Connector March 2024

CONNECTOR.AE 48 CONNECTOR.AE 49 Health and Wellness Health and Wellness Intermittent Fasting: The Correct Way To Do It, Importance And Need A busy lifestyle, stress, lack of exercise, and high sugar intake can lead to significant weight gain. If you’re considering a diet but aren’t sure where to start, how about trying intermittent fasting? Unlike other diets, intermittent fasting focuses on when you eat rather than what you eat. While portion control is necessary, intermittent fasting involves alternating between fasting and eating on a regular schedule. Let’s explore the benefits, potential risks, and other factors to consider before starting intermittent fasting. What Is Intermittent Fasting Intermittent fasting is more a lifestyle change than a diet change. It involves eating only during certain times, which can have good effects on your body and mind in the long run. As mentioned, what you eat matters, but in intermittent fasting, when you eat matters the most. It’s an eating pattern rather than a specific diet, focusing on when you eat. Popular methods include fasting for 16 hours daily with an eating window of 8 hours or fasting for 24 hours twice a week. cycles, such as four to six months on and then taking a break. This prevents the body from becoming immune to its benefits and allows for sustainable results.” Mariam Al Shamsi, Senior Clinical Dietitian at Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, concluded: “It’s important for individuals to approach intermittent fasting with knowledge and awareness to reap its benefits effectively.” Correct Way Of Doing It The right approach is to listen to your body and avoid pushing too hard from the start. Explaining this in detail, Munawara Yahaya, DHA Licenced, Nabta Health Clinical Dietitian, advises, “Don’t jump into prolonged fasting immediately. Begin with shorter fasting periods and gradually increase duration as your body adjusts. During eating windows, prioritise whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein for optimal nutrition. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day, even during fasting windows, is crucial to avoid dehydration. Pay attention to hunger cues, and don’t push yourself beyond comfortable limits. If you experience dizziness, fatigue, or other concerning symptoms, break your fast and consult a doctor.” What Can You Eat While Intermittent Fasting? During your fasting period, you can have water, green tea, black coffee, and lemon water, but avoid beverages with sugar, milk, Munawara Yahaya, DHA Licenced, Nabta Health Clinical Dietitian, adds, “It offers flexibility around your eating schedule, potentially fitting better into some lifestyles than traditional calorie-counting diets.” Types Of Intermittent Fasting Intermittent fasting involves various methods, all of which divide the day or week into periods of eating and fasting. During fasting periods, you eat very little or nothing at all. Some popular methods include: • The 16/8 method: Skipping breakfast and restricting eating to an 8-hour window daily. For example, you can have your last meal at 8pm, then the next day, you break your fast at noon; based on your schedule, you can fix the window. • Eat-Stop-Eat: Fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week. • The 5:2 diet: Consuming 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days and eating normally the other five days. On this, Mariam Al Shamsi, Senior Clinical Dietitian at Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, added, “Intermittent fasting can be integrated into a long-term dietary plan, but with caution. It’s important to understand that the body might adapt over time, and the effectiveness may decrease if practised continuously. Therefore, I usually recommend intermittent fasting to be incorporated in