Intermittent fasting: is it right for you?

DELMARVA – Eating for part of the day and fasting for the rest – it’s called intermittent fasting and you’ve probably heard of it.

It’s a popular new trend for dieting, but you should make sure it’s right for you before beginning.

“I kind of needed to lose some extra weight, I put on maybe about 15-20 pounds, and for me that’s just like a pants size, so I needed to do something,” Karen Thomas, who has been intermittent fasting for several years, said.

Weight loss: that’s the main reason a lot of people decide to start intermittent fasting. The diet can take many forms, but it essentially means only eating during a certain window of the day, say between noon and 8 p.m. While the trend has picked up in popularity recently, it’s not anything new.

“Intermittent fasting has been there for many many years, if you look back in different religions there are different kinds of fasts that were going on,” Dr. Uday Jani, an internist in Delaware, said.

Dr. Jani says the diet works by breaking down sugar in your body.

“When you don’t eat food, you don’t get sugar, and when you don’t get sugar, the body needs to make sugar for the brain, so what it does is it breaks down the fat and makes ketones from which you produce sugar,” Dr. Jani said.

But because the diet relies on sugar, it may not be right for everybody.

“People who have diabetes or are on medications that affects the sugar metabolism should be very careful, because when you don’t eat, and if you have medications that regulate your sugars, you can get into trouble,” Dr. Jani said.

But when done safely and correctly, the diet can do more than just help you lose weight.

“You get more into it and you find out all of the other health benefits, that your cells are being regenerated, and your immunity system is boosted,” Thomas said.

While that all sounds like good news, Dr. Jani suggests speaking to a professional before beginning any new diet.

“You definitely want to make sure you check with your doctor before you go on intermittent fasting diet because there are benefits but there can also be harm to the body too,” he said.

Dr. Uday Jani adds that if you start intermittent fasting, pay attention to what foods you eat. He says if you eat processed foods or foods with a lot of sugar and then fast, it will not work.

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