Intermittent fasting for weight loss

Is skipping meals a bad idea or a secret weight loss weapon? One diet trend that shows no sign of going away anytime soon is intermittent fasting. This is when you voluntarily abstain from food or drink other than water for a certain period of time. Some fasts are for religious reasons, while others fast for weight loss.

But is intermittent fasting a healthy way to lose weight?

The three popular approaches to intermittent fasting are:

  • Alternate-day fasting
    Eat a normal, healthy diet one day and then fast completely or eat one small meal the next day. Usually the small meal is less than 500 calories.
  • 5-2 tied
    Eat a normal diet five days a week and fast two days a week.
  • Daily time limited fasting
    Eat normally, but only within an eight-hour window each day. For example, skip breakfast but eat lunch around 11:00 and dinner by 7:00 p.m.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Can Intermittent Fasting Improve Your Health? Recent research has found that using intermittent fasting for weight loss may have some short-term benefits.

It turns out that fasting for a short time can produce ketosis, which is a process that occurs when the body doesn’t have enough glucose for energy, so it breaks down stored fat instead. This causes an increase in substances called ketones. This, along with fewer calories consumed overall, can lead to weight loss. Research suggests that alternate-day fasting is about as effective as a typical low-calorie diet for weight loss.

Fasting also affects metabolic processes in the body that can work to reduce inflammation, as well as improve blood sugar regulation and physical stress response. Some research shows that it can improve conditions related to inflammation such as arthritis, asthma and multiple sclerosis.

Little long-term research has been done on intermittent fasting to examine how it affects people over time. As a result, long-term health benefits or risks are unknown.

Side effects of intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting can have unpleasant side effects. These may include hunger, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, reduced concentration, nausea, constipation and headache. Most side effects go away within a month.

Sticking to an intermittent fasting routine may be easier for some people than watching calories every day. Other people, especially those with busy or variable schedules, have more difficulty maintaining an intermittent fasting routine.

Is intermittent fasting right for you?

Intermittent fasting is safe for many people, but it is not for everyone. Skipping meals is not recommended for people under 18, those with a history of disordered eating, or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Athletes can find it difficult to properly fuel and refuel for an active lifestyle. If you have diabetes or other medical problems, talk to your healthcare team before starting intermittent fasting.

Also note that the key to weight loss with intermittent fasting is not to overeat during your eating windows. Eating fewer calories than you consume remains the basis for losing weight.

Shortening the eating window can make it difficult to get the vitamins and minerals you need. While on this diet, it’s important to eat meals made from quality, healthy ingredients, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins.

Intermittent fasting can be dangerous if taken too far. A technique called dry fasting restricts food and fluid intake, which results in severe dehydration and poses serious health problems. Malnutrition can occur if the calorie restriction is too severe, such as consuming an average of less than 1,200 calories per day over the long term.

Romi Londre is a dietitian in nutrition in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Related Posts