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Time Restricted Eating and Intermittent Fasting

What is intermittent fasting and time restricted eating?

Often times these terms get used interchangeably to simply describe a situation where one alternates between periods of eating and periods of not eating (fasting). While this is true for both, and the term “intermittent fasting” seems to apply to both, however some experts in the field prefer to point out the differences between these closely related eating patterns.

Time restricted eating (TRE) is when one eats every day, however restricts his or her eating to a given window of time. For example, eating during an 8-hour window from noon to 8 pm and fasting the other 16 hours, from 8 pm until noon the next day. There are many variations of time restricted eating with the eating window being anywhere from 12 to 2 hours.

Intermittent fasting (IF) according to some, is when one voluntarily intermittently fasts for a longer period of time, usually greater than 24 hours where the person is not eating every day (for example, a 2 day fast).

While current literature suggests both of these eating strategies are safe (with a few considerations) and are beneficial in many ways, the jury is still out on what is the optimal duration and frequency of fasting one should do depending on individual goals.

It makes sense when you think about it that periods of fasting are natural for humans. Our physiology had adapted over thousands of years to periods of plenty and periods of leanness. Body fat is our body’s way of storing energy for those periods of leanness when food wasn’t readily available. Our physiology has not caught up to modern times when food is always available from the time we rise in the morning until we go to bed at night. In other words, our physiology is not prepared to handle us eating all of the time. This excessive energy state has greatly contributed to many of our modern health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Our storage tanks are full and overflowing leading to many maladaptive processes.

Giving the body a break to repair itself and use up some of the surplus of energy is very therapeutic.

Some of the suggested health benefits of TRE and IF are:

· Lowering insulin and blood sugar levels

· Improved Type 2 diabetes

· Body fat and weight loss

· Improved fat burning

· Possible improved mental clarity

· Possible improved longevity

· Possible stimulation of autophagy

· Possible reduction in inflammation

In general, I recommend that fasts greater than 24 hours require consultation with a healthcare provider prior to starting to ensure safety, especially if one has any medical conditions (i.e. diabetes, heart, kidney or liver disease, gout or high uric acid) or is taking any prescription medications as medication changes will likely be needed.

Contraindications to fasting include those who are underweight or have eating disorders, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and people under the age of 18.

Disclaimer: While TRE and IF have many benefits, it is still controversial. You must discuss any changes in nutrition or medications with your healthcare provider.

Are you looking for a healthcare provider well versed in this treatment approach? Check out my custom program! I would love to help.

Forever Yours in Health,



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