Fasting is usually associated with days, if not weeks, of severely restricted calorie intake. This is quite a challenge but the well documented health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, anti-ageing effects and healing powers, prove to be more than enough motivation for many of us to go hungry.
However, more recent research suggests that when it comes to fasting, less may certainly be more - and I'm not referring to the amount, or lack thereof, of food.
Intermittent Fasting refers to a sudden reduction in your calorie intake over a short period of time, for as little as one day, with "fasting" being defined as an intake of 500 to 600 calories.
A study completed by one of the pioneers of fasting research, Professor Mark Mattson from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, concluded that it is "better to go on intermittent bouts of fasting and then have periods when you eat as much as you want. In other words, timing appears to be a crucial element to this [fasting] process". Interestingly, this is especially the case when it comes to maximising the health benefits, of fasting, for the brain.
According to Mattson, "chemicals involved in the growth of brain cells are significantly boosted when food intake is dramatically reduced". Obviously with intermittent fasting, this dramatic reduction takes place more often than if just one session of sustained fasting was completed.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition focused on Alternate Day Fasting for 16 individuals over a 22-day period and found that participants lost between 2.5 and 0.5 per cent of their initial body weight and experienced an increase in their rate of fat oxidation.
Moderation in fasting is advised: one to two days a week is a great, but be sure to choose your food wisely on these days to optimise the results. Fresh juices and soups are the best, but if time is really of the essence Detox Delight ME prepares and delivers excellent quality and delicious detox juice days, helping to make your Intermittent Fast a pleasurable experience. Visit www.detox-delight.ae for more details.
Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. For more information, visit www.BeUtifulYou.co.uk