Canton Medical Clinic


Intermittent Fasting is a popular topic of discussion and a growing trend. Let’s delve deeper and understand what it is.

Intermittent Fasting is a specific eating pattern that involves hours or days of either no or minimal food intake, as long as you are not depriving yourself of essential nutrients.


Some common types of Intermittent Fasting may include:

Religious or Obligatory Fasting:

Religious fasting is a spiritual practice where an individual abstains from food, drink, or both for a certain period of time as a form of religious devotion or obedience. It is a common practice in many religious traditions, including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity. The aim of religious fasting can vary, but it typically involves seeking a deeper connection with a higher power, purifying the body and mind, or showing solidarity with those who are less fortunate. The rules and guidelines for religious fasting can vary greatly depending on the religion, including restrictions on the type of food and drink that can be consumed, the frequency and length of fasting, and other regulations.

Time Restricted:

Time-restricted fasting is a type of Intermittent Fasting that restricts food intake to a specific time of the day. This approach involves eating all daily food within a set window of time, such as 8 hours, followed by abstaining from food for the remaining 16 hours.

During the fasting period, only calorie-free drinks such as water, tea, and coffee are consumed. The aim of time-restricted fasting is to enhance overall health and metabolism by reducing the amount of time that the body is in a fed state, which is believed to have numerous benefits, including improved insulin sensitivity, decreased oxidative stress, and reduced inflammation. Time-restricted fasting has also shown promise for weight loss, blood sugar control, and heart health.

However, it’s essential to note that more research is needed to fully understand the effects of this form of fasting and to determine the most effective protocols for various health conditions.

Alternate Day Fasting:

Alternate-day fasting is a type of Intermittent Fasting in which a person switches between days of normal eating and days of limited calorie intake. On “fast days,” the calorie intake is usually restricted to a small amount, such as 500-600 calories, while on “feed days” the person eats as normal. The purpose of alternate-day fasting is to achieve a similar metabolic effect as daily caloric restriction, but with a more relaxed adherence to the diet, allowing for a more flexible and sustainable approach.

Like other forms of fasting, alternate-day fasting is believed to have potential health benefits, such as improved insulin sensitivity, decreased oxidative stress, reduced inflammation, and weight loss. However, as with any diet or lifestyle change, it’s crucial to consult with a doctor or a qualified healthcare professional before starting alternate-day fasting, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

It’s also important to note that not everyone may be suitable for this form of fasting, and some individuals may experience side effects, such as low energy levels, headaches, and difficulty concentrating.


Several studies show that people who practice Intermittent Fasting lose a significant amount of weight, comparable to simple calorie-restrictive diets.

When researching Intermittent Fasting solely for its effectiveness in weight loss, consider that you can achieve similar results with daily caloric restriction.

However, Intermittent Fasting also offers additional health benefits to consider.


Time-restricted feeding patterns improve the digestive system, sleep patterns, and gut biome by regulating the circadian rhythm.

The circadian rhythm, a 24-hour cycle that regulates physiological processes such as sleep patterns, cognitive abilities, mood regulation, and hormone secretion, can be regulated by specific food intake intervals.

Extending the eating period disrupts the circadian rhythm cycle, which is highly influenced by light exposure, physical activity, and food intake patterns, and can lead to metabolic syndrome and obesity.


Drastic improvements in inflammatory markers and fasting insulin levels have been shown in the human body by studies on alternate-day fasting. Hence, Intermittent Fasting positively impacts systemic inflammation.


Typically, Intermittent Fasting improves physician markers within two weeks of practice, but a lot depends on your specific metabolic type, your total caloric intake, and your physical training.


Working out during your fasting period can utilize a great amount of energy from your body’s fat storage, a process called Lipolysis, which results in using more fat to provide energy during your workout. To support crucial muscle recovery and stimulate protein synthesis, it’s advised to eat within an hour of your workout. The best method is to work out a couple of hours before your fasting window ends.


If feasible for your daily routine, Intermittent Fasting can be an effective method that could be adopted in order to incur some mentionable health benefits such as improved insulin levels, weight reduction and decreased inflammation.

Intermittent Fasting may not be for everyone, so always consult a weight loss professional before deciding to adopt this pattern.

Nida Latif, MD

Dr. Latif is a co-founder of Canton Medical Clinic. She is a graduate of The Aga Khan University Medical College and has been practicing medicine since 2004. Dr. Latif completed her Family Practice residency from a Michigan State University campus and is board certified in Family Medicine. She has always been passionate about prevention and “lifestyle” medicine. For this reason, she pursued and board-certified in Obesity Medicine in 2018. She also performs wet cupping therapy (Hijama) on women and children.