Everyone in diet and fitness circles is talking about intermittent fasting. While the reason for its sudden popularity can be attributed to its strong association with international celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Hugh Jackman and many others, Dr Nandipha Ndhlovu, a general practitioner with a special interest in aesthetic medicine, has another suggestion.

“The notion that some form of fasting might have health benefits is nothing new, but [intermittent fasting] has gained currency in recent decades because of research showing that calorie restriction can extend the lifespans of many life forms such as bacteria, mice, rats and monkeys,” Dr Ndhlovu explains. “This has not been proven in humans for obvious reasons – ethics!” she exclaims.

As the name suggests, intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between fasting and eating, without necessarily specifying what types of food you should eat on non-fasting days.

While there are different methods of intermittent fasting, the general idea is that you eat as normal on some days of the week, and then on other days you reduce your calorie intake quite considerably, aided by fasting. 

“On a fasting day, a person’s intake is often limited to non-caloric fluids such as water, tea, coffee (with low-fat milk) or it may allow a very restricted amount of daily calories,” Mbali Mapholi, dietician and spokesperson for the Association for Dietetics in South Africa, explains. It’s recommended that all liquids must have a caloric intake of less than 50 kJ, which means that no alcohol is allowed. 

WANT TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE? GRAB THE NOVEMBER ISSUE OF TRUE LOVE. ON SALE NOW!