Intermittent fasting has been a popular phrase thrown around on the internet amidst weight loss communities. Do you know what it is or how it works?
Many people struggling with how to lose weight choose intermittent fasting as an option. It requires some discipline but otherwise has no huge changes for the dieter. So how does it help you lose weight?
We’re here to explain. Keep reading to learn about intermittent fasting so you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s the best weight loss option for you.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Broken down, intermittent fasting is just periods of fasting and periods of eating. Technically we all fast (hence the term “breakfast”) but most people have short periods of fasting and longer periods of eating.
It’s one of the most popular fitness and weight loss trends at the moment. It’s less of a diet and more of a lifestyle change, meaning that the intermittent fasting “diet” doesn’t tell you what you can and can not eat. It only tells you when you can eat.
Some intermittent fasting periods are a full 24 hours one or two times more week, but more often you’ll see people operating on a “16 hours off, 8 hours on” routine. This means that those 16 hours are fasted (no food or drinks) and the 8 hours are their “feeding” hours. Some people also find success in eating only one meal per day (otherwise known as the OMAD diet).
How Does Intermittent Fasting Promote Weight Loss?
Intermittent fasting works in several ways to promote weight loss. There’s no denying that it works, but why?
First, the obvious. When we only have an 8-hour window for eating all of our meals, we’re not going to eat as much. This makes it a great option for people who have trouble with portion control.
Even if you find yourself eating more for one meal, you won’t be hungry enough for your next meal to also have large portions if you’re giving yourself a limited time to eat. If you’re only eating one meal, there’s no way that you can overeat even with large portions.
Weight loss is all about calories in vs calories out. The fewer calories that we’re able to consume in a day, the easier it will be to lose weight.
Intermittent fasting may also increase your metabolism, meaning that you’ll be able to lose more weight and burn more fat over time.
How Does It Work?
Intermittent fasting isn’t magic. While it may seem that way from looking at the success stories online, it takes work and the results are scientific.
As we eat, our insulin levels go up to manage blood sugar. As our insulin levels go down, that sugar is released into energy instead of stored later as fat.
Our bodies are made for intermittent fasting. It’s logical to eat during the hours of the day where we have sunlight. Our ancestors ate this way out of necessity. Eating this way keeps the body level and regulated regardless of what you’re eating (though you should still try to keep a balanced diet).
Does It Have Other Health Benefits?
Intermittent fasting isn’t only for weight loss. Because it’s our “natural” way of eating, it offers other health benefits as well.
Fasting can reduce your insulin resistance by several percentage points. Insulin resistance is one of the primary factors in developing type 2 diabetes (alongside obesity and poor eating habits, both of which are also helped by switching to an intermittent fasting lifestyle).
This lowered insulin resistance can help with your heart health, protecting you from serious heart conditions or heart disease.
There’s evidence to suggest that intermittent fasting may promote healthier ageing (which makes sense considering that the benefits promote a healthier body in general). It may also protect you from neurological degenerative conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.
What Can I Eat or Drink While Fasting?
Many people are alarmed by the idea of “fasting”. What about water? What about your daily caffeine fix in the morning?
Unsweetened water-based beverages are allowed during your fasting period. These include tea and coffee, though neither should have anything added to them. Some people on the ketogenic diet have bulletproof coffee in the morning which only adds fat, but many on a true intermittent fasting diet resist even that.
Is Intermittent Fasting for Everyone?
Some people aren’t suited for intermittent fasting, or they should see a doctor first before changing their lifestyle in this way.
Someone who is diabetic or otherwise has problems with blood sugar should speak with a doctor first before attempting intermittent fasting. Because it affects insulin and they won’t be able to snack on things throughout the day, diabetics may find that they aren’t able to sustain the fast in a healthy way.
People with eating disorders or former eating disorders should consult with a professional before starting intermittent fasting. While it’s not a restrictive diet per se, it may increase restrictive and obsessive habits on those who have suffered from an eating disorder in the past.
People who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to a doctor before fasting. Making sure that all of the baby’s nutritional needs are met should be the primary concern, and intermittent fasting can come later.
Anyone who takes medications should discuss this with a doctor first. Some medications need to be taken at certain times with meals, while others are more flexible. Some may cause adverse reactions to diet changes.
No matter who you are, asking for advice before making a major dietary change is helpful.
Is Intermittent Fasting Right for You?
Intermittent fasting isn’t right for everyone, but it’s a great option for weight loss and better overall health for those who are able to sustain it.
Whether you’re doing the OMAD diet, you’re fasting for days at a time, or you’re allocating 8 hours for meals, you’ll feel the health benefits.
IF you’re looking for more information on intermittent fasting or the OMAD diet specifically, visit our site and contact us. We want to help people reach their full potential.