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Does Intermittent Fasting Work For Weight Loss

Types Of Intermittent Fasting

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work for Weight Loss

Common types of intermittent fasting include: Complete alternate day fasting – this method involves alternating days of fasting, where no energy/calorie-containing foods or beverages are consumed with eating days .

Modified fasting or 5:2 diet – this method involves consuming 20-25% of energy needs on non-consecutive fasting days and eating ad-libitum the other five days.

Time-restricted feeding – this method allows ad-libitum food consumption during specific feeding windows of the day. Fasting windows can range from 12-20 hours, with people most commonly fasting for 16 hours/day.

Religious Fasting – A wide variety of fasting regimes undertaken for spiritual or religious purposes.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work

There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting, but they are all based on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast. For instance, you might try eating only during an eight-hour period each day and fast for the remainder. Or you might choose to eat only one meal a day two days a week. There are many different intermittent fasting schedules.

Mattson says that after hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat. He refers to this as metabolic switching.

Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours, Mattson says. If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and theyre not exercising, then every time they eat, theyre running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.

Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.

Ways To Do Intermittent Fasting

There are several methods of intermittent fasting, varying in the fasting period and the calorie allowances. Since different methods may suit different people, you may want to experiment to see what works best for your lifestyle and preferences.

Before embarking on an intermittent fast or deciding how often to fast, it is important to talk to a medical professional about potential benefits and risks, especially if you have a medical condition.

Below are 7 popular methods of intermittent fasting:

  • 16/8 method: Involves fasting for 16 hours and restricting the eating window to 8 hours. Within the eating window, you can fit in 2-3 or more meals.
  • 12-hour fast: Involves a 12-hour fasting window every day. The easiest way to do the 12-hour fast is to include sleep in the fasting window.
  • The 5:2 diet: Involves eating normally for 5 days of the week and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories for 2 days of the week.
  • Alternate-day fasting: Involves fasting every other day either by not eating anything or eating about 500 calories on fasting days.
  • Eat stop eat: Involves 1-2 complete 24-hour fasts per week. Fasting from dinner one day to dinner the next day amounts to a full 24-hour fast. This is an extreme form of fasting and is not recommended.
  • The warrior diet: The warrior diet involves eating small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day and eating 1 huge meal at night within a 4-hour eating window.
  • Recommended Reading: How Intermittent Fasting Works For Weight Loss

    Possible Side Effects Of Intermittent Fasting

    Intermittent fasting could have a negative effect on your sleep cycle because fasting causes the release of cortisol, a hormone that can cause stress and insomnia. In order to avoid this, try to eat in an 8 hour window instead of completely fasting for 16 hours.

    Dont overdo intermittent fasting If you are going to do intermittent fasting, make sure you do it safely. If you are eating only in an 8 hour window, try to stick to about 500-600 calories instead of going overboard on your calorie intake. This makes intermittent fasting a great option for those who want to maintain their weight but feel better from intermittent fasting.

    Pick A Time Frame That Fits Your Lifestyle

    Intermittent Fasting

    Intermittent fasting is a dieting trend that has been around since the early 2000s. Its not about counting calories, macros, or measuring ketones. Instead, its flexible and can be done in different ways depending on your lifestyle.

    There are many different types of intermittent fasting you can choose from, whether its a 3-day fast followed by regular diet days, a 1-hour fast every day for 5 days straight, or just one meal per day during the week with two snacks to keep blood sugar levels balanced.

    Read Also: What’s The Benefit Of Intermittent Fasting

    Intermittent Fasting And Weight Loss For Women

    Some people argue that intermittent fasting is only beneficial for men.

    But that we exist today is based on the fact that not only men are built for fasting. Hence, women had to survive food shortages.

    Since reproduction is the primary goal of the female body, it focuses on survival during food shortages. Otherwise, no offspring can be conceived.

    Therefore, the following situations can affect the female hormone balance:

    • Infections and inflammation
    • Too much exercise
    • High stress in everyday life
    • Too little sleep

    Accordingly, one study shows that excessive caloric restriction can have adverse effects on the release of two female hormones :

    • Luteinizing Hormone
    • Follicle Stimulating Hormone

    If these reproductive hormones cannot communicate appropriately with the ovaries, periods may stop, or, in some cases, the entire cycle may stop.

    Likewise, the same study states that excessive exercise and psychological stress equally throw hormones out of balance .

    However, as long as intermittent fasting is done correctly, it does not upset hormone balance in a negative sense.

    Intermittent fasting is, above all, flexible. Thats why its advisable to start with an intermittent fasting plan that fits into your daily routine and doesnt create additional stress.

    If you cant go without breakfast, skip dinner instead. If 16 hours of fasting per day is too much for you, start with 12 or 14.

    Can I Do Intermittent Fasting Without Keto And Still Lose Weight

    People can lose weight successfully with intermittent fasting, even without keto.

    For example, a recent study states that intermittent fasting burns problematic fat more effectively than a low-carb diet .

    Nonetheless, youll get better results when combined with a low-carb diet like the ketogenic diet. If your carbohydrate stores are already empty, youll get into deep ketosis much faster, burning body fat more efficiently.

    Read Also: How Long Is Fasting Blood Sugar

    What Is The 1: 8 Diet

    The 16:8 diet is a type of intermittent fasting where you break each day into two parts a 16 hour stretch and an 8 hour period. For 16 hours every day, you consume nothing but water, coffee, tea and other unsweetened drinks. Then for the other eight hours of the day, you can eat all your meals and snacks.

    The 16 hour stretch sounds like a long time, but if youre getting enough sleep, you should be asleep for about half of that time.

    Sports Scientist Harry Aitken tells GoodtoKnow, Intermittent fasting is a dietary technique in which all food is consumed within a relatively small window of time. Fasting is going for a significant period of time without eating, and intermittent fasting simply brings in a small window of time where you are able to eat.

    Intermittent fasting has been popularised and studies have gone on to confirm that it leads to weight loss and fat loss.

    The 16:8 diet stems from the book 8 Hour Diet by author David Zinczenko and editor-in-chief of Mens Health Peter Moore, who suggested that a longer fasting time between eating gives the body the time it needs to process the food and burn away extra fat.

    Be Careful Of Your Snacking Urges

    Does Intermittent Fasting Work For Weight Loss?

    People who want to do intermittent fasting need to be mindful of their snacking or binge eating habits. If youre a chronic snacker, try taking breaks from the meal plan for some snacks throughout the day.

    When eating, avoid reaching for processed food and opt for fresh fruits or vegetables instead.

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    A Recent Study Suggests That Intermittent Fasting Can Produce Clinically Significant Weight Loss As Well As Improve Metabolic Health In Individuals With Obesity

    Washington: According to a new study review led by University of Illinois Chicago researchers, intermittent fasting can produce clinically significant weight loss as well as improve metabolic health in individuals with obesity. The findings of the study were published in the journal Annual Review of Nutrition.

    “We noted that intermittent fasting is not better than regular dieting both produce the same amount of weight loss and similar changes in blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation,” said Krista Varady, professor of nutrition at the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences and author of “Cardiometabolic Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.”

    According to the analysis published in the Annual Review of Nutrition, all forms of fasting reviewed produced mild to moderate weight loss, 1-8 per cent from baseline weight, which represents results that are similar to that of more traditional, calorie-restrictive diets. Intermittent fasting regimens may also benefit health by decreasing blood pressure and insulin resistance, and in some cases, cholesterol and triglyceride levels are also lowered. Other health benefits, such as improved appetite regulation and positive changes in the gut microbiome, have also been demonstrated.

    The review looked at over 25 research studies involving three types of intermittent fasting:

    “You’re fooling your body into eating a little bit less and that’s why people are losing weight,” Varady said.

    How Long Does Intermittent Fasting Take To Show Results

    You might begin to first notice a difference in your body about 10 days after you begin intermittent fasting. It could take between 2-10 weeks for you to lose significant weight. You might lose up to a pound each week.

    Usually, the first signs you will notice that scream that your intermittent fasting is working is less bloating. Your midsection might look trimmer just over your first week of intermittent fasting.

    Observing weight loss will take a little longer as your body needs some time to adjust to this new diet.

    At about the second week is when most people first notice that they have dropped their first few pounds. If you have still not lost any weight by week two, stay consistent for about four or five more weeks and your results should come in soon enough.

    Recommended Reading: Is Fasting Good For Losing Belly Fat

    Stick To The Bodys Circadian Rhythm

    No matter what kind of eating pattern, you can never go wrong when it follows the bodys internal clock. This means eating during the day and resting during the night.

    So, what you can do is eat during the earlier hours of the day. While a 7 am to 3 pm routine is not always practical, a 10 am to 6 pm is doable.

    For that matter, even a 16/8 intermittent fasting approach can work.

    Who Shouldnt Try Intermittent Fasting

    Intermittent Fasting: How to Best Use it for Fat Loss (5 ...

    Intermittent fasting isnt for everyone. You should always check with your doctor before trying a new diet, even one thats proven to be beneficial. The following groups of people should avoid IF:

    • People who suffer from diabetes or other blood sugar problems
    • Children under the age of 18
    • People with a history of eating disorders
    • Pregnant and breastfeeding women

    Recommended Reading: How To Get Electrolytes While Fasting

    Documented Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

    It turns out there is a long list of Intermittent Fasting Benefits.

    Though, the most common reason people subscribe to this kind of diet is still weight loss. The question of does intermittent fasting work is often asked for the same reasons as well.

    But it would be an injustice to limit the perks of intermittent fasting to just weight loss, considering it causes changes at the molecular level. In fact, it may also help you live longer.

    Below we list down some of the research-backed Advantages of Intermittent Fasting starting with the most common:

    Timing Of Your Fast Is The Key

    Past human studies have shown eating every other day performs equally well in comparison to eating less each day. This has led to the belief that intermittent fasting can, after all, be just hype.

    However, a study conducted on a small group of obese men with prediabetes suggested otherwise.

    As per a study done by the researchers at the University of Alabama, early-time restricted feeding improves insulin sensitivity and blood pressure even without any changes in weight loss.

    You can read the details of this study here.

    Early-Time Restricted Feeding is technically a type of Intermittent Fasting Schedule that limits food intake in the first 8 to 10 hours of the day.

    This is followed by an extended fast till the next mornings first meal or breakfast.

    This study has birthed a new discussion over the long-term health benefits of fitting your meals in the earlier hours of the day.

    Well, naturally prolonging the fasting window has its basis in the human circadian rhythm. Our bodies are biologically predisposed to eat during the day and rest during the nighttime.

    Hence, this explains the results observed in this study.

    Previous studies in rodents also show TRF to reduce weight, lower insulin levels, and reduce hepatic fat.

    So, whats the conclusion from all this, does intermittent fasting work?

    Read Also: How Does Fasting Help You Lose Weight

    Lessons Learned From 1 Year Of Intermittent Fasting

    1. The biggest barrier is your own mind.

    Implementing this diet is pretty simple, you just don’t eat when you wake up. Then you eat and lunch and go about your day. At least, that’s how I do it.

    But there is a mental barrier to get over. If I don’t eat will I not be able to think? Will I faint? Will I feel sick? What will it be like? These are all thoughts that went through my mind before I started.

    What ended up happening? Nothing. Life went on just fine.

    Thinking you need to eat every 3 hours or six meals a day or always have breakfast or whatever it is that youre convinced you have to do to survive is all mental. You believe it because you were told it, not because you actually tried it.

    If there’s one thing I’ve noticed that separates successful people from unsuccessful ones in life it’s not just the ability to think differently, but the ability to act differently as well.

    2. Losing weight is easy.

    When you eat less frequently you tend to eat less overall. As a result, most people who try intermittent fasting end up cutting weight. You might plan big meals, but consistently eating them is difficult in practice.

    Most people lose weight while intermittent fasting because when they cut out meals, they don’t make up for it with bigger meal sizes.

    3. Building muscle is quite possible .

    I have managed to gain weight while intermittent fasting , but only because I have focused on eating a lot during my feeding period.

    5. For best results, cycle what you eat.

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    You Do Not Have To Take It Easy

    Does Intermittent Fasting Work For Weight Loss? (Surprising Findings)

    A popular myth about intermittent fasting is that you need to take it easy.

    Unless you already feel tired, the surest way into sluggishness is to rest even more. Instead, activities can help your body go to fat burning faster.

    If you feel a sense of fatigue while fasting, its usually a sign that your carbohydrate stores are emptying. However, this is not a bad thing.

    Nevertheless, the body does not immediately expend extra metabolic energy to burn fat, especially if you are just starting fasting.

    Accordingly, like a savings account, body fat is only attacked when carbohydrate stores, the checkings account, are empty.

    Thats why it helps to increase your energy needs with exercise. This way, you force your body to switch to burning body fat.

    Nevertheless, when fasting, it is crucial to listen to your body. If you feel good with fasting and strength training, there is nothing wrong with it.

    If you feel unwell, you can always break the fast.

    For example, intermittent fasting and muscle building work great for me since fasting releases enormous amounts of growth hormone.

    However, it is important to always exercise during the fasting period to maximize fat burning. If you eat before exercising, insulin production will prevent fat burning .

    Recommended Reading: How Many Calories Should You Eat When Doing Intermittent Fasting

    Does Working Out While Fasting Help With Fat Loss Or Is It Better To Exercise During Eating Windows

    When partaking in exercise fasted, a greater amount of fat is broken down and used for energy. This process is commonly known as lipolysis. However, this does not equate to more fat burning. It just means more fat is being utilized to provide the body with energy for exercise.

    During fasted workouts, the body will break down stored energy in the body to supply muscles with energy to perform the activity. If optimizing performance is your primary goal, fasted workouts may not be advisable since you are further depleting your body and not providing your muscles with ample energy to perform.

    Additionally, eating within an hour after exercise becomes more crucial to promote recovery and stimulate muscle protein synthesis. The best recommendation would to always perform exercise close to or during feeding periods to promote optimal muscle recovery.

    You Are Not Drinking Enough Water

    If you are reading, drink some water right now. Intermittent fasting restricts your meal times but places no restrictions on water drinking throughout the day.

    Drink enough water to stay hydrated during your fast. You can also take tea or black coffee to replenish your lost fluids without breaking your fast.

    Drinking water can keep you full till your next eating period. Therefore it keeps you from snacking and packing on extra calories.

    Staying hydrated is important for your overall health. If you are exercising, you ought to drink even more water to replace what you lost through sweat.

    You might also need to change your lifestyle to include better sleep if you are thinking of starting intermittent fasting.

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