If you make any of your decisions about how to approach health and wellness based on what you see online or on social media (and we鈥檙e not suggesting that you should), you鈥檙e bound to get confusing information. In today鈥檚 technology-saturated world, it seems that countless experts and professionals are constantly swapping ideas about what we all should be doing to look and feel our strongest 鈥 which makes for information overload. As a result, the wellness space has become largely trend-driven , and it can feel like a challenge to keep up with the health fads that your friends and loved ones are talking about.

There are so many trends out there, in fact, that in a recent survey by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, the 鈥渆ating pattern鈥 most commonly cited among participants (10 percent) was intermittent fasting , a system of time-restricted eating.

Woman using digital tablet in kitchen

According to IFIC Foundation Nutrition Communications Coordinator Alyssa Ardolino, people who abide by intermittent fasting follow a schedule in which 鈥渢here is a window of time you can eat and a window when you can鈥檛.鈥 And while intermittent fasting seems to be a somewhat new phenomenon (as evidenced by its apparent trendiness in the IFIC Foundation survey), it鈥檚 actually been around for centuries. According to Ardolino, in early years, humans would fast periodically out of scarcity or as part of their spiritual practices. Today, she tells us it has become more visible for different reasons.

鈥淎s a registered dietitian who does not promote fad diets, I would argue fasting has become so popular recently because people are seeking another way to try to manipulate their body size 鈥 another quick fix,鈥 Ardolino says. 鈥淲e鈥檙e hearing about it more because it is gaining popularity within certain groups like Hollywood and Silicon Valley, and there is increased research interest about this diet.鈥

While Ardolino cites research that intermittent fasting can be beneficial for cardiovascular health, she鈥檚 skeptical as to whether or not those benefits really outweigh potential dangers, namely a higher risk of eating disorders. Because of this, she is not a big fan of intermittent fasting for the general population.

If you are curious to see what all the hype is about, Ardolino offers some guidelines on how you can take the safest possible approach. Keep scrolling for the do鈥檚 and don鈥檛s.

THE DO鈥橲

THE DON鈥橳S

As always, consult your doctor before making any major changes in your diet or health routine.

Have you tried intermittent fasting? What was the experience like? Tweet us @BritandCo !

(Photo via Getty)