While it’s always been on the scene, Intermittent Fasting (IF) has popped up as a popular health & fitness trend in the last few years, especially. But what really is IF and how can it be beneficial to your health? Can there be negative side effects and why is it causing bloating? Here’s everything you’re probably doing wrong and how to hack IF for once and for all.
IF works to allow your body to feel more energised, assist with weight loss, improve digestion, lower blood insulin and sugar levels, improve mental clarity and concentration and stimulate fat burning.
In short, IF isn’t a diet, rather it’s eating a balanced, healthy lifestyle in a shorter window of time. There’s no dos and don’t’s in terms of what you should and shouldn’t be eating, rather, everything you do eat in a normal day is placed into a shorter time slot, meaning you’re not eating for longer periods of time than usual.
IF plans can vary, but the most basic and commonly used one involves fasting for 12 hours, followed by eating for 12 hours (known as the 12:12 ratio). Other common, yet slightly more difficult, plans include abstaining from food for 14 hours and eating for 10 (14:10) or fasting for 16 hours and eating for eight (16:8). Fasting for any longer than 16 hours should be consulted first with a doctor.
A full day of fasting, followed by a high sodium-rich meal while in a fibre deficient state can lead to bloating.
Also, because you’re not eating for long periods of time, it’s common to become dehydrated as your body isn’t signaling for fluid as there’s been no food intake. This too can cause bloating.
‘If you fast correctly and drink plenty of fluids, it can slow down your digestion. That means it can take a long time for your body to properly excrete food following a fast, even if the fast hasn’t had any damaging effect,’ says ACE-certified trainer Iris Lami.
Bloating can also be caused by an overindulgence either prior to fasting or directly after breaking a fast.
According to Nutritionist and Wellness expert Haylie Pomroy, the final meal you have before going into a fast should include a lean protein, healthy fats and lots of vegetables. She also suggests adding in healthy starches such as legumes and sweet potato to level our your blood glucose levels and for slow energy release to keep you feeling satiated for longer.
Also, adding fruit to your meal will provide some natural sugar, which can be calming to your hormones.
Tip: Try low-glycemic fruits like berries
Other articles you may like: