During the adjustment to the new normal, people are trying different eating habits to see what works for them.
Some have taken to intermittent fasting, which is a form of fasting by eating during set times.
Maggie Heath, a sophomore at Auburn, said she started intermittent fasting during quarantine since she wasn’t waking up until around 10:30 a.m. She then would eat between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m., she said.
“I did it because I had heard about it, and it seemed like it would be easy to do,” she said.
Heath said intermittent fasting requires no special food or supplement; it requires time and commitment. She said the only thing she did in addition to following intermittent fasting guidelines was counting her calories.
“I counted my calories, but I didn’t do a specific diet or anything,” Heath said.
Mike Roberts, an associate professor in the School of Kinesiology at Auburn University, offers a scholarly perspective on intermittent fasting and weight loss.
Roberts said that there have been many studies to test the effectiveness of this diet, on both humans and animals.
“Those studies are typically limited to being 3-12 months in duration,” Roberts said. “The main benefits that I’ve seen have suggested that intermittent fasting is more effective than no intervention for promoting weight loss and modestly improving blood chemistry markers (e.g., fasting glucose and lipid levels).”
Diets have been around for a long time.
“[Right now] there seems to be a craze with intermittent fasting for weight loss,” he said.
It has become increasingly popular, but Roberts said an individual shouldn’t try intermittent fasting blindly. There are things they can do to make it most effective, he said.
“First, don’t chronically over-consume calories,” he said. “Second, try to be physically active throughout the week because, beyond weight maintenance, the benefits of exercise are numerous.”
Roberts said exercise aids in blood lipid management, reduced frailty, increased energy levels and reduces the risk of certain cancer types.
When asked if intermittent fasting should be seen as more helpful or harmful, Roberts said the way an individual approaches this diet is the deciding factor.
“The human body is remarkable at adapting to imposed stressors,” Roberts said.
Intermittent fasting is a new way of training your body and changing the way you approach your dietary habits, he said.
“Now, where intermittent fasting can become harmful is if a person haphazardly implements it into days at a time of no eating,” Roberts said. “There are certain essential nutrients that the body has to have access to on a routine basis.”
Robert said to keep in mind the consumption of certain amino and fatty acids as well as vitamins and minerals.
When it comes to intermittent fasting, he said the best thing to do is research and be aware before investing in it.