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Intermittent Fasting : Ultimate Guide to Get Amazing Life-Changing Results!

Intermittent Fasting For Women
Intermittent Fasting For Women

Intermittent fasting, which limits food intake to specific times of the day, has gained popularity in recent years. But is intermittent fasting a practical way to lose weight?

Experts and research indicate that while intermittent fasting can help people lose weight, at least temporarily, there are drawbacks and possibly hazards associated with it as well. While intermittent fasting may be advantageous for some people, it may not be the best dietary strategy for others.

Intermittent fasting: What Is It?

“A strategy that promotes eating at specific times throughout the day or week is intermittent fasting,” says Allison Tepper, a registered dietitian in the Washington, D.C., metro area, owner of Tepper Nutrition, and adjunct professor at American University’s Department of Health Studies. Food (and sometimes beverages) are restricted outside of certain times. When someone practices intermittent fasting, they may follow a different eating and fasting schedule. The most popular ones are 16:8—eating for eight hours every day and fasting for the other sixteen—and 5:2—eating normally for five days a week and consuming only about 500 calories on the other two days. Jen Bruning is a registered dietitian and ambassador for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Since intermittent fasting can be so adaptable—for example, one can fast for 12 hours and then eat for 12, or fast for 14 hours and then eat for 10—it’s a good idea to consult a registered dietitian to determine which kind of intermittent fasting is most appropriate for you and your way of life.


The Science on Intermittent Fasting and Weight Loss: What Does It Say?

Intermittent Fasting Ultimate Guide to Get Amazing Life-Changing Results

Results vary when it comes to weight loss and intermittent fasting, according to Bruning. According to her, “participants who followed intermittent fasting showed weight loss in some studies, but not in others.”

For example, a 2021 review of the literature on intermittent fasting found that this diet may improve markers of oxidative stress, blood pressure, insulin resistance (in people with prediabetes and diabetes), and clinically significant weight loss—defined as a loss of more than 5% from baseline. It may also lead to improvements in cardiovascular health. The study also found that there are few reports of negative consequences from the diet, indicating that intermittent fasting is safe. However, as Bruning points out, weight loss is not guaranteed by intermittent fasting. 

“A person may lose weight if they end up eating fewer calories than their body needs due to the time constraints of the diet,” she says. “However, they may gain if they eat more during eating windows than their body requires.” In fact, a 2017 study found that alternate-day fasting—which involves consuming about 25% of your caloric needs on fasting days and 125% on alternating days when you’re considered to be “feasting”—did not produce better weight loss or maintenance outcomes than caloric restriction. The study also found that the group that alternated days of fasting had a greater dropout rate from the experiment than did the control group and the group that calorie-restricted daily, raising concerns about the long-term viability of this strategy. A 2018 study found further health benefits of intermittent fasting, even though it also suggested that it might not help with weight loss. After five weeks of intermittent fasting, a small group of obese and prediabetic men did not lose weight in this study; however, they did experience significant improvements in their insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, and lower insulin levels, along with a notable decrease in appetite.

Bruning comments that because of the inconsistent outcomes, people “who really struggle with late-night snacking for reasons other than hunger” may find that intermittent fasting for weight loss makes sense because it “could help to curb those tendencies.”

It’s interesting to note that some research indicates that results may vary depending on when you eat versus fast. According to a 2022 study, eating the same amount of calories later in the day as opposed to earlier in the day made obese adults feel more hungry, burned calories more slowly, and had more calories stored in their fat tissue. All of these factors increased the risk of obesity.

Considerations for Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting- what is it, meal plan and health benefits
Intermittent fasting- what is it, meal plan and health benefits

For some populations, intermittent fasting may be appropriate.

Tepper points out that anyone with a history of disordered eating might want to give this kind of diet another thought. “Any kind of diet program can affect the relationship with food and raise the risk of developing disordered eating, especially if it involves restriction of some kind,” the expert states.

Individuals with certain medical conditions or dietary requirements might want to think about taking a different strategy. According to Bruning, before attempting intermittent fasting, the following people might wish to consult their physician or a certified.

  1. People who are suffering from a major illness
  2. People who must take their meds on schedule while eating
  3. Older folks who struggle to get enough calories
  4. People taking insulin who have diabetes

Furthermore, children who are still developing as well as those who are pregnant or nursing should avoid intermittent fasting, advises Bruning.

There are drawbacks to intermittent fasting that should be noted even if you don’t fit into any of these categories. “Eating on a regular basis is an essential component of many people’s daily routines as it promotes healthy blood sugar regulation, appropriate nutrient intake, and a positive connection with food,” adds Tepper. “Eating food at irregular times can lead to headaches, nausea, and low energy and concentration levels.”

Ask your physician or a qualified nutritionist for more information about intermittent fasting and how it might benefit you.

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