Intermittent Fasting Can Help Weight Loss
IF makes intuitive sense. The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains , are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells dont use it all, we store it in our fat cells as, well, fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there.
Between meals, as long as we dont snack, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy. We lose weight if we let our insulin levels go down. The entire idea of IF is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat.
She Tweaked Her Plan For Special Occasions
Over the holidays, Etienne-Mesubi continued with intermittent fasting but gave herself an expanded eating window of six or eight hours. We were celebrating, and I have no regret and no guilt for extending my window, she says. Even though I allowed myself extended time to eat, I didnt go crazy. I still enjoyed myself and my time with my family and kids. It was so freeing to know if I want to eat longer I can, and if I dont feel like eating anymore Im going to stop, she says.
How Long To Do Intermittent Fasting Before Seeing Results On Overall Health
Many studies concluded that one must follow 8 to 12 weeks of long time-restricted fasting before seeing positive results on overall health like metabolic health, mood, brain health, etc.
However, the result varies from person to person. Some people only do interval fasting but they dont follow a restricted diet. Most people workout along with fasting. And some do three of those all together, like fasting, diet, and exercising.
The proper you follow the routine, the faster youll see the results and vice versa.
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Intermittent Fasting: Is It Right For You
U-M dietitian Sue Ryskamp weighs in on intermittent fasting benefits, who it works best for and how to get started
Weight loss can be difficult, but could intermittent fasting help? This eating pattern, which features cycles of fasting and eating, is making headlines as research confirms its not only what you eat, but when you eat, that matters in the struggle to lose weight.
During intermittent fasting, individuals use specific periods of eating typically within an eight-to-10 hour window to lose weight, says Michigan Medicine dietitian Sue Ryskamp, who sees patients at U-Ms Frankel Cardiovascular Center.
The premise behind intermittent fasting is relatively simple, she says: When our insulin levels go down far enough and for long enough, as they do during a fasting period, were able burn off fat.
Insulin levels drop when a person is not consuming food. During a period of fasting, decreasing insulin levels cause cells to release stored glucose as energy. Repeating this process regularly, as with intermittent fasting, leads to weight loss. In addition, this type of fasting often results in the consumption of fewer calories overall, which contributes to weight loss, Ryskamp says.
A Harvard research study also reveals how intermittent fasting may slow the aging process through weight loss, lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol.
What Are The Benefits Of The 12
Greek Physician Hippocrates and Athein and philosopher Plato are among the early proponents of the benefits of fasting to improve health, thousands of years back. Plato fasted for better physical and mental productivity. And according to Hippocrates, our food should be our medicine, and to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness . Fast forward to today, modern science agrees that having a full stomach all the time is not ideal.
After eating, many new proteins are produced in the brain, and during fasting, the body also produces few new proteins. Therefore, cells are prompted to obtain protein from non-essential sources, convert them, and use the amino acids to make new proteins needed to survive.
The benefits of intermittent 12-hour fasting include:
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Why When You Eat Matters According To Scientific Research
In a study published in Obesity Journal, researchers randomized 93 overweight and obese women into two groups who ate the same foods. One group ate half their 1,400 daily calories for breakfast. The other group ate half their calories for dinner. While both groups lost weight, compared with the nighttime calorie group, the morning calorie group lost more weight, reduced their waist circumference by more, and lowered their fasting glucose and insulin levels by more.
Timing is everything when it comes to eating, Peeke says. We now realize that we spent so much time studying how much we eat, we never paid enough attention to when we eat.
You’re Eating The Wrong Foods During Your Window
Just because IF focuses on your meal timing rather than macro-tracking, that doesn’t give you the green light to engage in a junk food free-for-all.
“Eating the wrong foods during the eating window and not getting enough nutrients is often a problem while intermittent fasting,” Shapiro tells us. “It is essential to nourish the body with nutrient-dense whole foods so that the body can break them down during the fasted state, keeping you satiated. People use IF as an excuse to eat the wrong things, such as processed foods and sugar, which is not good for the body during the fasted state.”
To see intermittent fasting results, White recommends making the following healthy foods a priority in your diet:
- healthy fats
- fiber found in fruits and vegetables
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Is It Ok To Skip Breakfast
Yes, Varady said. The notion that omitting a morning meal is bad for your waistline likely began with studies sponsored by cereal companies, and most of that research looked at the effects of breakfast skipping on cognition in children, she noted: Im not sure how that all got translated to body weight.
Exercising With Intermittent Fasting
Studies show that exercising whilst fasting burns more off left over glycogen. Glycogen is glucose. When glycogen runs out, fat is then the substitute as an energy source. Thus suggesting that exercising whilst fasting burns fat better than exercising after eating.
You replace your glucose when eating. This means that the energy used during a workout is the energy from the glucose in the food.
Working out whilst fasting is dependent on the individual. Some may prefer to work out before beginning the fast. This is because people like to work off their food and feel they have the most energy. But, some prefer to work out on an empty stomach. Depending on the person, this preference will change.
There is not enough evidence to state if exercising whilst fasting burns more fat. Yet, it can burn off excess fat when the body runs out of glycogen. This suggests fasting does offer great fat burning benefits.
Another preference is the type of workout a person wishes to do whilst fasting. If a person does choose to exercise whilst fasting, it can range from HIIT to muscle gaining. Again, this depends on preference and current energy levels. Strength works out and requires more energy and carbohydrates. Whilst high intensity interval training requires less carbohydrates and energy, which is ideal for intermittent fasting.
A workout should be dependent on your energy levels at the time. Advice to take is to not exercise if you already feel tired.
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Common Obstacles To Eating A Healthier Diet
Varady dabbles with intermittent fasting herself, typically for a few weeks after the holidays to lose a few pounds. The 16:8 plan is less intense than the other plans, but if she wants a more rapid weight loss, shell opt for alternate day fasting.
The first five fast days are pretty tricky, but once your body gets adjusted to that kind of up-down pattern of eating, it actually gets really easy, Varady told TODAY.
So how do you boost your chances of intermittent fasting success?
What Is Intermittent Fasting
Many diets focus on what to eat, but intermittent fasting is all about when you eat.
With intermittent fasting, you only eat during a specific time. Fasting for a certain number of hours each day or eating just one meal a couple days a week, can help your body burn fat. And scientific evidence points to some health benefits, as well.
Johns Hopkins neuroscientist , has studied intermittent fasting for 25 years. He says that our bodies have evolved to be able to go without food for many hours, or even several days or longer. In prehistoric times, before humans learned to farm, they were hunters and gatherers who evolved to survive and thrive for long periods without eating. They had to: It took a lot of time and energy to hunt game and gather nuts and berries.
Even 50 years ago, it was easier to maintain a healthy weight. Johns Hopkins dietitian Christie Williams, M.S., R.D.N., explains: There were no computers, and TV shows turned off at 11 p.m. people stopped eating because they went to bed. Portions were much smaller. More people worked and played outside and, in general, got more exercise.
Nowadays, TV, the internet and other entertainment are available 24/7. We stay awake for longer hours to catch our favorite shows, play games and chat online. Were sitting and snacking all day and most of the night.
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Try Sticking To The Following Foods On The 1: 8 Diet:
- Whole grains: Ones like rice, oats, barley, wholegrain pasta and quinoa will keep you fuller for longer.
- Protein: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds will keep you full.
- Fruit: Apples, bananas, berries, oranges and pears will offer good vitamin sustenance.
- Vegetables: Broccoli and leafy greens are especially good for making sure youre eating enough fibre.
- Healthy fats: Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados.
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.
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How Does The 1: 8 Diet Work
The 16:8 diet works on an hourly basis. So each day you can eat within an 8 hour time frame and fast for the remaining 16 hours. The best part? You dont have to restrict your calories when eating during the 8 hour window. As long as you eat healthily in your 8 hour time frame, youll see the weight drop off.
Experts say that the 16.8 diet restricted schedule gives our bodies the chance to process the nutrients stored in foods and burns away calories. Plus, you wont go hungry like you do on those two fasting days on the 5:2 either.
As Tom Jenane, nutrition and fitness expert explains, The 16:8 diet is a brilliant form of intermittent fasting that has proven results in a number of cases.
Jennifer Aniston is a famous fan of intermittent fasting.
As well as Jennifer Aniston, other Hollywood names who have seen success after following the 16:8 diet include Hugh Jackman, who reportedly used the diet to get in shape for his Wolverine films and actress Jennifer Love Hewitt.
You’re Forgetting To Drink Water Throughout Your Intermittent Fasting Diet
Fasting or not, staying hydrated helps you fight off hunger and cravings. Shapiro reminds us how essential it is to drink up during the fasted state. “Since the body is breaking down components while you fast, water is needed to detoxify them and flush out the toxins. This can also help you to feel full,” she says.
Try keeping a large reusable water bottle by your desk so you can sip throughout the day.
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How Much Weight Can You Lose In A Month With Intermittent Fasting
While you are in a hurry to lose weight, keep in mind that each person is different. In a pinch, your weight loss will depend on what you weigh, your age, your activity level, and the kind of food you eat during your eating window.
That said, you can expect to lose 12 pounds a week on a diet comprising healthy and nutritious meals. If you binge on junk foods, sweets, sodas, and highly processed foods constantly during your eating periods, you may not lose weight or may lose a very minimal amount.
If you lose even half a pound in a week, do remember that you will achieve your weight loss goals slowly but steadily. Intermittent fasting also has other health benefits like:
- Reduction in belly fat
- Increased mental focus
- Improved blood pressure
Of course, losing unnecessary weight has other health benefits, too. Obesity is a major factor in diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular problems, asthma, and cancer. So weight loss helps in health and longevity.
Why Does Skipping Breakfast Help With Weight
Skipping breakfast is a form of daily intermittent fasting, and will not only help you burn fat and give you more energy, but will provide you with many other health benefits as well. Doing this will train your body to use its own fat stores as its primary fuel source, resulting in less effort and more weight loss, says Keith Kantor, a doctor of nutritional science and naturopathic doctor in Atlanta.
“Fasting works best when it is coupled with quality, whole, unprocessed foods and hydration with alkaline hydroxide water,” says Kantor. “This water decreases inflammation and clears the detoxification pathways, which of course helps with detoxification which will help a little with weight loss.”
After an overnight fast your body is in prime fat-burning mode, due mostly to the fact that your insulin levels are low first thing in the morning. So when you eat the typical breakfast, which tends to be high in carbohydrates, this raises your insulin levels and brings fat-burning to a halt.
Conversely, growth hormone is higher early in the morning. But as soon as your insulin levels go up your growth hormone levels plummet.
Eating early in the morning also tends to reduce your energy levels due to the fact that it puts your body into “relax and repair” mode. So by eating breakfast you stop fat burning and reduce your energy levels.
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Youre Eating Too Little
Counterintuitive to what I just said, eating too little might actually hurt your weight loss aspirations.
Per the MayoClinic, you only need to eat around 500-1000 fewer calories to lose 1-2 lbs of weight per week which is, by the way, the safe weight loss rate you should aim for.
Now, if you deducted more calories than that, youd certainly lose more than 1-2 lbs for the first couple of weeks but eventually, your body adjusts and goes into starvation mode where your metabolism slows down and burns less calories.
The fix? Consume just the right amount of calories without compromising your metabolism too much. Losing just 1-2 lbs per week is typically a telltale sign that thats what youre doing. If you lose more than that, eat some more.
Again, not a plug and were not making money out of this, but MyFitnessPal helps you do that for free.
Circling back to the topic of metabolism
How Long Should I Intermittent Fast
One of the most unique aspects of intermittent fasting is how customizable it is to the individual. If youre testing out a popular form of intermittent fasting and you find that it doesnt work for you, you can simply switch to a new plan. There is no one-size-fits-all method for intermittent fasting.
This applies to the length of time one should intermittent fast. There is no perfect answer to this question and much of it will depend on you and what your body needs. Knowing how long you should intermittent fast comes from trial and error chances are the first intermittent fasting method you try out wont be the perfect fit. Youll likely be testing out many different plans before you find the perfect one for you.
So how long should you intermittent fast for? Were going to be taking a look at some of the factors that go into deciding the length of time you should strive to achieve with intermittent fasting. Well take a look at how your body before fasting plays a major part in deciding your intermittent fasting plan. Your goals and definition of success will also be a contributing factor.
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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.