There’s been a lot of talk about losing weight with intermittent fasting and the information can be quite confusing. Intermittent fasting has to do with when you eat. It is a pattern where you eat little or nothing for a specific time, followed by a period of normal intake of food on a consistent basis. You can choose three different types of intermittent fasting. Whole day fasting is one or two days with no or minimum caloric intake, Alternate day fasting means you fast for a day, followed by eating normally the next day and then begin the cycle again. Time restricted fasting is often the most popular. You fast for 16 to 20 hours, then eat the other 4 to 8 hours of the day.
There’s some research that shows intermittent fasting can improve health and help you lose weight.
If you’re a lab animal, rejoice! Most of the studies have been on mice and other lab animals that show fasting can extend life, slow aging and reduce disease. However, for those of us that aren’t rodents, the information is inconclusive. There simply are broad human studies on the topic, but there are some. The studies that have been completed point to health benefits, such as reduced oxidative stress, improved biomarkers and protecting memory. There is a call to do studies on how intermittent fasting can help improve cardio health and brain health.
Intermittent fasting helps shed pounds.
According to two studies, you might be able to lose weight easier with a program of intermittent fasting. One study had overweight subjects with asthma alternate and eat only 20 percent of their normal caloric intake on one day and their normal intake the next. Not only did the subjects lose 8% of bodyweight, their asthma improved and they also had other health benefits. Another study of overweight younger women also showed improved weight loss and reduced insulin sensitivity plus other healthy changes.
There are changes at the cellular level.
Your body continues to adapt to the conditions it faces. Fasting, even for as short as 16 hours, urges your body to make changes. The fasting triggers processes for cell repair, while also making changes to various hormone levels to unlock the fat stores. Insulin levels in the blood drop, HGH—human growth hormone—increases as much as five times and it triggers changes in the genes that help protect the body from disease and improve longevity.
- Using intermittent fasting, you’ll reduce the amount you eat. If you narrow your food intake to a 4 or 8 hour window, it makes it harder to intake as many calories.
- You’ll lose more belly fat with intermittent fasting. One study showed it reduced waist circumference by 4-7% and another showed it caused less muscle loss than traditional low calorie diets.
- The big plus to this type of eating pattern is the lowering of insulin levels, increased HGH levels and noradrenaline. That helps break down fat for energy and boosts your metabolism.
- No matter what type of intermittent fasting you use, you still need to consume your normal caloric intake on the days you eat. It won’t work if you gorge yourself on the days or times you eat.