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The New Year has many people thinking about change, and more often than not, it’s a change in eating habits that pursue. Intermittent fasting has become a popular way to lose weight, as many celebrities have taken it to the stage with the media in the front-row seat. The question you may be asking yourself: should I follow suit?

Intermittent fasting is different from most diets because it focuses on when you eat, rather than what you eat. It involves regular periods of fasting, the abstinence or severe reduction of consuming calories for a specific amount of time. Two common patterns include alternate day fasting or restricted eating window. An example of alternate day fasting is the popular 5:2 diet, which requires one to fast for two non-consecutive days every week. This could be less than 500 calories on fasting days, but no calorie limit on non-fasting days. A restricted eating window example is the 16:8 diet. This diet requires you to fast every 16 hours and consume foods only within an 8-hour window. Therefore, if you start fasting at 6:00 p.m., you cannot eat again until 10:00 a.m.

A major problem with this popular diet is that it doesn’t focus on eating healthier foods, and it pushes us to ignore hunger and satiety cues. Moreover, the diet could be dangerous for those with diabetes, high or low blood pressure, pregnant or breastfeeding women, those with a current or past history of disordered eating, older adults and adolescents. While intermittent fasting can be effective for weight loss when done correctly, most studies are short-term, such as six months or less. More research is needed to determine any long-term effects. Consult your healthcare provider before trying intermittent fasting, and ask a dietitian for non-fad diet ways to losing weight.

 

Winter Salad with Pomegranate (Printable PDF)

For Salad:

6 cups (5 oz.) fresh spinach

½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds

3 Tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

1 Tablespoon chopped pistachios

 

For Vinaigrette:

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar  

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon honey

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Whisk together ingredients for the vinaigrette and set it to the side. Top greens with pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, and pistachios. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings (1 cup each)

 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 120 calories, 11 grams fat, 140 mg sodium, 6 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 2 grams protein