Q: What is intermittent fasting and is it healthy for me?
A: Intermittent fasting is an eating plan where you only eat within certain time periods. The rest of the time you are fasting (not eating anything). The focus is less on what you eat and more on when you eat. However, when you do eat, it is important to choose healthy foods. Use the balanced plate as a guide. Choose non-starchy veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.
An example of intermittent fasting is the 16:8 plan. Fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8-hour period. For instance, you would start eating at 11AM and stop at 7PM.
Intermittent fasting continues to be researched for its health benefits. There’s some research showing it may help reduce inflammation and insulin levels. Other studies show it may improve longevity. In terms of weight loss, the long-term outcomes are similar to a balanced eating plan.
The biggest challenge with intermittent fasting is that many people find it hard to sustain.
It can be hard to maintain at social events and during the holidays. Some people have increased cravings. Others find themselves eating more in response to the fasting. If you have diabetes, it could cause low blood sugar levels. Checking your blood sugar more often and possible medication adjustments by your doctor may be needed.
We suggest talking with your doctor about any eating changes you’re considering. You can also schedule a session with a Livongo expert coach to discuss the plan that is best for you.