Does Fasting Benefit People Who Don’t Need To Lose Weight Or Who Have Reached Their Goal Weight
Yes, Varady said, citing one of her studies that found fasting helps maintain a healthy body weight lowers triglycerides, which is important for heart health helps decrease blood pressure and improves blood sugar regulation.
A review of research in humans and animals, published in 2019 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found intermittent fasting has “broad-spectrum benefits” for health problems including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and neurologic disorders.
The powerful health effects appear to come from the body flipping a “metabolic switch” during fasting or shifting away from using sugar as its main source of energy and instead converting fat for fuel when a person’s stomach is empty.
How Long Does It Take To Start Losing Weight When You’re Doing Intermittent Fasting
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to how long it may take for the weight to start coming off. “Rate of weight loss will vary greatly from person to person depending on several factors, including: starting weight, the intermittent fasting approach used, the types of food consumed during the eating windows, and more,” says Martin.
If you end up reducing your overall caloric intake right away and you consistently eat fewer calories than you expend, then you should start losing weight immediately. “However, you likely wont notice any weight loss results for at least a couple of weeks,” notes Martin, adding that some weight loss in the beginning will “likely be water weight.”
Intermittent Fasting Success Stories
Depending on the calorie amount you consume while intermittent fasting, you could experience an approximate one- to two- pound weight loss per week, which would mean it could take upwards of eight to 10 weeks to notice significant weight loss, says Kristen Smith, MS, RD, spokesperson for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
If youre losing more than that? It could be a red flag. If you notice yourself losing a noticeable amount of weight during the first few weeks of following an intermittent fasting plan, you should likely re-evaluate your calorie intake to ensure you are consuming adequate nutrition to meet your bodys needs, says Smith.
Figure Out Calorie Needs
There are no inherent dietary restrictions when intermittent fasting, but this does not mean that calories do not count.
People who are working with a doctor or dietitian to manage their weight need to create a calorie deficit, which means consuming fewer calories than they use. People who are looking to gain weight need to consume more calories than they use.
Many tools are available to help a person work out their calorie needs and determine how many calories they should consume each day to gain, lose, or maintain weight.
A person could also consult a healthcare professional or dietitian for guidance on how many calories they need. A professional can help a person determine the best foods for them and find an overall healthy way to lose weight.
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Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting: Weight Loss
Findings to date reveal that ADF and the 5:2 diet produce similar degrees of weight loss over short intervention periods in men and women with obesity. Longer-term studies have found that ADF and the 5:2 diet do not result in greater body weight reductions than found in short-term studies, suggesting that the weight loss efficacy of these diets might peak at 12 weeks.Varady et al., 2022
In the only long-term study of time-restricted eating conducted to date, those who ate reduced calories within an 8-hour window dropped 9% of their body weight after 12 months, while those who cut calories without the time restriction lost 7.2%. These changes in weight were not significantly different. Most other studies of time-restricted eating show 3-4% weight loss within 8-12 weeks.
One major advantage of limiting your eating window to 6-8 hours a day is that you dont have to keep count of your calories, which makes it more sustainable and effective at achieving and maintaining weight loss compared to caloric restriction.
Whether you want to lose 5 pounds or 100 pounds with intermittent fasting, youll want to tune into what you eat and when you eat. Learn to recognize actual hunger from external triggers that make you eat, eat a balanced diet with plenty of plant fats and fiber and stick to your fast-day calorie goals.
The Utter Simplicity Of Intermittent Fasting
Most of us eat throughout the day, starting with breakfast when we wake up and perhaps ending with a dessert or snack after dinner. If you have breakfast at 7 a.m. and a final snack at 8 p.m., you’re consuming food for 13 hours that’s your current “eating window.” The idea behind IF is simply to shorten that window — not necessarily to eat less , but to eat less often.
For example, most experts agree that you can start to experience IF benefits with an eight-hour eating window, meaning a 16-hour fast. So you could have lunch at noon and still finish your snack by 8 p.m. That’s it. If you can stick to that, it may be enough to produce results.
But, wait: Isn’t that just skipping breakfast? And haven’t we heard for years that skipping breakfast actually leads to weight gain? Yes and yes. However, IF requires a “clean” fast to be effective , and once you get accustomed to it, your appetite should correct so that you no longer overeat once your window opens.
Here’s what I love about this: It costs nothing. It requires nothing. You don’t have to buy books or gear or supplements or meals. You just adapt yourself to a slightly different way of eating and that’s it. The simplicity — and affordability — of IF is what drew me to it.
Read more:How to do intermittent fasting safely
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Make The Calories Count
Not all calories are the same. Although these fasting methods do not set restrictions on how many calories a person should consume when fasting, it is essential to consider the nutritional value of the food.
In general, a person should aim to consume nutrient-dense food, or food with a high number of nutrients per calorie. Though a person may not have to abandon junk food entirely, they should still practice moderation and focus on more healthful options to gain the most benefits.
Fasting has several effects on a persons body. These effects include:
- Reducing levels of insulin, which makes it easier for the body to use stored fat.
- Lowering blood sugars, blood pressure, and inflammation levels.
- Changing the expression of certain genes, which helps the body protect itself from disease as well as promoting longevity.
- Dramatically increases human growth hormone, or HGH, which helps the body utilize body fat and grow muscle.
- The body activates a healing process doctors call autophagy, which essentially means that the body digests or recycles old or damaged cell components.
Fasting dates back to ancient humans who often went hours or days between meals as obtaining food was difficult. The human body adapted to this style of eating, allowing extended periods to pass between food intake times.
Research also shows fasting to be beneficial for the management of metabolic syndrome and diabetes,
Tips For Weight Loss With Intermittent Fasting
Weight loss is one of the main benefits of intermittent fasting, but how do you get there? We cover a few tops here:
1. Increase your fiber intake for gut health and satiety between meals.
2. Increase your lean protein intake to improve satiety and muscle mass. One exploratory study found that individuals who successfully lost weight during a randomized controlled trial of 12 months of alternate day fasting report greater protein intake, increased fullness and decreased hunger than individuals who didnt lose weight.
3. Avoid mindless eating and snacking. Distracted eating alters taste perception and might lead to overeating
4. Eat early in the day. Intermittent fasting has the most benefits when you eat early. A recent study found that snacking or eating dinner late at night prevents you from burning fat as you sleep. Our internal clock regulates when our bodies switch from primarily using carbs to primarily using fat to create energy, but this cycle goes out of whack when we reach for that midnight snack. According to this study, If you eat late, when you go to bed you will be preferentially burning carbs, delaying the time in which your body flips into fat- burning mode.
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It May Be Dangerous If You’re Taking Certain Medications
If you want to give intermittent fasting a try, make sure to discuss it with your doctor first, says Dr. Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Skipping meals and severely limiting calories can be dangerous for people with certain conditions, such as diabetes. Some people who take medications for blood pressure or heart disease also may be more prone to imbalances of sodium, potassium, and other minerals during longer-than-normal periods of fasting.
Dr. Suzanne Salamon, associate chief of gerontology at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, expresses another concern: “People who need to take their medications with food to avoid nausea or stomach irritation may not do well with fasting.”
How Long Should You Fast
The concept calls for going extended periods of time without eating, and people generally follow three common fasting schedules:
- Alternate-day fasting entails switching from a fast day to a feast day. On fast days, you typically consume about 25 percent of your daily calorie needs. For example, you might eat one 700-calorie meal on Monday and resume your normal diet on Tuesday. Or you can break up those calories over the course of the day say, by eating a 350-calorie lunch and a 350-calorie dinner.
- Whole-day fasting is also known as the 5:2 fasting schedule, which means you eat roughly 500-calories two days a week. The other five days have no food restrictions.
- Time-restricted fasting typically follows the 16:8 format, meaning you only eat for 8 hours throughout the day and fast for 16. For example, noon to 8 p.m. is a good guide as many people only eat lunch and dinner.
People typically lose twice as much weight when they do alternate fasting compared to time-restricted fasting, says Varady. The catch, though, is that people usually cant do it for more than 6 months. Eating 500 calories every other day is pretty tricky it messes up their social eating schedules and is hard to stick to, she says. But people find it easier to incorporate time-restricted eating into their lifestyle.
Not sure which one to try?
“If you like it then see how you do extending it to a 24-hour fast,” says Sowa
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Youre Not Fasting Long Enough
If you decide on a time-restricted feeding approach and you only shorten your eating window by an hour or so a day, you likely wont see much, if any, weight loss, says Martin. You’re just not changing enough from your normal eating routine, tbh.
How to fix it: Most women find success with about a 10-hour eating window, meaning a 14-hour fast,” says Martin. “You can always start with a longer eating window and work your way down if your usual eating window is much longer than this, she suggests.
Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is becoming a popular term to describe a range of different eating schedules and approaches to off-and-on calorie restriction. But what is it, really? Intermittent fasting or IF often involves a daily or weekly cycle of fasting and feeding. Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term that refers to at least three different approaches to restricting calories intermittently. These popularly include alternate day fasting, which in research studies typically involves eating fewer than 500 calories every other day, the 5:2 diet, which involves two fast days of fewer than 500 calories per day, and time-restricted feeding, which involves only eating within a 6 to 12-hour window each day while fasting the other 12 to 18 hours or more.
One of the reasons for the sudden rise in popularity of intermittent fasting is its simplicity. Previous popular diets have generally required individuals to vigilantly monitor energy intake or meticulously count carbohydrates. Intermittent fasting can often be a refreshing alternative for many individuals, in that it does not require people to track calories every day, nor does it forbid individuals from eating certain food groups. Moreover, some intermittent fasting regimens permit individuals to eat freely during certain periods of the day, which is another attractive feature of this diet. Simply stated, as long as they can accurately determine the date and time of day, most people can do intermittent fasting.Varady et al., 2022
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What Is The Best Intermittent Fasting Plan For Weight Loss
Dr Sam Watts, founder of Mind Body Medical , tells Live Science that there are two clear leaders when it comes to intermittent fasting styles. Lots of clinical evidence exists around the potential weight loss benefits of different intermittent fasting plans, he says. For quicker and more profound weight loss, the alternate day fasting plan is arguably the most effective. A less-extreme and thus easier-to-adopt approach is the 16:8 model. This is a time-restricted eating version of intermittent fasting that involves consuming all of your calories in an eight-hour window and fasting for the remaining 16 hours.
This approach has consistently been shown to induce significant and progressive weight loss in an arguably more sustainable model.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight
Shorter eating windows is what make intermittent fasting an effective weight loss aid. Since youre eating in a smaller window of time, this can help you reduce your calorie intake if you dont overcompensate by eating more than needed. Eating fewer calories is what could ultimately help you lose weight over time.
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One Downside Of If: Loss Of Lean Muscle Mass
While weight loss for cardiometabolic health is a sensible goal, weight loss from any intervention often entails a concurrent loss of lean muscle mass. This has been a notable finding what I might even call an adverse side effect of intermittent fasting protocols. Given the importance of lean muscle mass for revving your metabolic rate, regulating your blood sugar, and keeping you physically able overall, pairing resistance training with an intermittent fasting protocol is strongly advised.
Finally, the weight loss achieved through time-restricted eating is likely different than the cellular adaptations that happen with more prolonged fully fasted states. At this time, it is hard to determine the degree to which the cardiometabolic benefits of fasting derive from weight loss or from underlying cellular adaptations it is likely an interrelated combination of both.
Nevertheless, it seems clear that in a 24/7 world of around-the-clock eating opportunities, all of us could benefit from aligning with our circadian biology, and spend a bit less time in a fed state and more time in a fasted state each day.
About the Author
Richard Joseph, MD, Contributor
What Does The New Research On If Mean For You
For most people , a time-restricted eating approach appears to be a safe strategy that is likely to produce some weight loss, assuming you are not changing your current dietary pattern .
The weight loss effects of time-restricted eating derive primarily from achieving a negative energy balance. If you maintain your regular diet and then limit the time window during which you eat, it is likely that you will eat a few hundred fewer calories per day. If this is sustainable as a lifestyle, it could add up to modest weight loss that can produce beneficial improvements in cardiometabolic markers such as blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and average blood sugar.
But and this is a big but if you are overcompensating for the time restriction by gorging yourself during your eating window, it will not work as a weight loss strategy. And it may indeed backfire. The other two levers in your dietary pattern the quantity and quality of what you eat during your eating window still matter immensely!
Intermittent Fasting May Make You Feel Sick
Depending on the length of the fasting period, people may experience headaches, lethargy, crankiness, and constipation. To decrease some of these unwanted side effects, you may want to switch from adf fasting to periodic fasting or a time restricted eating plan that allows you to eat everyday within a certain time period.
Is Intermittent Fasting Or Restricting Calories Better For Weight Loss New Study Offers Answer
When it comes to weight loss, the timing of food consumption is far less important than the amount of food consumed, the authors of a new study suggest.
After analyzing data on the eating habits of nearly 550 adults from three health systems in Maryland and Pennsylvania, the researchers concluded that timing of food consumption has little impact on weight gain or loss, while the main driver of weight gain is the amount of food people eat, according to the report published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
We were most interested in weight gain prevention, study co-author Dr. Wendy Bennett, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, tells TODAY.com. Over time, people tend to gain about one pound per year. So our question was: If you change your eating patterns a little bit, can you prevent weight gain creep?
Bennett notes that none of the people in the study said they were dieting or were participating in a time restricted eating pattern commonly known as intermittent fasting. These arent people who were told when they should eat, she said. These are free-living patients from three health systems.
Overall, most of the volunteers in the study were white, with 12% identifying as Black and 3% identifying as Asian. The average age of the participants was 51, and most had a college education or higher. The average body mass index was 30.8, which is considered obese.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com
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