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Intermittent Fasting - What is it? And what can it do for YOU?

By Dr. Brian Chinn

If you are a beginner to fasting, start here! This will give you a basic understanding of what intermittent fasting is and its benefits.  

The Fundamentals

Alright, so let’s talk fasting. There are a multitude of ways to do it and there is no “one-size-fits-all” in terms of fasting or diet for that matter, but there are some important principles to follow to get started. Intermittent fasting has become wildly popular, so let’s start there. After all, if you are a beginner it would be unhealthy to start with something like a 7 day water fast. You need to prepare your body in stages to be able to fast for longer periods.

So, we are  going to dial in some of the basics in terms of intermittent fasting. You are essentially limiting your eating hours during the day to 8 hours. Then, you fast for the other 16 hours of your 24 hour day. A lot of the time this is done by eating dinner, then not eating again until lunch the next day.Track when you start your eating window and track when you stop. That’s it. For this method of fasting, you are essentially only skipping one meal, breakfast. This is also how I normally recommend patients begin their fasting journey as it is the easiest for beginners.

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The Benefits

I want to discuss the 2 main categories of benefits in this article. One is going to be the physical benefits (which are many). The other, perhaps less well known, are the benefits it can have on your mental state. 

First off, there are a multitude of health benefits to intermittent fasting. 

  • Improves fat burning (and thus stimulates weight loss), and can help to maintain muscle mass.
  • It is heart healthy and helps to improve your blood pressure.
  • Stimulates HGH, or Human Growth Hormone, which also helps with fat burning and muscle building.
  • It can help with insulin sensitivity.
  • And it improves cellular repair capabilities and tissue restoration in the body.

If that’s not enough to get you started with an intermittent fast, then here are some mental health benefits!

  • Studies have shown that it improves memory and thinking capabilities (much like you would need while taking a test) 
  • It can increase the activity of a few brain hormones that lead to nerve cell growth
  • Patients that I have worked with and colleagues of mine rave about the improved mental clarity that they experience!

Remember, keep it simple, and keep it safe! Don’t continue the fast if you are feeling too sick to go on and always consult your primary care doctor before fasting, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions.


I hope this gives you some great insight into fasting and that you take on the challenge of doing your first intermittent fast!

-Brian Chinn, DC

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