What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Heres what the science says about the ways IF might help you get healthier.
One study with 150 participants for 50 weeks showed IF to be as effective as a diet that restricts calories other small studies have shown that IF will help you lose weight in the short-term. A review of 27 trials found that weight loss from .8 percent to 13 percent of baseline body weight occurred with IF, though the researchers pointed out that larger studies of longer duration are needed. In 16 of the studies that measured BMI, the participants BMI decreased by 4.3 percent, says Kelly. Reducing the daily eating window may also decrease caloric intake for the whole day, resulting in weight loss without restrictive calorie counting.
Chronic inflammation is associated with a long list of health conditions, including dementia, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, says Cohen. While mice studies have demonstrated that short periods of fasting show a reduction in inflammatory markers, a small human study showed IF reduced the levels of pro-inflammatory factors such as homocysteine and C reactive protein, which contribute to the development of plaque in the arteries. Another small eight-week study in overweight patients showed an improvement of asthma symptoms including better pulmonary function.
Avoid Intermittent Fasting If You Are At Risk For An Eating Disorder
Intermittent fasting has a high association with bulimia nervosa, and as a result, individuals who are susceptible to an eating disorder should not undergo any diet associated with fasting. Risk factors for an eating disorder include having a family member with an eating disorder, perfectionism, impulsivity and mood instability.
Intermittent Fasting And Athletic Performance
A frequent topic of research on intermittent fasting is how it might improve athletic performance. Some studies from 2021 do show it has promise, while others suggest the effects were minimal among fit people who want to become even more fit.
One small study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in May, found intermittent fasting may help fitness buffs reap gains from high-intensity interval training â or HIIT. This is a workout regimen based around intense aerobic activity interspersed with slower periods for recovery.
The study involved 14 women, split into a fasting and a control group. All the participants âhad to follow their usual dietary intake based on a Mediterranean diet,â the study authors write, and all followed a regular HIIT routine. The women who fasted did so for 14 hours of each day.
After three weeks, the fasting group lost more weight and did particularly well in one athletic measurement, the countermovement jump, in which one squats and then jumps up. The height of the jump is a measure of lower-body strength.
The study states:
âThe main finding of the study was that a HIIT + training program lead to a significant decrease in fat mass and an increase in jumping performance. However, when the HIIT training program was not combined with , it did not induce a decrease in fat mass or improvements in jump height.â
But note: the sample size was very small and the study didnât last long.
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Can Lead To Eating Disorders And Disordered Eating Tendencies
“Only eating between certain time windows may limit many opportunities for eating, and therefore lead to the underconsumption of food and calories. Some people may develop eating disorders or disordered eating tendencies due to the stress and hyperfocus on food and calories,” says Schlichter. “Furthermore, having someone eat more just because it’s ‘time to eat’ can lead to overeating and bingeing within the designated eating window, and ignoring all bodily cues of fullness. They may begin to view food as less important and more restructured, and may consciously or unconsciously undereat for their body’s needs, leading to physical, emotional, and hormonal side effects, such as the loss of menstruation, hair loss, and dysregulated blood sugars.”
Can Reduce Oxidative Stress And Inflammation In The Body
Oxidative stress is one of the steps toward aging and many chronic diseases .
It involves unstable molecules called free radicals. Free radicals react with other important molecules, such as protein and DNA, and damage them .
Several studies show that intermittent fasting may enhance the bodys resistance to oxidative stress 30319-3″ rel=”nofollow”> 18 ).
Additionally, studies show that intermittent fasting can help fight inflammation, another key driver of many common diseases .
Studies show that intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. This should have benefits against aging and development of numerous diseases.
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Health & Wellnesshow One Woman Fell Into Intermittent Fasting And Lost Weight During Quarantine
Previous studies have shown alternate day fasting works because people don’t binge on their feast days in real life and eat only about 10% more than usual, so they can’t make up for the lack of calories from their fasting days and lose weight, Varady noted.
Most people wouldnt eat 50% more than usual if left to their own devices, Betts agreed, noting the study participants still lost weight even when prescribed to consume those extra calories.
Reap The Rewards Of Intermittent Fasting And Avoid The Downsides
CR fills you in on the best times to eat for weight loss and health
It has long been known that what and how much you eat can influence your weight and risk of chronic illness. Now researchers are focusing on the effects of when you eat.
Studies suggest that intermittent fastingtypically, eating only during an 8-hour period or eating only every other daycould have many potential benefits, including improvements in glucose and cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and weight. Done in a healthful way, intermittent fasting holds promise for controlling inflammation and lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers.
The benefits are thought to result from a process called metabolic switching, which is when the body goes into a fasting state and begins using body fat instead of glucose to meet its energy needs. Intermittent fasting helps preserve the bodys normal interplay between the hormone insulin and blood glucose, preventing insulin resistance . Metabolic switching also signals the body to activate maintenance and repair systems, which aid in disease prevention.
But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone. Going for long periods without food may be too extreme for some older adults, people with diabetes, and those who must take certain medications at designated hours, among others, says Dorothy Sears, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Arizona State University College of Health Solutions in Phoenix.
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Can Help You Lose Weight And Visceral Fat
Many of those who try intermittent fasting are doing it to lose weight .
Generally speaking, intermittent fasting will make you eat fewer meals.
Unless you compensate by eating much more during the other meals, youll end up taking in fewer calories.
Additionally, intermittent fasting enhances hormone function to facilitate weight loss.
Lower insulin levels, higher HGH levels, and increased amounts of norepinephrine all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.
For this reason, short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate, helping you burn even more calories .
In other words, intermittent fasting works on both sides of the calorie equation. It boosts your metabolic rate and reduces the amount of food you eat .
According to a 2014 review of the scientific literature, intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of 38% over 324 weeks. This is a huge amount .
The study participants also lost 47% of their waist circumference over 624 weeks, which indicates that they lost lots of visceral fat. Visceral fat is the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that causes disease .
One 2011 review also showed that intermittent fasting caused less muscle loss than continuous calorie restriction .
However, a 2020 randomized trial looked at people who followed the 16/8 method. In this diet, you fast for 16 hours a day and have an 8-hour window to eat.
The Secret Of Healthy Weight Loss
Best intermittent fasting schedule Healthy weight loss
Yorukoglu mentioned that for the first item, 2 meals a day is enough for everyone. For the word breakfast is the most important meal, he said, This is a misunderstood urban legend.
So what is the most effective intermittent fasting schedule? The answer is actually very simple. In fact, the secret is very clear based on scientific data:
We quit the snacks. We only eat on the basis of 2 meals. The fasting hour actually starts at the hour when no one should eat.
So what is this time? 8 pm. This covers 8 pm and after when no one should eat. Because what you eat after 8 pm cannot be digested. When the fast ends, it is 12 pm.
Dr. Yorukoglu stated that people had tried diets for years and failed, and as a result, hundreds of people who went to see him after making an appointment for surgery got rid of unwanted weight with this method before surgery.
In addition, he also states that daily walking between 12 pm and 8 pm, before your fasting starts, significantly accelerates the rate of fat burning.
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Ways To Use This Information For Better Health
Dial Back Your Dinner Hour
Research suggests that its best to finish eating between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. As bedtime approaches, melatonin increases and insulin output begins to drop. That means blood sugar climbs higher and circulates for longer because there isnt enough insulin to clear it quickly. Research has linked late-evening eating to a greater risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. In a recent study by Johns Hopkins University, for example, healthy people who ate dinner at 10 p.m. saw greater spikes in blood sugar, slower body-fat breakdown, and increases in cortisol, a hormone thought to be involved in weight gain, compared with a group who ate the same meal at 6 p.m.
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Reason : Not Drinking Enough Water
I cannot stress enough how important it is to drink LOTS of water when youre fasting.
When your body is in a fasting state, its working hard to burn fat and detox the body.
The fasting state is when autophagy happens. Autophagy is the cellular self-cleaning process that breaks down and recycles damaged cells.
Think of it as your bodys way of cleaning house. So you need to make sure youre drinking even more water than you usually do.
If youre working out, you need more water. If you live in a hot climate, you need more water. Do I sound like a broken record yet?
So drink more water than you think you need while intermittent fasting.
As a minimum guideline, try to drink about 2/3 of your body weight in ounces each day.
So a 200-pound person would drink about 133 ounces a day .
If youre not up for the math, heres a handy water intake calculator you can use to get a ballpark idea of how much water you should be drinking.
For some yummy ideas for infused waters, check out my favorite detox water recipes.
Do whatever you have to do, but drink enough water.
It May Lead To Overeating During Eating Periods
“With all of the pent up hunger, sometimes IFers overeat during their feeding times. This is very understandable as, even though with time you may not feel hunger due to conditioning your body that cues are not an effective motivator to eat, as soon as you take that first bite the true hunger is awakened and may feel like a bottomless pit,” says Wilson. “As your body tries to make up for all of the energy it has missed during fasting, you may find yourself ingesting larger portions than you have in the past. This can result in a lack of calorie deficit and lack of weight loss. Human bodies are great at storing excess energy as fat so eating just a few large meals in the day will result in weight gain over time. Not the goal of IF!” There are more things behind your overindulgence besides IF: 17 Reasons You’re Overeating
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Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Actual Fat Unlike Most Diets
When someone says they want to lose weight, they actually mean they want to lose body fat.
Ideally you dont want to lose muscle mass, nor do you want to lose much water . This type of weight loss does not reduce fat stores and serves no good purpose.
Research indicates that fasting helps you lose more fat mass and less muscle mass or water weight than very low calorie diets or weight loss cleanses and detoxes.
This review study found that intermittent fasting helped people cut 4-7% from their waist circumference over a period of 24 weeks. That means they lost actual belly fat, which is the harmful fat around the organs .
These findings are in line with a more recent review study that looked at all the current evidence.
The researchers found that compared to following a very low calorie diet a type of intermittent fasting called alternate day fasting caused an average of 8.4 lb extra fat loss .
Summary: When you lose weight, you want it t come from fat stores and not muscle or water. Research indicates that intermittent fasting causes more fat loss than a very low calorie diet.
Intermittent Fasting Can Be Hard But Maybe It Doesnt Have To Be
Initial human studies that compared fasting every other day to eating less every day showed that both worked about equally for weight loss, though people struggled with the fasting days. So, its very reasonable to choose a reduced calorie plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet. But research suggests that not all IF approaches are the same, and some IF diets are indeed effective and sustainable, especially when combined with a nutritious plant-based diet.
We have evolved to be in sync with the day/night cycle, i.e., a circadian rhythm. Our metabolism has adapted to daytime food, nighttime sleep. Nighttime eating is well associated with a higher risk of obesity, as well as diabetes.
Based on this, researchers from the University of Alabama conducted a study with a small group of obese men with prediabetes. They compared a form of intermittent fasting called “early time-restricted feeding,” where all meals were fit into an early eight-hour period of the day , or spread out over 12 hours . Both groups maintained their weight but after five weeks, the eight-hours group had dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity, as well as significantly lower blood pressure. The best part? The eight-hours group also had significantly decreased appetite. They werent starving.
Just changing the timing of meals, by eating earlier in the day and extending the overnight fast, significantly benefited metabolism even in people who didnt lose a single pound.
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It Can Be Hard To Maintain
“Keeping up with this strict way of eating is difficult, mainly because our bodies aren’t wired to only eat within small intervals in our society today. With many social events occurring at night and often within non-designated eating times, many people are not able to stick to these restrictive guidelines for eating,” says Schlichter. “Furthermore, they feel hungry throughout the day when they aren’t eating and aren’t able to gorge all of their calories during designated times. Once a person resumes his/her normal way of eating, they’ll usually gain the weight back, but more so, have to work on rebuilding their relationship to food and learning to trust their body again to give them signs of hunger to eat, and cues for feeling fullness.” To build a better relationship with food, you might consider trying these 11 Mindfulness Hacks to Eat Less, According to Experts.
May Be Beneficial For Heart Health
Heart disease is currently the worlds biggest killer .
Its known that various health markers are associated with either an increased or decreased risk of heart disease.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve numerous different risk factors, including:
- blood sugar levels
The effects of fasting on heart health need to be studied more in-depth in humans before recommendations can be made.
Studies show that intermittent fasting can improve numerous risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and inflammatory markers.
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What Should I Eat And Drink During A Fast
During a fast, you can drink water and other calorie-free beverages, such as tea or black coffee. Many people also drink bone broth, which contains nutrients that support your body during a fast. Drinking liquids also help counteract fatigue and curb hunger.
If youre following an intermittent fasting pattern that involves restricting your calories on fast days, you should focus on low-calorie, high-protein and high-fiber foods that will help you stay full.