Intermittent fasting is a diet plan that alternates between periods of fasting (either without meals or with a large reduction in calories) and periods of unrestricted eating. It is pushed to improve indices of health that are linked to disease, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as to change body composition by losing fat mass and weight.
Intermittent fasting has been a popular trend for years, with followers saying that it helps them lose weight and stay healthy. Intermittent fasting has also been proven to have health benefits.
Fasting usually involves abstaining from food and beverages for a period of time ranging from 12 hours to one month. It could necessitate complete abstinence or only allow a certain amount of food and drink.
In terms of weight loss efficiency, however, research does not consistently show that intermittent fasting is superior to continuous low-calorie diets.
A new scientific assessment published in the Annual Review of Nutrition looked at 25 trials on intermittent fasting and found that persons who followed this eating regimen lost anywhere from 1% to 8% of their baseline weight. Intermittent fasting can improve numerous metabolic health markers, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and the weight loss that comes with it—especially when combined with a strong exercise regimen—can lower your risk of weight-related disorders. In general, intermittent fasting has a lot of benefits.
Of course, intermittent fasting comes in a variety of forms, and the one you pick is ultimately up to you. Time-restricted eating is one of the most common types. You fast for a particular period of time during the day and have a specific eating “window” with this style. You could, for example, fast for 18 hours and then eat for six. Alternate date fasting, which alternates between a day of fasting (when you strive to limit yourself to 500 calories or less) and a day of eating, and the 5:2 diet, which alternates between two fasting days and five eating days per week, are two other choices.
Regardless of which style of intermittent fasting you pick, this eating plan necessitates discipline and some previous knowledge before you dive in head first. That’s why we talked to a few vets who practice intermittent fasting. They provided their advice on how to get started on the diet and stay on track, so you can have the best chance of succeeding with it.
Caution: If you are pregnant, have a chronic condition, are underweight, or feel like you have an unhealthy relationship with food, connect with a healthcare professional before starting IF.
How It Works
Fasting on alternate days, for complete days with a certain frequency each week, or for a specific time frame are the most prevalent techniques.
Alternate-day fasting is when you alternate between days when you don’t eat and days when you eat one meal that delivers around 25% of your daily calorie needs. Fasting is observed on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, whereas no food restrictions are observed on alternative days.
Time-restricted eating: This strategy does not require calorie restriction, but it does require you to limit your eating window to four to ten hours each day. Then you go on a hunger strike outside of that eating window.
Many of the research looked at found that time-restricted eating helped obese people lose an average of 3% of their body weight, regardless of the length of their meal window. Those who participated in alternate-day fasting, on the other hand, lost 3% to 8% of their body weight over a three to eight-week period.
Intermittent fasting will help you lose those final five pounds and, more importantly, keep them off. Don’t compare yourself to others; instead, create a routine that works best for you.
Everyone’s metabolism and goals are different, so don’t be afraid to experiment to see what works best for you and your body.
Losing weight may be extremely difficult, and many individuals will try a variety of diets before finding one that allows them to lose weight in a consistent and long-term manner.
In fact, according to the conclusions of a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2020, 17 percent of Americans were on diets during the 2017-2018 survey period, up 14% from the previous decade. During the same time span, however, the national obesity rate increased from 34% to 42%.
New research from the University of Illinois in Chicago suggests that intermittent fasting (IF) could help obese people lose weight and even improve their metabolic health.
Intermittent fasting is popular because it is simple. Diets that people can keep to for a long time are needed. It’s proven to help people lose weight, and it’s become popular because it doesn’t require any specific foods or applications. It can also be combined with other diets, such as Keto.
Surprisingly, despite having fewer fasting times, those who followed the 5:2 diet lost weight in the same way as those who followed the alternate-day fasting diet.
Overall, the proportion of weight lost by participants on these two types of IF diets was comparable to the results obtained on a standard, calorie-restrictive diet.
The best part
Participants who followed both of these fasting diets lost weight and kept it off for a year, losing an average of 7% of their body weight.
Caution: The study doesn’t suggest that IF is more effective than traditional dieting. Instead, it shows that it may be just as effective, so if you hate cutting calories on a daily basis, consider giving either alternate day or 5:2 fasting a try
This type of dietary pattern would be difficult for someone who eats every few hours (e.g., snacks between meals, grazes). It would also not be appropriate for those with conditions that require food at regular intervals due to metabolic changes caused by their medications, such as with diabetes. Prolonged periods of food deprivation or semi-starvation places one at risk for overeating when food is reintroduced, and may foster unhealthy behaviors such as an increased fixation on food. [8,9]
Individuals with the following conditions should abstain from intermittent fasting:
Eating disorders that involve unhealthy self-restriction (anorexia or bulimia nervosa)
Use of medications that require food intake
Active growth stage, such as in adolescents
Although animal studies have shown some benefits of calorie restriction, no corresponding benefits of intermittent fasting have been reported in people. In terms of weight reduction, biochemical changes, compliance rates, and decreased hunger, it is uncertain whether intermittent fasting is preferable to other weight management approaches. Certain persons who eat only one or two meals each day or do not eat for lengthy periods of time may be more likely to stick to this type of diet.
People who eat or snack late at night may also benefit from a cut-off eating time, especially if the late eating causes unpleasant side effects like GERD or sleep disruption.