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Intermittent Fasting Is On The Rise – Does It Work For Weight Loss?

Madhura Mohan

Posted on June 16 2021

W

hen it comes to eating, we have a menu of options, probably this is the leading cause for weight gain among people of the world. The variety of something that we have will not allow us to limit our desires and will keep the temptation building in us!! The thing is everything is so easily accessible to us these days, we don’t have to move around for anything, the internet is one big boon and culprit to be blamed for the epidemic of weight gain. Everything happens so easily with the internet, including food ordering….hmm… not good!!

 

Beware! Extra calories and a low level of activity don’t just lead to weight gain but can mean a high-risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart ailments, joint problem, and other illnesses. The clock keeps ticking around but it doesn’t mean you should be eating around the clock!

Today, in this blog, you’ll learn one of the trending diet routines for weight loss - intermittent fasting.

For a long time, people on a weight loss plan have had to focus on changing the foods on their daily menus. Let me tell you happy news here…intermittent fasting doesn’t expect you to change your eating menu…then how does it work?? Read on to know why intermittent fasting is surging in popularity and has gotten a lot of attention from celebrities to social media influencers…

 

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Fasting literally implies taking a break from food intake for a time. Fasting which has been around for millennia and which was once linked to religious purpose has become a way to manage weight in modern times. Now, if fasting implies a way of limiting calorie intake, intermittent fasting does exactly the same, it is an eating plan that cycles between a specific time period of fasting and eating on a regular schedule. Intermittent fasting is a type of time-restricted feeding, where people restrict the time when they can eat. What this conveys is, intermittent fasting is focused more on fasting and eating time than just calorie counting.

 

There are several ways/types of intermittent fasting

 

5:2 fasting

Here the idea is to eat normally for 5 days a week without counting on calorie consumption and on the other 2 days, you’ll cut down on calories. You’ll eat as minimum as 500 to 600 calories on the remaining 2 days. The days, when to choose to fast are totally your choice. Short bouts of fasting without restricting much on diet intake keep one complaint and help stick to the goal.

 

Time-restricted fasting

This type of fasting restricts one to eat only on a stipulated window every day. Here, you’ll need to choose an ideal time frame that should leave a 14 to 16 hour fast each day. For instance, if you choose to set your eating window from 9 am to 5 pm daily, you’ll need to intake all your nutrient needs during this time frame only, you are not going to eat after 5 pm. You’ll go fasting till the next morning at 9 am when it’s time to break the fast.

 

Overnight fasting

Here the idea is to fast for a 12-hour period at night every day. For instance, if you choose to stop eating after your dinner time by 8 pm, you’ll resume eating at 8 am the next morning. Here, you are not cutting down your calories, you’ll still be eating your normal diet, but you’ll restrict your eating time to stipulated period, you’ll need to eliminate your bedtime snacks.

 

 

16:8 fasting

In this method of fasting, you are allowed to eat for 8 hours and fast for the next 16 hours every day. For instance, if you choose to finish your last meal at 8 pm today, you are going to restrict yourself from eating till 12 pm the next day. So, you’ll do a clear 16 hours of fasting with 8 hours of eating.

 

 

Whole-day fasting

How this type of fasting works is you’ll eat once a day, you can either choose to eat dinner or lunch and then not eat again until the next day’s dinner or lunch respectively. This means your fasting period is 24 hours.

 

 

 

Alternate day fasting

This type requires one to fast every other day, with a fasting period consisting of 25% of calorie needs (about 500 calories) and non-fasting days being normal eating days.

 

Also read: Low-Carb diet for weight loss – Does it work?

 

What Is The Mechanism Behind Intermittent Fasting?

There may be different types of intermittent fasting, but all are essentially based on the same idea of restricting food intake to a specific period.

Intermittent fasting changes the way your body attains energy.

What happens is if a person eats three meals a day, plus snacks, and they are not exercising, then every time one eats, he/she is running on those calories and not burning the fat stores. Intermittent fasting is based on prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat. The excess carb gets stored in the liver as glycogen or converted into fat. After we finish eating a meal, our body can run on glucose or carbs we’d eaten a few hours back before tapping into stored carbs or glycogen. Now, glycogen lasts for several hours before running out 8 hours after we’ve stopped eating, which is when our body taps into stored fat, and a metabolic switch begins.

The food that we eat, especially the carbs are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. The energy that is unused or anything in excess gets stored in our fat cells as fat. The process of entry of sugar molecules into fat cells needs insulin as a key. During intermittent fasting, when we go for long hours without eating, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar to be used as energy.

 

How Is Intermittent Fasting Different From Other Dieting?

  • One appealing feature of intermittent fasting is that it offers a simple way to cut down on the total number of calories you eat without changing your diet. Dieters do not have to restrict calories completely every day.

  • Individuals don’t have to compensate on non-fasting days for the calorie deficit that occurs on fasting days.

  • Regular practice of fasting may help mitigate the constant hunger and unnecessary binging.

  • It’s easy and accessible for those who don’t have the time or resources to plan their meals, buying certain foods, count calories, or track calories.

In addition to reducing body weight, intermittent fasting can help lower cholesterol, improve glucose control, reduce liver fat, hypertension, improve lipid profiles, improve insulin sensitivity and improve blood pressure.

 

 

 

Is It Safe For All? Does It Have Any Side Effects?

Intermittent fasting is definitely not safe for all. Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, those on diabetes medication, heart problem, kidney problem, or anyone taking blood pressure medication is advised not to practice this type of diet.

Intermittent fasting may cause minor side effects like feelings of weakness, headaches, feeling of hunger, dehydration, most of the studies have not analyzed adverse effects particularly.

 

How About Workouts During Intermittent Fasting?

No doubt, the sole purpose of fasting is to lose weight, so workouts are not to forget. Combining your healthy eating routine with your workout will help lose weight faster. In order to not lose muscles on a calorie-restricted diet, focus on strength training during eating days or during periods of eating and consume enough protein. On fasting periods, do light exercises like aerobic exercise or simple yoga and consume protein shakes which don’t offer much calories.

 

Do We Get Effective Weight Loss Results From Intermittent Fasting?

The results of weight loss from intermittent fasting depends on how well you are doing with fasting and the types of food you consume on the non-fasting days. As a must to mention, results of weight loss like in any other diet can vary from person to person and depends on how metabolically flexible a person is. If you pack your feeding times with high-calorie junk food, fried items, and chocolaty treats, you are unlikely to lose weight. If you have been focusing your meals around protein, fibre and fat, combined with strength training, it will likely take less time for you to start seeing weight loss results.

 

The overall idea of intermittent fasting is to be aware of what and when you’re eating, it gives limits and boundaries that are simple to follow…

Keeping control of food portions during your eating window contributes to sustaining weight loss…

 

*Kindly Note: The information contained in this article doesn’t aim to promote any particular diet pattern. A diet plan which may suit one person may not be suitable for the other. It is suggested to seek advice from the registered dietician or medical advisor before embarking on any diet plans.

 

 

 Also read: Achieve Flat Tummy & Slim Waist in 10 Minutes

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