Growing up, a lot of us hear the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But 8 a.m. classes make it much more difficult to get in a healthy breakfast. A study conducted by Pennsylvania State University concluded that 30% of college students do not eat breakfast every day. The study claimed that eating breakfast made for smarter, more alert students. However, recent scientific studies and new data proves the saying to be no more than an old wives’ tale. A more recent literature review from Aston University has found that intermittent fasting does not decrease energy levels if practiced correctly, and can actually increase both cardiovascular health and fat loss.
Being one of the most recent diet trends right now, intermittent fasting incorporates fasting into daily life, but does not restrict caloric intake. A commonly practiced style of intermittent fasting is the 8/16 daily fast where you eat during an eight-hour window and fast for the remaining sixteen hours in a day. Any eight-hour window can be created to work around your schedule. A fast is typically broken with a meal you would normally eat, just later in the day. Even though you are not eating breakfast in the morning, you do not face a calorie deficit which is why side effects of low energy levels and inability to focus are not often experienced with intermittent fasting.
When fasting is practiced intermittently, your body reaches a fasted state every day. Your body is always in either a fed or fasted state. In the fed state you rely on accessible stored energy which comes from the sugars attained from eating carbohydrates. Once your body reaches a fasted state, it relies on burning fat for energy. Your body is considered to be in the fasted state approximately twelve hours after your last meal.
This science is what makes intermittent fasting different than reducing caloric intake. Reduction of caloric intake has always been a popular diet option. It is commonly taught that if you simply burn more calories than you consume every day, you will lose fat. However not all calories are stored the same way, so burning fat is more complicated than this simple concept. Practicing intermittent fasting allows your body to burn the stubborn fat it has been holding onto.
Intermittent fasting is gaining popularity because of how simple it is to follow. Unless you’re a sleep eater, you fast every night. But when you consciously increase your fasted time, you reap more health benefits. If you haven’t tried intermittent fasting and are willing to adapt to the lifestyle change, you will most likely experience positive results. Intermittent fasting is not just a fad diet, but rather an eating schedule that is safe and effective when practiced consistently.