Is Intermittent Fasting Right for You?

Consumer Reports looks at some of the benefits and challenges of intermittent fasting

NBC Universal, Inc.

With warmer weather approaching, some people are considering intermittent fasting to lose a few pounds.

The practice has gained popularity in recent years. People do it for various reasons, including losing weight and improving health. Consumer Reports shares how you can benefit from it while avoiding the downsides:

Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that focuses more on when to eat than what to eat. Typically, people eat only during an eight-hour period or only every other day. Studies suggest that intermittent fasting may have benefits, including improvements in blood sugar and cholesterol levels, blood pressure and weight.

When done in a healthful way, intermittent fasting can help control inflammation and may even lower the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

But intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. It could be too extreme for older adults, people with diabetes or those who take medications at certain times.

As Consumer Reports explains, even if you don’t follow the intermittent fasting approach to the letter, incorporating just a few strategies can help maintain a healthy weight and metabolism.

Be sure to include foods that have plenty of fiber and protein, such as fruit, oatmeal, cottage cheese, and eggs. Foods like these will help keep you satisfied until your next meal.

If you gravitate toward sweets and dessert, CR suggests having them before 3 p.m. Your body is more efficient at processing carbohydrates during the morning and early afternoon.

Another thing you can do is have an early dinner, typically between 6-8 p.m. Late-night eating has been linked to a greater risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Slim down your dinners to around 600 calories. Include more veggies, which are lower in calories, and the fiber will help you feel fuller for longer.

Another thing you can do to promote healthy eating and weight loss is to get a proper amount of sleep. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, adults need at least seven hours of sleep for optimal health. Lack of sleep can lead to overeating, which can cause weight gain and metabolic problems.

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