Intermittent Fasting Versus Other Calorie
This article was originally posted in the Montreal Gazette.
There are some very good science-driven ways to lose weight. People who need to lose weight for medical reasons can turn to both bariatric surgery and medications to help achieve that weight loss. Obviously, a healthy diet and lifestyle factors are an important aspect of any weight-loss strategy, which is why so much ink has been spilled on the concept of dieting. However, despite the many dietary fads that have come and gone over the years, there is no convincing evidence that any one outperforms the other.
The reality is that all diets are more or less equally effective and differences between various diets are minimal. Some may be more appealing to certain groups of people, but on average they tend to perform equally well in large populations.
In recent years, time-restricted-eating, also known as intermittent fasting, has become de rigueur. The central idea behind this concept is that when you eat is more important than what you eat. The theory centres around the somewhat vague idea that eating at certain times is less likely to promote the rise in insulin and other hormones that contribute to weight gain.
But such theories mean little without demonstrable proof that any such diet leads to weight loss. It must be shown that the diet du jour not only helps people lose weight, but also outperforms standard diets in some measurable way.
Intermittent Fasting May Not Offer Dramatic Benefits Heres Why
What defines success depends on who you ask.
Intermittent fasting encompasses a few approaches to food: eating during only certain hours of the day, refraining completely on certain days, or drastically reducing calories on a few days of the week. And yet, scientists and practitioners alike insist its not a diet. Its an eating pattern.
The appeal of intermittent fasting to a general audience is arguably just that: its non-dietness. If you limit your eating to certain hours of the day, the reasoning goes, theres no need to restrict calories.
It makes sense then that intermittent fasting is often pitted against calorie restriction specifically reducing calories consumed per day in scientific studies. The question is: Does it actually help people achieve their health goals, would they be better off trying calorie restriction, or should they choose something else entirely?
You May Like: Intermittent Fasting For Middle Aged Woman
Counting Calories Beats Fasting Diets For Weight Loss
WEDNESDAY, June 16, 2021 — Intermittent fasting diets are all the rage, but new clinical trial results indicate they don’t work any better than simple calorie cutting.
People who simply cut their daily calories by 25% lost the most weight and fat tissue in three weeks of dieting, compared with two groups following different intermittent fasting regimens, an international team of researchers reported.
There also was no difference between the groups when it came to heart health, metabolism or gene expression related to fat cells, researchers found — in other words, no hidden benefits to fasting.
“Standard dieting may be more effective than intermittent fasting for reducing body fat,” said senior researcher James Betts, a professor of metabolic physiology with the University of Bath’s Center for Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism in England.
Fasting diets require that people refrain from eating, either on specific days of the week or during certain windows of time during the day.
This clinical trial tested the merits of an alternate-day intermittent fasting schedule, in which people would fast for one day and then on the next consume as much as twice their usual daily calories.
The study was published June 16 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The fasters also didn’t have any benefits when it came to their levels of cholesterol, blood sugar or insulin, results showed.
Two U.S. nutrition experts not involved with the study agreed with the findings.
Recommended Reading: What Can Be Eaten During Intermittent Fasting
What Does Calorie Restriction Do
Calorie restriction is the act of reducing your intake of daily calories below what your average might be, while still getting the nutrition your body needs. Many studies have suggested that calorie restriction imparts health benefits: For example, in a long-term study called CALERIE, scientists found that in normal and slightly overweight adults, a 25 percent calorie restriction led to reduced fat mass and better overall markers for heart and metabolic health. These include LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and others.
Many people are told by physicians to restrict calories for weight loss and these potentially connected health benefits. Of course, calorie restriction for weight loss linked to appearance and, some might argue, a narrowly defined standard of aesthetics is also common. Almost every calorie-restricting fad diet from Weight Watchers to juice cleanses promises to transform waistlines, not blood glucose levels.
Getting More Than Half Of Your Calories From Fat With Moderate Protein And Few Carbs
If you were to come to me when you first decided to do intermittent fasting, thats exactly what I would have recommended you do.
Which practically is Healthy Keto & Intermittent Fasting.
50% fat is not enough to achieve ketosis, but it can be a start.
When youre doing that, youll start to feel satiated most of the time, which is gonna make it a lot easier to cut down on calories, which is recommended if you want to lose weight.
If, on the other hand, youre doing it for muscle gain, in addition to consuming more calories, you should also aim to consume more protein.
Read Also: When Is The Best Time For Intermittent Fasting
Diet: A Sample Shopping List
What to choose and how to eat is personal and varies from person to person. The shopping list may include:
- Legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils
Consumers can boil, grill, or roast these dishes instead of frying to avoid adding excessive oil and fats.
Water is essential since it can help extend the time between meals by keeping hunger at bay on fast days. Another option is herbal tea, an excellent way to enhance water intake.
Read Also: Whats The Best Fasting To Lose Weight
Should You Be In A Calorie Deficit While Intermittent Fasting
There are no dietary restrictions when fasting, but this does not mean calories do not count. People who are looking to lose weight need to create a calorie deficit for themselves this means that they consume less energy than they use. People who are looking to gain weight need to consume more calories than they use.
Don’t Miss: Does Fasting Help Blood Sugar Levels
How To Get Started With Intermittent Fasting
There are several types of intermittent fasting you can follow:
- The 16/8 or Leangains Method: Fast for 16 hours per day and eat in the remaining 8-hour window. Most people will skip breakfast and eat from 1pm to 9pm for example.
- The 5:2 Diet: Eat normally for 5 days of the week, but only eat up to 600 calories on the other two days.
- Eat-Stop-Eat or Spontaneous Fasting: Fast for a 12 or 24 hour period multiple times per week. There is no real schedule for this one.
- Alternate Day Fasting: Fast for one day and eat normally the next day. Continue to alternate days of fasting and normal eating.
You can view a more detailed description of each type here.
Does Intermittent Fasting Really Help With Weight Loss
Starting a weight loss journey is tough. Because it really is that. Its a journey of trial and error, mistakes, backward steps, and navigation through a complicated network of information and guidance. Its rarely ever a straight road that gets you exactly where you want to be on the first go. It is frustrating when you try a tactic that doesnt work and ends up delaying your progress.
Intermittent fasting is a relatively recent approach to weight loss. It describes different eating methods such as the 5:2 diet or the 8-hour eating window. Either way, by prolonging the time you go without eating, fasting is used to encourage weight loss in adults.
Like everything, it helps to understand the science behind this before deciding if its something you want to do. This way, you can focus your efforts on approaches that are actually going to work for you and your weight loss.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is described as regular, scheduled periods of consuming little or no food. Its an umbrella term for several approaches.
The 5:2 diet is a common form of intermittent fasting. It involves eating normal amounts 5 days a week, then restricting down to just a few hundred 2 days of the week. These 2 days are considered fast days and can be planned for when they will have minimal disruption to your week.
How does the body lose weight?
Those are the first two ways your body burns energy. Now, we get to the two areas you can actually control.
Recommended Reading: What Can You Eat With Intermittent Fasting
Should You Try Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
There are many effective ways to lose weight, and intermittent fasting is one but its one of many.
Some people find missing just one meal extremely challenging, so its definitely not for everyone.
Also know that some women report issues with menstruation and even fertility problems from long-term fasting. I recommend joining if you want to join the discussion.
And as always you should consult with your doctor before trying any new diet, especially if you take medication.
However, if you are someone who:
- wants to lose belly fat
- is able to skip meals or at least breakfast without complaint
- wants to spend less on food
- wouldnt mind going to the toilet fewer times in a week
- wants to do a lot less cooking and cleaning
intermittent fasting could be game-changing for you.
About Joe Leech, Dietitian
Joe Leech is a university-qualified dietitian from Australia.
He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science, followed by a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2011.
Learn more about him on the About page.
Joe Leech, Dietitian
Myth #: Intermittent Fasting Is Better Than Snacking Throughout The Day
For a while, almost everyone recommended that you eat small meals throughout the day. Self-styled gurus everywhere claimed that it helped keep your blood sugar and hunger under control, boosted your metabolic rate, and provided more energy for your workouts.
Well, we now know that these ideas are false and the guru pendulum has swung in the other direction: many are now saying that eating many small meals throughout the day is actually bad for you, or at least not as good as eating fewer, larger meals.
There is some evidence that eating more than 3-4 meals per day doesnt keep you as satisfied as limiting intake to a few meals per day. However, if that applies to you, you dont need to be intermittent fasting to eat fewer, larger meals.
On the other hand, you can find studies wherein participants were less satiated on 3 meals per day, and found that increasing meal frequency increased feelings of fullness and made it easier to stick to their diets. And again, you can do this with or without following the intermittent fasting protocol.
You may have also heard that eating small meals will make it harder to lose fat because youre keeping insulin levels higher throughout the day. Well, as you learned a moment ago, however, insulin levels average out over the course of the day, and worrying about small fluctuations is pointless. When you eat a large meal, your insulin levels will stay higher for longer, resulting in almost the same effect as snacking.
Also Check: How Much Can I Eat During Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting May Preserve Muscle Mass That Is Usually Lost When Dieting
Most weight loss diets cause you to lose fat and muscle, which is a big problem.
Maintaining muscle is fundamental to ensure your metabolic rate doesnt drop and just to support a healthy weight loss .
Failing to do so means any fat loss will come back fast, such as what happens with every Biggest Loser contestant.
According to the authors of the review study mentioned above, fasting may be more useful than regular calorie restriction for many overweight patients because of greater loss of body fat, and better preservation of muscle .
Another study found that 25% of weight lost was muscle mass in normal calorie restriction diets, compared to just 10% lost in intermittent calorie restriction diets .
The current studies in this area are preliminary though, and the fact remains that weight training and a high protein diet are the most important aspects for building and maintaining muscle mass .
So if you do try intermittent fasting, ensure each of your meals contain a quality protein source like eggs, meat, fish or legumes.
Summary: Research suggests that intermittent fasting can help preserve muscle mass while you lose fat. This must be coupled with resistance exercise and a high protein intake though.
Calorie Deficit Vs Intermittent Fasting
De Cabo R, Mattson MP. Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease. The New England Journal of Medicine. December 26, 2019. Intermittent Fasting: The Positive News Continues.
The simple 1200 calorie diet plan is a diet plan geared toward predictable weight loss goals. On the 1200 calorie diet plan, weight loss of 1 pound per week is easily attainable, depending on your current weight and the amount of weight you want to lose. This plan is not intended for everyone, however.
Intermittent fasting regimens have gained considerable popularity in recent years, as some people find these diets easier to follow than traditional calorie restriction approaches. IF involves restricting energy intake on 1-3 d/wk, and eating freely on the nonrestriction days.
How Many Calories To Stay Under For Intermittent Fasting Jun 03, 2022 · Alcohol can aggravate diabetes complications, such as nerve damage and eye disease. But if your diabetes is under control and your doctor agrees, an occasional alcoholic drink is fine. Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as no more than one drink a day for women of any age and men over 65How Many Calories Intermittent Fasting 1410 Its main rule is that you can eat anything you want for 10 hours a day, and then fast for the next 14 hours. Studies have shown that such an approach is quite. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in his tweet a few months ago that he has been doing period fasting and lost 9
May 4, 2022.
Recommended Reading: Sugar Substitute For Intermittent Fasting
Whats Next In Research
Most calorie-restriction and fasting-diet studies have been in younger people, but researchers are beginning to study older adults. A clinical trial conducted by NIA is testing the 5:2 diet in obese people, age 55 to 70, with insulin resistance. People in the experimental group can eat at will for 5 days, and then for 2 consecutive days are restricted to 500 to 600 calories per day. The experiment is designed to find out how 8 weeks of the 5:2 diet, compared to a regular diet, affects insulin resistance and the brain chemicals that play a role in Alzheimers disease.
In the coming years, researchers will continue to explore many unresolved questions. What are the long-term benefits and risks of the various eating patterns? Which diets are feasible as a long-term practice? What specific biological effects on aging and disease are triggered by a particular eating pattern? If a specific way of eating is recommended, at what age is it best to start, and is it safe to continue as you get older?
Scientists are exploring many aspects of calorie restriction and fasting and their effects on people of all ages. Some are conducting clinical studies and trials to learn more. If you are interested in volunteering for this type of research, search ClinicalTrials.gov using keywords such as intermittent fasting,time-restricted feeding, or calorie restriction.
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 C-reactive protein , an important marker of inflammation.
- Decreased levels of leptin by up to 40%.
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Lose Weight On Intermittent Fasting
Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight
Between 2015 and 2018, researchers in the UK found 36 slim, healthy people to take part in the study. For four weeks, they kept track of what they ate and how much they moved around. The participants were then put into one of three groups of 12 people.
The first group, the energy restriction group, only used 75% of the energy they usually use in a day.
The second group lost weight by fasting and cutting back on calories. On some days, they didnt eat anything, and on other days, they ate 150% of their normal calorie intake.
The third group did not have any energy limits put on it. On some days, they didnt eat anything, and on other days, they ate 200 percent more calories than they normally would.
During their fasting periods, the people in the fasting groups didnt eat any foods that give them energy. This made sure that their diet changes were consistent and that their bodies systems related to fasting were turned on.
A bunch of lab tests were done on the people before and after the 3-week intervention. The researchers also kept track of what the participants ate and how much exercise they did. They also took samples of fat tissue from some of them.
At the end of the study, people on low-calorie diets had lost an average of 1.91 kg . People who fasted and limited their calories lost an average of 1.60 kg, while those who didnt limit their calories only lost 0.52 kg.
You May Like: What To Have During Fasting