Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
Research is limited on how well intermittent fasting works for weight loss. Some studies have indicated that it can help people lose weight in just a matter of weeks, while others found no weight-loss benefit at all.
It may also depend on the type of intermittent fasting schedule that you choose. Heres what research says about three of the most popular intermittent fasting methods:
- 16/8 intermittent fasting. A 2020 study of 116 adults found no significant difference in weight loss between a group that limited all calorie intake to between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. each day and a control group that was allowed three meals per day, plus snacks. Notably, the 12-week study found fasting could lead to loss of muscle mass.
- Alternate-day fasting. A 2017 study that compared an alternate-day fasting plan with a typical calorie restriction diet found no significant difference in weight loss between participants. The study involved 100 obese participants, and there was a significant dropout rate only 69% of the subjects stayed until the end.
- 5:2 intermittent fasting. A 2013 study found that, from a sample of 115 overweight women, those who tried a 5:2 intermittent fasting diet for 3 months lost more fat and experienced a greater reduction of insulin resistance than women who followed a standard calorie-restricted diet for the same time period.
Listen To Dr Patel Talk Intermittent Fasting On The Healthu Podcast:
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.
Why Does My Blood Sugar Go Up During Fasting
While this does not happen with everyone, it can occur due to hormonal changes that occur during intermittent fasting. Your body is producing sugar in order to provide energy for your system. This is a variation of the dawn phenomenon and in general is not a concern as long as blood sugars are not elevated the rest of the day.45
Intermittent Fasting: Who’s It For
Intermittent fasting may sound technical. But all it really means is going for extended periods without eating.
Why would anybody want to do that? Well, a growing number of fitness experts claim that the practice can help people lose fat and improve their health.
But intermittent fasting is hardly the exclusive preserve of nutrition nerds. In fact, we all do some form of it every single day. Except we don’t call it that. We call it sleeping.
That’s right. The time from your last meal at night until your first meal the next day could be described as a “fasting” interval.
It’s as simple as that. So try not to get too entranced by the terminology.
In the end, people who decide to practice intermittent fasting simply extend the length of time when they are not eating.
Of course, everyone’s jockeying to “get it right.” Which means many different protocols have emerged — Eat Stop Eat, Leangains, the Warrior Diet, the 5:2 diet, and more — but in one way or another, all of these plans shrink the “eating” window and expand the “not eating” window.
What’s the point of fasting?
Although the name may be a recent invention, intermittent fasting is nothing new. In fact, humans have always fasted, whether just overnight, during more extended periods of food scarcity, or for religious reasons.
What is new is that clinical research on IF’s benefits for health and longevity is beginning to catch up.
But intermittent fasting is not for everyone
Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
There are very few studies on the 5:2 diet specifically.
However, there are plenty of studies on intermittent fasting in general, which show impressive health benefits (
After 12 weeks, the fasting group had:
- Reduced body weight by more than 11 pounds .
- Reduced fat mass by 7.7 pounds , with no change in muscle mass.
- Reduced blood levels of triglycerides by 20%.
- Increased LDL particle size, which is a good thing.
- Reduced levels of CRP, an important marker of inflammation.
The 5:2 diet may have several impressive health benefits, including weight loss, reduced insulin resistance and decreased inflammation. It may also improve blood lipids.
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Intermittent Fasting 16/8 Fasting Merges Well With Low Carb And Keto
You naturally fast on low carb eating plans, like Keto, so it easily pairs with IF.
This blog is based on a whole food/low carb approach, which I believe is the smartest way to improve health. Adding in IF is the gravy, so to speak.
Intermittent fasting has been around for literally thousands of years as a way to heal the body, maintain a healthy body weight, and bring mental clarity.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe
Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.
Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:
- Children and teens under age 18.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Those with a history of eating disorders.
But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.
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When Can I Eat On The 1: 8 Diet
You can pick an 8 hour window to suit your day. So, for example it could be between 10am 6pm or 11am 8pm and so on. Plus, you can still drink tea and coffee outside of those hours too, although because of the benefits of drinking water you are also encouraged to stay as hydrated as possible.
Most people choose to fast through the night, and opt to eat their first meal at about 11am or in the middle of the day.
Tom says, The most common hours adopted for the eating period is 12 till 8pm. The reason for this is because people arent normally that hungry in the morning, you dont want to be consuming too many calories during the evening and this allows us to eat our lunch and dinner as well as a healthy snack.
Whats Your Intermittent Fasting Objective
You may start intermittent fasting because you want to lose some weight, let say 11 lbs. Choose a plan and go with it until you hit that target of 11 lbs.
Or you may want to lose a certain percentage of body fat.
Get yourself an electronic body fat estimator and latch on to a plan and off you go. Monitor what you are doing, to see if you have lost the percentage of body fat you plan to lose.
If it takes you 8 weeks to lose 11 lbs, then its up to you if you wish to continue or not.
It is difficult for anyone to prescribe how long you should or can do intermittent fasting for. Because I, for instance, do not know you personally. Only if someone is coaching you on a one-to-one basis can they tell you how long you should do intermittent fasting for.
Read Also: Why Is Fasting Important To God
How Intermittent Fasting Works
The primary goal of intermittent fasting for weight loss is to get the insulin levels to decrease to a level where the body will begin to burn stored fat for energy.
Here is how it works. When the food we eat is metabolized , it ends up as molecules in the blood stream. One such molecule is glucose . Normally, when there is more circulating blood glucose than the body can use for energy, the excess is stored as fat for future use. But, for glucose to be utilized by the cells, it requires insulin. Between meals the body doesnt require insulin so insulin levels decline. When insulin levels are low, the fat cells release some of the stored glucose, resulting in weight loss.
How To Get Started With Fasting
You may not have realized yet, but very often, weve already come across Intermittent Fasting in our life. We may have the habit of skipping breakfast, or sometimes we skip lunch: both these two things are qualified as Intermittent Fasting patterns, no matter if done casually once in a while or always.
To give a structure to your fasting habit, you have to start with one of the methods above, which works best for you and your lifestyle and give it a go. Do not start hard. Take things slowly with the 16:8 method otherwise, you may end up wanting to quit after a few days.
Recommended Reading: How Many Calories With Intermittent Fasting
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
A few small human studies have shown evidence that intermittent fasting can have health benefits for those with diabetes. These include:
- Weight loss
- Lowering insulin requirements
A long-term study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that a fasting state can support several benefits including:
- Lessening inflammation
- Sleepiness during the day
- Low energy levels
- A significantly increased risk of low blood sugar
- High blood sugar resulting from a surge of stored glucose from the liver when low blood sugar levels result from fasting
Its important to note that more research is needed to definitively back up the claims of side effects from intermittent fasting and to confirm the severity of such untoward reactions.
Because of the likeliness of side effects from fasting when a person has diabetes, its important to consult with your healthcare provider before deciding to start any type of fasting diet.
Reduce Stress And Improve Mental Health
The 16:8 diet help reduce cortisol levels and help reduce inflammation. Plus, since you wont be dealing with hunger for two days a week, its better for your mental health.
Those whove tried the 16:8 diet say how much more productive they are during fasting hours, spending less time stressing over food and more time channelling their energy into other beneficial tasks throughout the day.
Recommended Reading: How To Succeed With Intermittent Fasting
May Smooth Your Path To Ketosis
Intermittent fasting may help your body reach ketosis quicker than the keto diet alone.
Thats because your body, when fasting, maintains its energy balance by shifting its fuel source from carbs to fats the exact premise of the keto diet .
For anyone who struggles to reach ketosis while on a keto diet, adding intermittent fasting may effectively jumpstart your process.
How Do You Do Intermittent Fasting And How Long Should You Do It For
There are a number of ways to do intermittent fasting, but they are all predicted on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast. Its about allowing your body to have enough time throughout the day without eating having full meals and snacking throughout the day doesnt give your body enough time to regenerate.
Neuroscientist has studied dieting and intermittent fasting for 25 years now, and he claims that after a few hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts to burn fat. 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, he says.
Of course, it is important to check with your doctor before beginning a fast as they will know the best option for your height, weight, age, and medical history. Typically, however, a good starting point would be carving out a 6-8 hour window each day and then fasting for the remainder of the day. Some people choose to pick particular days throughout the week where they drastically cut their food intake instead whilst eating normally most other days. Dealers choice!
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Ways To Use This Information For Better Health
/8you Have Chosen The Wrong If Plan
Choosing the right IF plan is extremely crucial. If you choose a method that does not sync well with your sleep time or your everyday routine, you may end up doing more harm than good. As mentioned before, beginners should start slow and do not straightaway jump to a 24 hours of fasting. If you cannot keep up with it, you may end up eating more calories than usual, leading to unhealthy weight gain.
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Popular Ant Dishes Around The World
Cultural practices strongly influence who eats insects, and while most Western countries refrain from it, insects are an important food source in many regions of the world .
As you can imagine, there are numerous ant species, and not all of them tend to be consumed.
Here are some of the most popular edible ants and the countries in which they are eaten:
- Leaf-cutting ants. Leaf-cutting ants are especially popular in Latin American countries, including Mexico, Colombia, Panama, and Brazil. Their name comes from their ability to cut leaves to feed fungi, which they use to feed their larvae .
- Weaver ants. Weaver ants are consumed in China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka. Theyre called weaver ants because they weave the leaves of living trees with silk to form their nests .
- Honey ants. Honey ants are commonly consumed by Indigenous communities in Australia. Theyre also called honeypot ants because they use their stomachs to store honey to feed their colony in times of scarcity .
- Black ants. Black ants are typically consumed in China and Kenya .
Ants are commonly consumed in many Asian, African, and Latin American countries. Some of the most popular types of edible ants are leaf-cutting, weaver, honey, and black ants.
Will Intermittent Fasting Make You Ridiculously Hungry
To explain why, wed like to tell you about a one-day experiment we suggest to our coaching clients: Fast for 24 hours.
Oh, do people fear this experiment. They worry so much about how horrible it will be.
But by the end of the 24 hours?
They tell us things like, You know, it wasnt as bad as I thought it would be. I thought I would be a lot hungrier.
Theres a scientific reason for this. Hunger hormones are released in waves based on when our bodies expect us to eat, which is usually after about five hours of not eating.4
But if you dont eat at that time, the wave of hunger will diminish, until the body thinks its time to eat again.
You know that hungry feeling you get about four or five hours after your last meal? Where your stomachs rumbling to remind you that its been a while?
Hunger peaks at that pointand immediately diminishes.
After a while, even if you havent eaten, you get less hungry.
About 20-24 hours later, hunger comes back again. But never as bad.
End result: Fasting doesnt generally make you feel as hungry as you might expect.
Recommended Reading: When To Check Fasting Blood Sugar
People With An Eating Disorder
Are you suffering from an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa? Have you had any issues with food restriction before? In both these cases, intermittent fasting can do more harm than good to your body. Restricting the eating time may mess with an already restrictive mindset and further reduce your calorie intake.
You Experience Fatigue Nausea Or Dizziness
If you start to feel tired all the time, nauseous, dizzy, or lightheaded, it could mean you’re not eating enough, Apovian previously told Insider.
While it’s normal to have some adjustment period when trying a new diet, experiencing these symptoms for more than a week or two can be a sign that your body isn’t adapting well to intermittent fasting and you should seek medical advice.
And if any of the symptoms are severe, you should stop fasting immediately. Riskier side effects such as fainting or changes in blood pressure sometimes occur with more extreme forms of fasting.
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Clinical Contributors To This Story
Kimberly Cai, M.D. contributes to topics such as Internal Medicine.
Nitin S Patel, M.D. contributes to topics such as Family Medicine.
Have you ever been so determined to lose weight, you decided to channel your inner Rocky Balboa?
Perhaps you purchased a sweatband online to soak up the puddles pouring off your forehead as you run up the stair climber at a rate of 8 mph blasting Eye of the Tiger on repeat, trying to figure out just how many times this sweat-inducing song can loop throughout your 30-minute mission.
But lets face itwe arent all going to be chiseled like Rocky, nor do we have the time for a regimen to attain such a feat.
Dont be disappointed just yet there are ways to effectively and naturally shed some pounds in a healthy, sustainable way.
Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you withhold food for a certain amount of time and allow your body to use energy more efficiently, explains Dr. Patel, who has fasted in the past. Instead of using energy from intake, such as carbs, you are breaking down fats.
Before committing to intermittent fasting, both Dr. Cai and Dr. Patel recommend that an individual is aware of the following facts: