Should You Try Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
Its true that intermittent fasting can help you lose weight, but its not for everyone. If you have diabetes or any other health conditions, then you should consult your doctor before trying intermittent fasting. If youre healthy, then its not recommended that you try intermittent fasting, especially if youre a woman.However, were here to try intermittent fasting, so lets get started!
Ways Intermittent Fasting Helps With Weight Loss
One of the most effective weight loss strategies is intermittent fasting, a dieting method that requires you to fast for periods of time throughout the day. But before you ditch your current diet plan and jump on the intermittent fasting bandwagon, its important to understand the benefits and negatives of this eating pattern to determine if its right for you. In this post, well cover what intermittent fasting is all about, how it helps with weight loss, and how to get started!
Intermittent Fasting Makes Your Brain Work Better
If you eat a very low carbohydrate diet, your body starts producing something called ketones .
Ketones are also the alternative energy source your brain uses when you fast. And it turns out, theyre good for your brain .
Here, Dr. Mark Mattson explains the science behind the brain benefits of ketones and fasting:
Fasting is good for your brain, and will probably make you smarter.
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Who Shouldnt Try Intermittent Fasting
Not everyone should try IF. A few groups who shouldnt: women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant , those taking diabetes medication , or anyone on multiple drugs , says Kumar. Also, if you have a history of eating disorders, introducing periods where youre not allowed to eat can put you on a dangerous path to a relapse.
Know that IF has some side effects. You may be cranky hanger is real during fasting periods because low blood sugar can mess with your mood. You also still need to have a healthy diet when you do eat. One thought is that it would be difficult to make up a calorie deficit if you fasted for two days, but in our society with access to calorie-dense items, you could probably do it, says Kumar. Focus on balanced, nutrient-packed choices, like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, legumes, and whole grains . Expect that for the first couple of weeks you may deal with lower energy, bloating, and cravings until your body adjusts, says Shemek.
The Dangers Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a predetermined period where an individual purposely doesnt eat food. From a 12-hour fast to alternate day fasting, many kinds of intermittent fasting diets are becoming increasingly popular. Health professionals argue that intermittent fasting is not necessarily dangerous, but many also agree that intermittent fasting is not safe for everyone.
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Intermittent Fasting Is Not A Magic Pill
The bottom line with IF? Although the jury is still out and long-term effects are still being studied, its crucial to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet while following IF.
You cant eat junk food and excessive calories on non-fasting days and expect to lose weight, says Taylor.
How Long Should I Intermittent Fast To Lose Weight
To lose weight, it is recommended to intermittent fasting, men can fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours while women are recommended to fast for 14 hours and eat what they want for the remaining 10 hours.
You are not expected to eat any food during the fasting but can drink as many no-calorie drinks as you want and it can be done once or twice per week or every day.
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Is Intermittent Fasting Right For You
Walk into a mechanics workshop and you wont see just one device hanging on the wall. Youll spot a peg board covered in tools of all different shapes and sizes. Each has a purpose and a value, but you wouldnt necessarily use all of them at the same time.
Diet strategies are not much different: There are a lot of different tools you can use to keep your body working and look the way you want. Understanding what those tools are, and when and how you can best use them, will help you keep your eating on track.
One such dietary tool thats received a lot of attention is intermittent fasting . Read enough stories about intermittent fasting, and it starts to sound like magic, with benefits going well beyond weight loss. Proponents sayand some preliminary research agreesthat IF can help improve important health biomarkers , turn back the clock on time , and even help fight neurodegenerative diseases .
Intermittent fasting success depends a lot on your personal preferences, schedule, and how you feel when you fast.
But, as youll see, those benefits vary from person-to-personand also depend on the style of intermittent fasting you prefer to follow.
Should you try IF? Heres a guide that will help you answer those questions and help you understand the dietary tools that might be best for your body.
How Gender Impacts Your Fasting Routine
From a biological standpoint, gender can impact the success of intermittent fasting. Male and female body composition and metabolic systems are different from each other. Physical activity, hormone levels, caloric intake, and fasting impact each of us differently.
Due to these reasons, males tend to benefit from fasting more than females. Females also should not focus on long-term fasting or drastic reduction in caloric intake.
Over thousands of years, the genetic makeup of females benefits most from the constant intake of high-quality calories, which eliminates such fasting regimes as 20:4 fasting from a female routine. The optimal amount of fasting would be 14 hours per day.
For males, skipping breakfast or skipping a day of eating might be just what the doctor recommended.
In both cases, the most important thing is to avoid hangriness, a state when you become very upset while hungry. The key here is to balance out your meals and eat highly nutritious meals throughout the eating window.
Generally, try to eat high-protein and high-fiber dishes to stay satiated for longer.
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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.
The Backstory On Intermittent Fasting
IF as a weight loss approach has been around in various forms for ages, but was highly popularized in 2012 by BBC broadcast journalist Dr. Michael Mosleys TV documentary Eat Fast, Live Longer and book The Fast Diet, followed by journalist Kate Harrisons book The 5:2 Diet based on her own experience, and subsequently by Dr. Jason Fungs 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code. IF generated a steady positive buzz as anecdotes of its effectiveness proliferated.
As a lifestyle-leaning research doctor, I needed to understand the science. The Obesity Code seemed the most evidence-based summary resource, and I loved it. Fung successfully combines plenty of research, his clinical experience, and sensible nutrition advice, and also addresses the socioeconomic forces conspiring to make us fat. He is very clear that we should eat more fruits and veggies, fiber, healthy protein, and fats, and avoid sugar, refined grains, processed foods, and for Gods sake, stop snacking. Check, check, check, I agree. The only part that was still questionable in my mind was the intermittent fasting part.
Types Of Intermittent Fasting
The most common form of IF is the 16/8 fasting method, where you eat all of your calories during a predetermined 8-hour window and eat nothing for the remaining 16 hours of the day. Alternate day fasting is another type of fasting method, where you eat at normal times one day and then either eat no calories the next day, or no more than 25 percent of your typical calorie intake for a day .
An actual 100 percent fast every other day is uncommon, and could cause some loss in muscle mass over time. The 16/8 fast seems to fit our normal work schedules pretty nicely, and has all of the benefits of fasting without getting to the point of muscle loss. People who have done IF before may see benefits from longer fasts as their bodies adjust to the routine. In the end, pick a window that works with your schedule and lifestyle.
Fasting May Improve Blood Sugar Control
Some studies have found that intermittent fasting can improve blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes.
A study in 10 people with type 2 diabetes found that a fasting goal of 1820 hours a day lead to a considerable decrease in body weight and significantly improved fasting and post-meal blood sugar control .
However, another recent study showed that intermittent fasting increased the chances of hypoglycemia , even when taking lower doses of blood-sugar-reducing medications .
Though lowering blood sugar levels in a safe way is beneficial, hypoglycemia can be dangerous and lead to serious complications .
For this reason, people with diabetes who are interested in trying out intermittent fasting should consult with their doctor first.
Methods of intermittent fasting like the Warrior Diet may help reduce weight, improve brain health, lower blood sugar and reduce inflammation.
Despite potential health benefits of the Warrior Diet, there are some downfalls to this way of eating.
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History Of Diabetes And Intermittent Fasting
Fasting has been around for some time, particularly if you consider the historical role of fasting as part of many types of spiritual rituals. More recently, intermittent fasting has been used as part of a healthy diet for weight loss, as part of “detoxifying” the body, and more. But there has been much controversy surrounding the topic of fasting for those with diabetes.
Today, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that specific types of intermittent fasting diets may be beneficial for people with diabetes. In addition, scientists are beginning to speculate that when a person fasts may be just as important as the diet itself.
What Are The Common Methods For Intermittent Fasting
There are a wide variety of intermittent fasting methods or protocols as they are called.
The main difference between them lie in:
- Length of fast prescribed by the method/protocol
- The frequency of fasts per week
Some intermittent fasting protocols require 16 hours of fasting per day, others advocate for 24 hours.
Some intermittent fasting methods require fasting everyday, and other only 2-3 times per week.
The most commonly used intermittent fasting intervals are:
- Fasting 5/2: Consists of consuming 2 days a week 25% of the usual caloric requirements the rest of the days you eat normally.
- Fasting 16/8: Fast for 16 hours and eat for the remaining 8 hours.
- Fasting 24/0: It consists of fasts of 24 hours 1 or 2 times a week.
- Fasting 4/20: It involves fasting for 20 hours and eating for the remaining 4 hours.
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Fasting May Improve Brain Health
The Warrior Diet is promoted as a way to improve brain health.
There may be some truth to that based on scientific studies on intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting has been found to benefit the regulation of inflammatory pathways that affect your brain function.
For example, animal studies have shown that intermittent fasting reduced inflammatory markers like interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha , which may negatively impact memory and learning (
However, research in this area is ongoing and more human studies are needed to determine the benefits of intermittent fasting on brain health.
Why Dont Most People Fast Anymore
Probably 4 main reasons:
First, it got a lot easier to find food . Not to mention theres a fast food restaurant or convenience store on every corner.
Second, the food industry did a lot of marketing, and convinced us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and other things that arent based on science.
Third, sugary processed foods taste really good, and theyre addictive.
Fourth, the government has also gotten involved , with dietary guidelines that are also not based on science.
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Intermittent Fasting Burns Off Your Body Fat
Over 70% of Americans are now overweight, and almost 40% are obese! So this seems relevant.
How does fasting help you burn fat ?
Its really quite simple:
When you eat, your body uses the food for energy, and stores some of it as body fat to use later.
When you dont eat, your body uses the stored energy, including body fat.
If you never stop eating, you can never use your body fat for energy. Time-restricted eating gives your body more time to burn fat each day, which means you can burn more of it, and lose more weight.
What Is Intermittent Fasting And How Does It Help With Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of fasting and eating. There are many different ways to do intermittent fasting, but the most common are the 16/8 method, which involves fasting for 16 hours every day and eating only within the other 8 hours.Many people find it works well to incorporate it into their lifestyle if they experience certain medical conditions that make it difficult to follow a traditional schedule. Intermittent fasting can be especially beneficial for Type 2 diabetes patients who or find their blood sugar levels spike frequently when they dont eat. Intermittent fasting is also beneficial for those who follow a Paleo or vegan diet. For more information about intermittent fasting, check out our guide to the best way to eat during the intermittent fasting days.
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It Could Lead To Negative Side Effects
The Warrior Diet may lead to side effects, some of which could be severe.
Potential side effects include (
- Hormonal imbalance
- Weight gain
In addition, many health professionals argue that dieters will not get enough nutrients when following an intermittent fasting plan like the Warrior Diet.
However, as long as healthy, nutrient-dense foods are chosen and calorie needs are met, nutrient needs can be covered by carefully planning your food choices when following the Warrior Diet.
The Warrior Diet is inappropriate for many people, can be hard to stick to and may lead to negative side effects such as fatigue, insomnia and hormonal imbalance.
Hofmekler suggests that anyone starting the Warrior Diet should follow an initial three-week, three-phase plan to improve the bodys ability to utilize fat for energy.
Who Should Not Try Intermittent Fasting
If you are considering intermittent fasting, make sure to discuss it with your doctor. Skipping meals and severely limiting calories can be dangerous for people with certain conditions, such as diabetes. People who take medications for blood pressure or heart disease also may be more prone to electrolyte abnormalities from fasting. Also, says Dr. Hu, we live in a toxic, obesogenic food environment. So you’ll need a strong social support network to endure very low-calorie days over the long haul.
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Is Weights Or Cardio Better
While cardio is fantastic for losing weight, weight training can help you build muscle. For overall health, both methods are great in keeping fit and healthy. The simple answer is: It all comes down to your fitness goals and what youre looking to achieve.
How Long Do You Have To Fast To Get These Benefits
All the benefits Ive listed above start on day one. But it may take you a while to really notice the difference.
For example, even though youll burn more fat from the beginning, it may take a few days before you actually notice a difference in your weight or appearance.
And even though your blood sugar will start going down right away, if youve had diabetes for years it may take more than just a few days to get things under control.
And dont forget, everyone is different. Depending on your current state of health, you may see the benefits of fasting more quickly, or more slowly.
So be patient, and pay attention to your body. The benefits will come in time.
Eat Dessert Before 3 Pm
Your body is most efficient at processing carbohydrates in the morning and early afternoon, Sears says. That means its better to eat foods that may cause glucose spikes earlier in the day.
But try to avoid having sugary foods on an empty stomach. Instead, eat them as part of a meal with protein and fat, which will blunt the treats impact on blood sugar. So if you have, say, a banana muffin at breakfast, eat it with a boiled egg.