Intermittent fasting for weight loss is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends.
It involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating.
This article explains what intermittent fasting is, and why you should use intermittent fasting to lose weight.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. It doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat.
This is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting.
It does not say anything about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them.
How intermittent fasting for weight loss works
This is basically when you don’t eat for some hours, for example, you don’t eat for about 12 hours and then you eat all the food your body needs for energy.
The great thing about intermittent fasting for weight loss is that you don’t have to be on any kind of diet. You can eat all you want and what you want.
How to do it
The easiest way to do an intermittent fast is to choose a fasting window that includes the time that you spend sleeping.
Some experts advise finishing food consumption in the early evening, as metabolism slows down after this time. However, this is not feasible for everyone.
Some people may not be able to consume their evening meal until 7 p.m. or later. Even so, it is best to avoid food for 2–3 hours before bed.
People may choose one of the following 8-hour eating windows:
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- noon to 8 p.m.
Within this timeframe, people can eat their meals and snacks at convenient times. Eating regularly is important to prevent blood sugar peaks and dips and to avoid excessive hunger.
Some people may need to experiment to find the best eating window and mealtimes for their lifestyle.
How effective is intermittent fasting?
Fasting has several effects on a person’s 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.
Side effects of intermittent fasting
For a healthy, well-nourished person, intermittent fasting offers very few side effects.
When a person first starts fasting, they may feel slightly physically and mentally sluggish as their body adjusts.
After the adjustment, most people go back to functioning normally.
However, people with medical conditions should consult their doctor before beginning any fasting program.
People particularly at risk from fasting and who may require medical supervision include:
- women who are breastfeeding
- women who are pregnant
- people who are trying to conceive
- people with low blood pressure
- If you are on medications
- people with eating disorders
- people who are underweight
8. Benefits of intermittent fasting
1. Intermittent fasting makes your day simpler.
I’m big on behavior change, simplicity, and reducing stress.
Intermittent fasting provides additional simplicity to my life that I really enjoy.
When I wake up, I don’t worry about breakfast. I just grab a glass of water and start my day.
I enjoy eating and I don’t mind cooking, so eating three meals a day was never a hassle for me.
However, intermittent fasting allows me to eat one less meal, which also means planning one less meal, cooking one less meal, and stressing about one less meal.
It makes life a bit simpler and I like that.
2. Intermittent fasting helps you live longer.
Scientists have long known that restricting calories is a way of lengthening life.
From a logical standpoint, this makes sense. When you’re starving, your body finds ways to extend your life.
There’s just one problem: who wants to starve themselves in the name of living longer?
I don’t know about you, but I’m interested in enjoying a long life. Starving myself doesn’t sound that appetizing.
The good news is that intermittent fasting activates many of the same mechanisms for extending life as calorie restriction.
In other words, you get the benefits of a longer life without the hassle of starving.
Way back in 1945 it was discovered that intermittent fasting extended life in mice. (Here’s the study.)
More recently, this study found that alternate day intermittent fasting led to longer lifespans.
3. Improves cardiovascular health: Intermittent fasting diets have been shown to improve cholesterol, improve blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular risk.
One note: These studies associate intermittent fasting with lower levels of LDL and VLDL cholesterol.
4. Reduces inflammation: According to early research (read: rodent studies and small human sample sizes), lowering inflammation may be the key to maintaining a healthy weight, boosting longevity and reducing your risk of major illnesses.
That’s why anti-inflammatory foods are at the core of the Bulletproof Diet.
Intermittent fasting decreases oxidative stress and inflammation across the board, including inflammatory markers such as adiponectin, leptin and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
5. Helps remove cellular waste: Over time, your cells naturally accumulate damaged cells and waste — junk that can interfere with cellular function. In rodent studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to promote a process called autophagy, which is what happens when your body clears out the cellular junk so your body can work even better.
6. Supports healthy aging: Studies show that intermittent fasting can help protect your cardiovascular system and how you manage blood sugar to support healthy aging. It even helps promote feelings of tranquility and alertness.
In rodent studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to increase lifespan and protect against disease.
7. Intermittent fasting may reduce the risk of cancer.
This one is up for debate because there hasn’t been a lot of research and experimentation done on the relationship between cancer and fasting. Early reports, however, look positive.
This study of 10 cancer patients suggests that the side effects of chemotherapy may be diminished by fasting before treatment.
This finding is also supported by another study which used alternate day fasting with cancer patients and concluded that fasting before chemotherapy would result in better cure rates and fewer deaths.
Finally, this comprehensive analysis of many studies on fasting and disease has concluded that fasting appears to not only reduce the risk of cancer, but also cardiovascular disease.
8. Intermittent fasting is much easier than dieting.
The reason most diets fail isn’t because we switch to the wrong foods, it’s because we don’t actually follow the diet over the long term.
It’s not a nutrition problem, it’s a behavior change problem.
This is where intermittent fasting shines because it’s remarkably easy to implement once you get over the idea that you need to eat all the time.
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About intermittent fasting for weight loss
Diet patterns go back and forth, yet intermittent fasting has been around for quite a while.
Presently science has started to look all the more carefully at its conceivable medical advantages.
It’s too soon to tell without a doubt. Be that as it may, early proof proposes intermittent fasting can help.
The 16/8 methodology
Intermittent fasting implies that you abstain from eating for an assigned measure of time every day.
There are numerous approaches to do this, however one of the most famous methodologies is called 16/8.
You eat during an eight-hour time frame — for instance, from early afternoon to 8 p.m. — trailed by 16 hours of fasting, for this situation, from 8 p.m. until early afternoon the following day, when the example rehashes.
This sort of intermittent fasting is generally simple to do contrasted and some different examples, as you rest for about portion of the fasting time frame.
“You simply don’t have after supper — no evening time nibbling — and skip breakfast,” says Dr. Eric Rimm, a teacher of the study of disease transmission and nourishment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
All things considered, the center is to abstain from expending whatever has critical calories.
You additionally need to follow customary good dieting propensities during your eight-hour eating window.
“Because you abstained doesn’t mean you have consent to enjoy or eat shoddy nourishment,” says Dr. Rimm.
Short term action
Intermittent fasting is less about nourishment and progressively about planning.
Not eating for such a significant stretch can put the body in a condition of transient ketosis, which means the body consumes fat for vitality.
What does this do to our bodies? Researchers have as of late explored the potential advantages of discontinuous fasting.
Most examination has concentrated uniquely on what happens when individuals attempt irregular fasting every day for a brief period. “We don’t have the foggiest idea about the ramifications of discontinuous fasting over quite a while, particularly as far as life span,” says Dr. Rimm.
Nor is it clear if consistency is fundamental, or if following the schedule each other day or just on weekdays (or some other timetable variety) is similarly useful.
All things considered, some ongoing investigations have proposed irregular fasting — specifically, 16/8 — may offer certain heart medical advantages.
For example, an examination in the March 2019 issue of Nutrients found that individuals who followed discontinuous fasting brought down their circulatory strain, cholesterol, and irritation levels.
Other examination in the two people and creatures has discovered that the change to fat copying that outcomes from fasting can help manage glucose levels, treat weight, and lower the danger of cardiovascular malady.
A profound issue
While explicit medical advantages and terms are as yet being investigated, numerous individuals find discontinuous fasting can assist them with dealing with their dietary patterns and shed pounds.
For example, fasting could assist you with decreasing your day by day calorie admission, particularly in the event that you are a late-night gorge eater.
In any case, don’t anticipate that irregular fasting should be a speedy weight reduction arrangement. “It can require some investment for those less calories to mean lost pounds,” says Dr. Rimm. “You most likely can’t tail it from time to time and anticipate any huge changes in weight.”
He includes that the normal individual who follows this daily practice — alongside a sound eating routine and exercise — can hope to drop three to five pounds every month. Also, with weight reduction comes different advantages like better pulse, lower cholesterol, less joint agony, and more beneficial rest.
Would it be advisable for you to check out discontinuous fasting? There doesn’t give off an impression of being a lot of drawback, as indicated by Dr. Rimm.
Remember, however, that irregular fasting takes control, and it’s not for everybody. Dr. Rimm proposes attempting it each other day from the outset to perceive how you react and whether it fits into your way of life.
From that point forward, how regularly you do it and for how long relies upon your objectives and solace level. In the event that your objective is shedding a couple of pounds or simply keeping up your present weight, following the daily schedule for most days might be the best methodology.
When individuals arrive at the ideal weight, it’s regular for them to stop discontinuous fasting and just come back to it varying. “A few people may discover it causes them get thinner, and they receive it again on the off chance that they start to recover the weight,” says Dr. Rimm.
Check with your PCP before attempting irregular fasting on the off chance that you take circulatory strain medicine, frequently get discombobulated from standing excessively fast, or you have diabetes. “Low glucose levels from not eating for such a long time could cause issues,” says Dr. Rimm.
In the event that you do attempt intermittent fasting for weight loss, you may discover it feels like a progressively regular method of eating, which isn’t excessively astonishing, says Dr. Rimm. “All things considered, eating for just a concise period daily is likely how we used to eat 10,000 years back.