Can Intermittent Fasting Help People In High-Stress Jobs?

During times of crisis such as the COVID-19 outbreak, citizens often rely on first responders to ensure their daily living remains largely unaffected. However, behind the scenes, people serving in high-stress occupations (i.e. soldiers, police officers, nurses, firefighters, etc.) are often plagued with lack of sleep, shift work, poor eating habits and lack of access to nutrient dense foods, psychological stress (i.e. post-traumatic stress disorder), and minimal time for exercise. Over time, chronic exposure to these stressors can result in depression, weight gain, and the eventual development of heart disease. In fact, more firefighters die from heart disease related events than from actually fighting fires, and both police personnel and military soldiers have recently been documented as being too overweight to adequately perform their jobs. Given the abnormal work cycles of these high-stress occupations, an intervention flexible enough to accommodate the most hectic schedules, could prove to have life-saving implications.

Time-restricted eating is a nutrition intervention which alternates between a period of fasting (12 – 16 hours) followed by a period of eating (8 – 12 hours). Unlike other diets, which focus on the caloric content of a meal or which foods you should eat, time-restricted eating focuses exclusively on when you eat by compressing and standardizing the feeding window each day. In turn, people following this type of eating pattern naturally enter a state of caloric deficit.

Excerpted from OUPblog

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