Is Fasting Really Healthy for You?

A registered dietitian highlights the possible health benefits of intermittent fasting, which continues to grow in popularity.

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CLEVELAND – Fasting continues to grow in popularity. It’s a pretty simple concept if you’re unfamiliar with the diet, and there are multiple ways you can do it.

“Time-restricted eating is probably the most popular type of fasting. This is keeping your eating to just one window during the day – often people will only eat within an eight-hour window,” said Alexis Supan, registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic. “Periodic fasting is when people look at the week as a whole, and they choose one or multiple days to either not consume any calories or consume a very low-calorie diet that day, like 500 calories.”

But are either of these approaches actually healthy for you?

Supan said those who follow time-restricted eating may feel less hungry throughout the day – but neither promise guaranteed health benefits.

Although intermittent fasting can potentially reduce insulin resistance, research on the overall health benefits has been mixed.

Supan said you should also be cautious if you’re trying to use intermittent fasting to lose weight.

She stresses it’s not a magic formula for weight loss, and you still need to follow healthy eating habits.

However, it can help people stick to a schedule when it comes to eating and avoid late-night snacking.

“You still need a well-balanced diet. You still need to be mindful of the foods you’re choosing, but it can be a beneficial rule for people when they’re considering lifestyle changes,” Supan said. “A lot of people like time-restrictive eating because it’s a simple rule to follow – there’s not a lot of calculations or stress around it.”

Supan adds people need to talk to a dietitian or doctor before trying intermittent fasting.

That’s because intermittent fasting can be dangerous for those with certain medical conditions like diabetes.

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