Diurnal Fasting: What Is It and Why You Should Try It
By Dr. Nina C. Franklin on April 07, 2013
Traditional fasting reduces the risk of numerous chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. However, most people find it quite difficult to completely abstain from foods and beverages for an extended period of time. Those who do abstain often enter starvation mode, which is associated with extreme hunger, cravings, and in some cases, binge eating upon completion of fasting. If you’re interested in taking full advantage of the health-enhancing effects of prolonged fasting, but are afraid that you won’t be able to adhere, diurnal fasting is an excellent alternative.
What Is Diurnal Fasting?
Diurnal fasting is a form of intermittent fasting that involves abstaining from foods and beverages (sometimes including water) during daylight hours. The fasting period typically includes the hours between sunrise and sunset (about 10-12 hours) in addition to sleeping hours (about 6-8). During non-fasting hours, a variety of foods can be consumed in large quantities. However, to maximize health benefits, nutrient dense foods should be consumed includingwhole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein sources, and healthy fats.
What Are The Health Benefits of Diurnal Fasting?
There are a host of beneficial health effects that accompany diurnal fasting. These effects have been studied extensively among those who fast this way during Ramadan. Diurnal fasting reduces LDL ("bad") cholesterol, moderately reduces triglycerides (fat in the blood), and increases HDL ("good") cholesterol. Buildup of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides lead to plaque formations in your arteries that cause heart attacks and strokes while HDL cholesterol is responsible for removing LDL cholesterol from arterial walls (click here for natural ways to reduce your cholesterol).
In addition, blood pressure and fasting blood glucose levels are beneficially reduced after diurnal fasting. In relation to weight management, diurnal fasting is associated with reductions in body weight, body fat percentage, and waist circumference, which is indicative of reductions in abdominal fat. Diurnal fasting has also been shown to improve the length and quality of sleep.
How Does Diurnal Fasting Influence Exercise Training?
Current evidence from sound, scientific research supports the conclusion that you can maintain your normal exercise behaviors and training intensity while undergoing diurnal fasting. In some cases, diurnal fasting has even been shown to enhance exercise performance.
Since your daily calorie intake does not have to change during this type of fast, the metabolic rate is also maintained. For those who engage in bodybuilding, diurnal fasting does not impair muscle strength or hypertrophy so long as adequate quantities of essential nutrients are consumed during non-fasting hours.
If water intake is eliminated during fasting hours, diurnal fasting can lead to dehydration in the presence (and absence) of exercise training. Therefore, it is especially important to consume a substantial amount of water, even if you choose to only do so during non-fasting hours (click here to learn about the nutritional value of water).
How Can You Incorporate Diurnal Fasting Into Your Lifestyle?
Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a physician for advice.
Before starting an exercise training program you should first make sure that exercise is safe for you. If you are under the age of 55 years and generally in good health, it is probably safe for you to exercise. However, if you are over 55 years of age and/or have any health problems, be sure to consult with your physician before starting an exercise training program.
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