Updated: Jul 6, 2018
If you’ve been paying attention to social media, magazine covers, or bookshelves lately, it is possible you are familiar with one of the newest trends in dieting and nutrition: intermittent fasting. Now to be clear, there is nothing new about this approach or the science behind it—there is a study dating back to 1946 demonstrating that intermittent fasting prolonged the life span of mice—but it has certainly gained popularity recently, and with that naturally comes certain questions and concerns. If you are anything like me, and you tend to dismiss trends strictly because they are trends and are therefore suspect, please understand that this method is rooted in fundamental scientific principles, and it abides completely within the natural and basic functions of our body. Just as with any concept in fitness, it is not wise to make any judgement about it without being properly informed; I will attempt to present some basic information about it, so that you may decide if and how it would make sense for you personally.
I will start from scratch, for anyone who may not be familiar at all with the concept. Intermittent fasting is exactly as its name would indicate—it is a pattern of eating that includes fasting intervals placed intermittently throughout the day, week, or month. There are no specific guidelines in regards to the frequency or duration, and there are many different variations that are practiced; some people do it every single day, others on alternating days, and some only occasionally. The fasting window and the type of meal structure may also vary depending on the style of IF being employed. The driving concept, and what defines it as intermittent fasting, is that the eating window is restricted in some capacity and the fasting window is the subsequently increased.