MMC performs its duties. Think of it this way, let’s say you decide to clean your floors.  You are not likely to clean while you have people over, you are probably going to wait until they leave.  The same is true for the migrating motor complex (MMC).  It acts as the ‘housekeeper’ of your gut. Hey!  Look at that, you have a FREE housekeeper.

How do I intermittently fast?

One of the easiest ways to achieve a migrating motor complex (MMC) is time-restricted feeding (TRF).  Time-restricted feeding (TRF) is simply restricting your food intake for a window of time; for example, you may choose to consume calories between the hours of 8am-4pm.  This period of 12-16 hours without eating generally satisfies the guidelines for time-restricted (TRF) and gets your MMC housekeeper doing its job.

So, what happens then?

Time-restricted feeding (TRF) allows your migrating motor complex (MMC) to run its full course to completion, which is typically 2-4 hours.  When food is continuously consumed, your large intestine is not able to properly discard its contents, which can lead to a buildup of bacteria and many related GI symptoms.

Here are some common guidelines to implement your fast.

  1. Stay Hydrated. It is important to drink plenty of water during fasting hours; most of our daily intake of water comes from our food, so be sure to drink water while you are not eating.  Also, it is less likely for you to experience dry mouth, fatigue, headaches or thirst while fasting.
  2. Be Intentional with Exercise. Slow, deliberate, low-impact exercise/activity is recommended, such as walking or yoga/Pilates
  3. Be Mindful of Your Food. It is beneficial before and after your fast to focus on consuming whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods; plenty of lean protein, fiber and healthy fats

There are many benefits to intermittent fasting, and it can be done safely and effectively.  Consider your health/medical condition and decide if intermittent fasting would be beneficial to you and your health.  Discontinue your fast if you feel unwell.  It is best to have a discussion with a healthcare professional before beginning a fast.

If you would like to discuss what fasting method is right for you, and discover how to cleanse and support your system, schedule a consultation with Dr. Beth Bartlett.