“A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best of medicines and the best doctors.” – Mark Twain

As a physician and Diplomat of the American Board of Obesity and American Board of Family Physicians, I wanted to take a minute to speak about the amazing benefits of Intermittent Fasting. I practice Intermittent Fasting 2-3 times every week, and I enjoy reaping the benefits from the practice. First thing, Intermittent Fasting is not a form of dieting, it is a structured pattern of eating. It is a common misconception that fasting is not good for maintaining muscle mass, but that is far from the truth.

Combined with a Ketogenic diet, Intermittent Fasting helps keeps your muscle protein from being oxidized. When fasting, your portion of food is reduced, and your window of eating is narrowed down as well. It is recommended to restrict your hours of eating to 6 hours on, then stay away from foods for 10-12 hours afterwards. Regarding weight loss, when you are in a fasted state, you burn fat more efficiently. The first 10 hours after eating, your body is digesting your food, and absorbing nutrients. In basic terms, Intermittent Fasting will accelerate your weight loss.

The benefits of Intermittent Fasting are phenomenal! You naturally eat less, improve your metabolism, potentially reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, reduce inflammation and triglyceride levels. For instance, ketone levels in your body increase, as well, which can lead to improved focus and mental clarity. As far as the guidelines go, your intake of food needs to be inside a 6-8-hour window. So, in the morning, you can choose to eat breakfast (break your fast) or skip breakfast and start your window at noon. Outside of your window, drink only water and low-calorie liquids, such as teas or coffee. Anything 50 calories or less is fine. Also, end your eating window at least 3 hours before going to sleep.

Overall, Intermittent Fasting is a great way to lose weight and improve your overall health. It will be a little difficult at first but be patient. You will love how you feel, and you will see an improvement in your mental and physical health in no time.

Joseph E. Sleiman, MD