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How Do Intermittent Fasting Diets Work

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/8you’re Not Taking It Slow

Intermittent Fasting – How it Works? Animation

When people switch to a particular diet, one common mistake they make is jumping right to it and not taking it slow and steady.

With intermittent fasting, people do the same. Given that average human beings are used to eating after every few hours, leaping forward to a 24 hour fasting may not be the best solution. Rather one must start with a small fasting window and then gradually increase the frame.

If you go all in on your first try, you may not remain consistent and may lose track over time.

Bachelors Student In Public Health

May 8, 2019

Are you intrigued by intermittent fasting? Thinking of trying it?

Intermittent fastingor periodic abstinence from food and/or drinkcan take many forms, from the number of fasting days to which days you restrict calories to the recommended amount of calories you cut from your diet.1

Some of intermittent fastings proposed benefits include weight loss, improved metabolic health, diabetes prevention, and increased longevity.

Intermittent fasting has been proven safe and effective, and some of its proposed benefits include weight loss, improved metabolic health, diabetes prevention, and increased longevity.1,2 However, intermittent fasting can be difficult, and it is not recommended for certain groups, such as those with advanced diabetes, pregnant women, and individuals who have a history of eating disorders.1,2 It is important to know which options might work best for you as a beginner and to consult with your provider if you are or might be in one of the groups for whom fasting is not recommended.

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.

Also Check: What Can You Have When Your Fasting

Ive Made The Decision To Fast So How Long Should I Fast For

There arent any studies right now that state exactly how long one should fast. Researchers, like Dr. Peterson, are working on that. The minimum amount of time it takes to make fasting efficacious hasnt been proven via study, but the prevailing notion is its somewhere between 12 and 18 hours. But it can take a few days sometimes weeks of fasting regularly for your body to start burning fat for fuel. Brooke Alpert, nutritionist and author of The Diet Detox, suggests starting by moving your last meal to around 7 p.m. She said the reason for this is our bodies are better at doing some things at certain times. Our bodies are better at processing sugar in the morning than at night, said Dr. Varady. So eat bigger meals in the morning, for example.

And how often do you have to do daily intermittent fasting to see the benefit? Again, there hasnt been a study thats shown exactly how many days you need to fast, but a recent study in rodents showed they get about the same benefits fasting five days per week as they did fasting every day. The great thing is that were learning is that this type of fasting isnt all or nothing, said Dr. Peterson.

Is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Right For You

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Its true that 16/8 intermittent fasting can be a sustainable, safe, and easy way to improve your health when paired with a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle.

However, it shouldnt be viewed as a substitute for a balanced diet rich in whole foods. Plus, you can still be perfectly healthy if you dont follow intermittent fasting.

Though 16/8 intermittent fasting is generally considered safe for healthy adults, you should talk with your doctor if you have any underlying health conditions. This is key if youre taking any medications or have diabetes, low blood pressure, or a history of disordered eating.

Intermittent fasting is likewise discouraged if youre trying to conceive, pregnant, or nursing.

If you have any concerns or experience any side effects while fasting, be sure to consult your doctor.

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How Does Intermittent Fasting Work The Science

There is more emerging scientific evidence for how intermittent fasting works.

Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D. is a leading figure in intermittent fasting. Mattsons studies show that fasting can make the body enter ketosis. This means that you burn fat reserves instead of using glucose for your bodys energy. If you want, you can even track this yourself using a ketone monitor.

Intermittent fasting also drops the levels of insulin in your blood. This further aids weight loss.

Why does our body react in this way? Well, your body doesnt know when your next meal is coming, and it needs to get energy from somewhere. This is the whole reason why bodies store fat.

In a state of fasting, the body starts to use glucose, stored in the liver. Eventually, it will use the fat reserves you have built up for energy. Mattson claims that It takes 10 to 12 hours to use the livers energy stores, then what happens is, fats are used for energy.

Intermittent Fasting Has Plenty of Benefits Beyond Fat Burning

Does fasting work exclusively for weight loss and fat burning? It may surprise you that there are a lot of other medical benefits.

The insulin reduction weve already mentioned helps to reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.

On top of this, intermittent fasting is strongly linked to cellular repair within the body. This study shows how intermittent fasting can help to clear out the waste from cells, promoting quick repair and replenishment.

Include Whole Foods During Your Eating Window

Its also crucial to include the right foods in your diet outside of your fasting time. Once you make it to your eating window, dont just fill up on processed junk food.

Instead, opt for a variety of whole foods, including protein, healthy carbs, and good fats. You can find a handy list of fasting window-approved foods along with recipes right on our website, or via the DoFasting app.

Also Check: How Long You Should Do Intermittent Fasting

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Intermittent Fasting: Fad Or Valid Weight

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Is skipping meals a bad idea or a secret weight-loss weapon? One diet trend that shows no sign of going away soon is intermittent fasting. That’s when you voluntarily abstain from food or beverages other than water for a certain amount of time. Some fasting is for religious reasons, while others fast for weight loss.

But is intermittent fasting a healthy way to lose weight?

Choosing A Time Window

Intermittent Fasting: A Two-Month Experiment. Does It Work? | Talking Point | Full Episode

To get started, begin by picking an 8-hour window and limiting your food intake to that time span.

Popular 16/8 time windows include:

  • 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Many people prefer to eat between noon and 8 p.m., since you need to fast only overnight and skip breakfast but can still eat a balanced lunch and dinner, along with a few snacks throughout the day.

Others opt to eat between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., which allows plenty of time for a healthy breakfast around 9 a.m., a standard lunch around noon, and a light, early dinner or large snack around 4:30 p.m. before starting your fast.

However, you can experiment and pick the time frame that best fits your schedule.

It may help to set timers at both the beginning and the end of your eating window to remind you when to start and stop eating.

Also Check: What Can I Have While Intermittent Fasting

Weight Loss And Fat Loss

Eating during a set period can help people reduce the number of calories that they consume. It may also help boost metabolism.

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However, the research in this area remains limited.

A 2014 review reports that intermittent fasting shows promise as an alternative to traditional calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes risk reduction and weight loss in people who have overweight or obesity.

The researchers caution, however, that more research is necessary before they can reach reliable conclusions.

A 2018 study indicates that in addition to weight loss, an 8-hour eating window may help reduce blood pressure in adults with obesity.

Other studies report that intermittent fasting reduces fasting glucose by 36% in those with prediabetes, although it has no effect on healthy individuals. It may also decrease fasting insulin by 1157% after 3 to 24 weeks of intermittent fasting.

Time-restricted fasting, such as the 16:8 method, may also protect learning and memory and slow down diseases that affect the brain.

A 2017 annual review notes that animal research has indicated that this form of fasting reduces the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and cancer.

Also Check: How Much Weight Can I Lose Fasting For 5 Days

Are You Getting Enough Sleep

If you’ve cut out late-night snacking, that alone could help you go to bed earlier a very crucial component to any weight loss plan. Getting seven hours of sleep per night has been linked to better weight management, reduced risk of chronic disease, and improved metabolism.

The bottom line: Its simply not feasible for many of us to restrict food entirely for set periods of time in order to achieve better health. In addition to being difficult socially , self-imposed rules are simply not as joyful as having the right information and making choices that empower you versus hold you back. It’s best to find ways to make eating nutritious food work for you in the context of your day-to-day life. If you are considering intermittent fasting, Id encourage you to try it by starting small and keeping it as simple as possible: Close your kitchen after dinner, aim to get more sleep, and sit down for a full breakfast at your usual time tomorrow.

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The Benefits Of Fasting Dont Kick In At The Same Time For Every Person

Experts agree that your personal habits will play a role in when exactly certain health benefits will kick in.

âThere are very few definites here,â says Vincent Pedre, M.D., an integrative physician and gut health expert who frequently recommends intermittent fasting diets to his patients.

âWhere you start seeing those benefits depends on what you eat, how healthy your gut health is, what kind of physical activity youâre doing, etc.â

For example, letting calories slip into your fasting window, overeating calorie-dense foods like pizza during your eating window, not prioritizing sleep or physical activity, or making one of these intermittent-fasting mistakes could all delay or counteract the benefits of intermittent fasting.

Even if youâre formulating the rest of your diet and lifestyle perfectly, itâs important to understand that the different health benefits associated with intermittent fasting will likely kick in at different durations of fasting.

For example, weight loss may be triggered by a relatively short fasting window, while entering ketosis or triggering autophagythat âself-cleaningâ cellular process that boosts brain functioning and maybe even longevitymay take significantly longer.

Unfortunately, not enough research has been conducted on all the different forms of intermittent fasting to provide any hard-and-fast rules.

Can Help You Lose Weight And Visceral Fat

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Many of those who try intermittent fasting are doing it to lose weight .

Generally speaking, intermittent fasting will make you eat fewer meals.

Unless you compensate by eating much more during the other meals, youll end up taking in fewer calories.

Additionally, intermittent fasting enhances hormone function to facilitate weight loss.

Lower insulin levels, higher HGH levels, and increased amounts of norepinephrine all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.

For this reason, short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate, helping you burn even more calories .

In other words, intermittent fasting works on both sides of the calorie equation. It boosts your metabolic rate and reduces the amount of food you eat .

According to a 2014 review of the scientific literature, intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of 38% over 324 weeks. This is a huge amount .

The study participants also lost 47% of their waist circumference over 624 weeks, which indicates that they lost lots of visceral fat. Visceral fat is the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that causes disease .

One 2011 review also showed that intermittent fasting caused less muscle loss than continuous calorie restriction .

However, a 2020 randomized trial looked at people who followed the 16/8 method. In this diet, you fast for 16 hours a day and have an 8-hour window to eat.

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Intermittent Fasting: What Is It And How Does It Work

There are several different types of intermittent fasting. Heres how they work, including the potential benefits and risks

Intermittent fasting is a style of eating where you consume food in a specific window, and refrain from eating in others. Depending on the style of intermittent fasting you choose, these windows can range from several hours of fasting in a day, to fasting every other day in a week.

As a way to promote weight loss, intermittent fasting generally works by putting you into a calorie deficit, but many people do it for other associated health benefits. When the body goes into starvation mode during a fast, due to low glucose levels, it then begins a homeostatic process called autophagy, which may be beneficial in the prevention of disease.

But does intermittent fasting work for everyone? And are there any negative side effects? Read on to discover the science behind intermittent fasting. And if you decide to go ahead, we recommend you invest in one of the best water bottles to ensure you’re getting enough fluid to stay hydrated. Plus, check out our tips for how to drink more water if you’re still struggling to take on another liquids.

What Can You Eat Or Drink While Fasting

Very little, according to Sowa. Generally, youll want to stick to water or beverages that have virtually zero calories, like black coffee.

You may have seen people adding butter or MCT oil to coffee, and these are actually okay in small quantities because they dont have protein or carbs, says Sowa.

If you just cant stomach black coffee, she recommends adding a tablespoon of full-fat whipping cream to your coffee.

That will allow most people to stay in a technically fasted state, she says. Just dont go overboard.

If youre drinking a ton of whole fat whipping cream or eating a lot of butter youre not going to lose weight, she says.

Aim for no more than two tablespoons per day.

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Does Intermittent Fasting Work

IN THE DIET WORLD THESE DAYS, intermittent fasting may be a popular trend, but those trying to lose weight or improve their overall health should know that it can be a hard plan to stick to.

The approach alternates between periods of fasting and non-fasting during a particular time period. Intermittent fasting isnt about deprivation, but about splitting up your calories differently than the three-square-meals a day plus a snack routine.

The reason intermittent fasting is thought to be effective in weight loss is because it increases your bodys responsiveness to insulin. Insulin, a hormone that is released when you eat food, causes your liver, muscle and fat cells to store glucose. In a fasting state, blood glucose levels drop, which leads to a decrease in insulin production, signaling your body to start burning stored energy . After 12 hours of fasting, your body runs out of stored energy and begins burning stored fat.

Three of the more well-known IF plans are:

  • 5:2 diet: Eat normally, but healthfully for five days of the week and consume only 500 to 800 calories on two nonconsecutive days. Women usually aim for closer to 500 and men around 800 calories. Some might opt to split their calories into two or three mini meals.
  • Alternate days: Eat normally one day, then fast the next, and repeat for the rest of the week.
  • Time restricted fasting: fasting every day for 12 hours or longer.

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How Does Intermittent Fasting Work for Weight Loss

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