Your guide to Intermittent Fasting

By author photo Jenny Craig Team

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Jenny Craig recently released the new Rapid Results Max plan, which leverages the power of intermittent fasting to help you achieve your weight loss goals! Find out more about it.


What is intermittent fasting?

To fast, by definition, is to abstain from all or some kinds of food and drink.

Fasting has been practiced since ancient times, used therapeutically by physicians from as far back as the fifth century BCE, and as a part of many religious and cultural practices worldwide.

But it’s only recently that we’ve looked to fasting as a strategy for weight management and begun to further investigate the benefits it might bring to our bodies.

There are a range of different fasting regimes:

• Intermittent calorie restriction (ICR). This involves fasting for up to 24 hours once or twice a week, followed by five or six days of eating without any restrictions.
• Alternate day fasting (ADF). Calories are restricted to less than 25% of the usual amount on one or two days, with foods eaten freely on the remaining days of the week.
• Time restricted eating (TRE). This involves eating during a set period and fasting for the remaining time over a 24-hour period – often 16:8, 14:10 or 12:12.

Intermittent fasting is gaining attention right now because exciting evidence is beginning to emerge from scientific research and clinical trials.


What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?

Planning the fasting period to coincide with your natural circadian rhythms may be helpful. The circadian rhythm theory assumes that physiological processes in the body occur at the most beneficial times. We know – because we’ve seen it in shift workers – that dysregulation of this system can increase the risk of chronic diseases. One example relevant to intermittent fasting is that the body has lower insulin levels later in the day. Late dinners are associated with higher blood sugar levels when compared to daytime meals. This is because the body’s response to glucose (sugar) is slower when insulin levels are lower. Eating when more insulin is available can optimise your blood sugar levels and, in the long term, reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

So what are the other possible benefits of intermittent fasting? The evidence is emerging. Results have been seen in animals that suggest intermittent fasting might improve your gut microbiome, your total cholesterol levels, your glucose and insulin levels and your immune health. It may even alter – for the better – tumour growth factors and cancer risk. It could even help you to sleep better, maintain more youthful skin cells and preserve memory.

Is intermittent fasting for everyone?

The key to making healthier choices and losing weight is to find an approach that works for you. Long-term dietary and lifestyle changes can be unsustainable if the habits are difficult to maintain, difficult to follow or too extreme.

Intermittent fasting may be really valuable to anyone with a busy schedule as it involves less time spent preparing and eating food.

Intermittent fasting might not be recommended in certain cases: if you’re pregnant, take medications for diabetes or have had an eating disorder in the past, there might be another Jenny Craig plan more suitable for you. Talk to your GP or dietitian. But if you feel like you could adopt an intermittent fasting regime and could safely tolerate intervals of not eating or eating very little, then our Rapid Results Max plan may be the right one for you!


Can I do intermittent fasting without making any other changes?

If you’re fasting but making up for the lost calories by consuming more food at other times, you’re unlikely to see significant results. TRE may be an easier regime for you to adopt than long periods of fasting, with the eating window being long enough to reduce the feelings of deprivation. Evidence shows that extending the fast beyond 12 hours by delaying breakfast does not lead to eating more at lunch time, nor does it lead to an increase in appetite later in the day.

Fasting should be considered just one component of your overall approach to a more healthful lifestyle and managing your weight. Everyday behavioural changes involving reducing calorie intake through healthier choices and by following the Jenny Craig menu, as well as increasing your body’s energy expenditure through physical activity, are also important.

We know that calorie restriction and intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss. It’s still to be confirmed whether all of the benefits suggested are attributable to fasting or just the resulting weight loss, but the key to achieving results is to embrace a strategy that works for you.

The bottom line

We have long known the benefits of adopting healthier lifestyle habits and losing some weight if you need to. If intermittent fasting can help you to achieve one or both of these outcomes, you will experience improved health and wellbeing, and that will be worthwhile.

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On Rapid Results Max, Members lost an average of 6 kgs in the first 4 weeks!#