Why I chose to Intermittently fast.

Yes I do intermittent fasting. But not for a weight-related reason. IF has been quite topical in the last couple of years. There has been some concern around its promotion and messaging in terms of a “diet”. I wanted to share my perspective as someone who does intermittent fasting for a non-weight related reason.

In December 2019, NEJM published a review article on intermittent fasting. At the time, I was in one of my research phases, looking for things that may help neuropathy/nerve regeneration. Now the evidence is early – but there is some evidence that IF reduces autoimmune demyelination in MS (in mice), and two pilot studies showing that patients with MS who adhered to IF had reduced symptoms (I don’t have MS, but similar).

Given limited treatment options, and with no guarantee of nerve repair anyway, I decided to give it a go.

I fast 16-18 hours a day. I don’t have breakfast (doesn’t bother me in the slightest). I eat around 12/1 with last food between 6-8pm. There is no hunger or denial involved for me. My stomach actually feels better this way. I am flexible- if there’s a brunch or a party (pre COVID) I don’t look at the clock.

I have not done (and won’t be) 5:2 or any calorie-counting regimen. I broke up with that kind of thinking a long time ago. I live my life feeling pretty uncomfortable, so I’m not about to deprive myself of one of my favourite things (food).

All interventions have a risk:benefit ratio. It should be individualised to the person. For me, it’s in favour of potential benefit – but it’s definitely something that should be discussed with your team.

If you love breakfast or late night snacks, my pattern isn’t for you. If it made me miserable, I wouldn’t do it (the evidence isn’t there, yet).

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