My Take on Intermittent Fasting
I have a good friend who has often been criticized for not eating breakfast. I am sure she has heard "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" too many times to count. But is it really?
In speaking with my Uber driver the other day (who has been intermittent fasting for months), he reinforced my belief that breakfast "being the most important meal of the day" might just have been another corrupt and economically driven campaign by food manufacturers. Cereal companies wanting to sell their products. (Another example think: "Got Milk?" My take on dairy is a whole other story for a different day!).
This isn't to say that mornings aren't important, and I argue that what you eat first can either set you up for blood sugar success, or keep you in that sugar spike and crash cycle throughout the day.
In general, many Americans are walking around in a state of insulin resistance. This means that our bodies have become desensitized to insulin's message, a result of blood sugar mismanagement and a precursor to pre-diabetes (much more about this in my blood sugar balancing course in September - stay tuned!). Given that our blood sugar and insulin levels are most sensitive in the morning, what we choose to eat first thing can create a more dramatic spike, leading to low energy, increased hunger, and "out-of-control" cravings even hours later (speaking of another age-old saying: if you were to eat carbohydrates, eat them in the morning as your body has the rest of the day to "burn them off." Not exactly how our hormones work!).
Intermittent fasting (or rather time restricted feeding, which I learned over the weekend is the correct term for fasting under 30 hours) is a great tool to jumpstart blood sugar balance, and keep your body in its preferred fat-burning state during the early hours of the day, especially if weight loss is one of your goals. It encourages fasting for about 16 hours (longer than the usual 8-12) with an eight-hour window for eating. Studies have shown this structure has many health benefits, from weight loss to heart health, to balancing blood sugar and reversing type two diabetes.
While I wouldn't say I formally fast myself, I start my day upon waking with bulletproof coffee, offering an injection of healthy fats and a little protein. Not only has this positively affected my energy, hunger hormones, and blood sugar, but our brains are 60% fat, so providing my body with two potent sources of healthy fat (brain octane oil and ghee) has created more mental clarity than ever before!
Moral of the story is that if you feel you might be suffering from blood sugar imbalance (low energy, constant cravings, lack of satiety between meals), your hunger hormones might need a tune-up; these mechanisms might not be working adequately, and in this way, intermittent fasting/time restrictive feeding could help. It is something I will be talking more about in my online course coming in September, or feel free to contact me with questions or interest in coaching!