Intermittent Fasting and Its Benefits

By Tammy Kacev
8 December 2016

Nutritionist Tammy Kacev has written this blog to provide you with another approach to achieving weight loss. If you have any questions please contact Tammy via the following channels:

Instagram: @tammynutrition
Facebook: Tammynutrition 

In 2012, over 2 million Australians aged 15 years and over were on a diet to lose weight at one time. That is more than 10% of the population of that age bracket and demonstrates that wanting to lose weight is more common than we think!  We have all been there ourselves; tried some sort of fad diet or exercise plan to try shed some kilos… am I right? Of course, for the most part fad diets do not work.  We end up reverting back to our hold habits, putting back the weight we lost (if any) plus some!  But what if I told you there is a way you can lose weight - specifically body fat - without the fad diets?  I have some good news for you and it’s called ‘Intermitted Fasting.’ 

Fasting Plate with a clock on it

Most people hesitate when we think about putting our bodies into a state of ‘starvation’ or a state of ‘fasting’. If we think back thousands of years to our ancestors, who lived a hunter and gatherer lifestyle, being overweight and obese was non-existent because they regularly went without food for hours on end because they really didn't have a choice.  Despite this, the human race survived and here you are reading this article.

So What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is not a fad diet bur rather a lifestyle pattern where you consciously eat meals within a certain time frame of the day. There is no focus on calorie restriction or demonising of any foods.  Intermittent fasting is characterised by fasting and then feasting.  Although it considers your recommended daily amount of calories, you consume it all during a specific timeframe within the day.

How It Works

Unlike other diets where some days you get more calories than others, intermittent fasting is supposed to be done every day of the week.  The fasting period lasts 14-16 hours each day and you feed your body for the remaining 8 to 10 hours. During the fasting phase, you consume no calories at all and limit your intake to no-calorie fluids such as water, black coffee and black or green tea. The easiet time to fast is through the night and the start of your day then eat for the first time at midday (about six hours after you get up) through to 8pm.  You can easily adapt the eating window to suit your work or lifestyle so long as you keep the eating timeframe consistent each day. This allows your body to adapt and your hormones to regulate most efficiently.


Woman sweating post run

Using Intermittent Fasting for Weight-loss

1. You will consume feweress calories overall

When done correctly, intermittent fasting will help you eat fewer calories without consciously counting or reducing calories. Calorie restriction is not the main focus of this eating plan but tends to be a beneficial and common consequence. Initially, you may try to consume all your daily calories within the allocated eating window but eventually you won’t be able to consume as much as you once did because you'll find you get fuller quicker.  When we put our bodies through phases of fasting and then eating and then fasting again, we reset our hunger hormones, our bodies reset and we re-learn what it’s like to really feel hungry again.  Our bodies adapt and learn when it’s time to eat versus time to fast.

2.Can help you burn fat

When in a fasting phase change starts to happen within our bodies. When we do not eat for a few hours the body goes into a state of starvation where the hunger hormones (insulin and glucose) are affected.  Insulin is secreted within the pancreas by beta cells when blood sugar levels rise, which happens after eating.  When blood glucose levels rise, this facilitates blood glucose storages in the cells to be used as an energy source if and when we need it.  When we exercise or go through a fasting phase (as in intermittent fasting), glucagon is secreted by alpha cells in the pancreas as opposed to insulin being produced and secreted from beta cells. Glucagon encourages the use of stored energy sources, instead of promoting the production and release of glucose, the way insulin does. This promotes fat burning.


Woman meditating

Intermittent fasting is not suitable for everyone

Remember, intermittent fasting is not a diet! It should not change what you eat, rather just when you eat. Intermittent fasting  can be a great lifestyle adjustment for fat loss, without restricting your calories. 

Please note, intermittent fasting is not suitable for everyone. Please consult with your health care practitioner if intermittent fasting is suitable for you, specifically if you are pregnant or have certain medical conditions as there may be some side effects. Intermittent fasting alone is not recommended, you should also maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Results will vary from person to person.



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