How Effective Is Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss?
Intermittent fasting has reportedly been one of the most popular eating trends in 2017.
Intermittent fasting can be helpful in weight loss
- Intermittent fasting involves abstaining from eating for 8 hours or more
- This kind of fasting helps in actual weight loss
- Holiday weight can be effectively lost through intermittent fasting
What to eat and what not to eat for weight loss? A question which has many answers to it, and yet there seems to be no exact right answer for every individual on a fitness expedition. From ketogenic (keto) diet to general motors (GM) diet, there are numerous diet plans available online, and suggested by dieticians and nutritionists. These diets involve reducing the calorie intake in each day, with healthy eating in small portions after every few hours. But some people also prefer intermittent fasting, a diet which involves drastic reduction of calories for only a few days in a week.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a process which involves abstaining from eating for a long period of time, say around 8-10 hours. This kind of fasting is done only for a few days in a week and involves regular eating for the rest of the days. Many people practice this kind of fasting for every alternate day in a week, where they eat 1/4th of the calories they normally eat on other days.
Kinds of intermittent fasting
There are roughly 4 ways of adopting intermittent fasting, but they must be done only after medical supervision and under expert guidance.
1. One way of intermittent fasting is not eating for 16 hours in a day and eating in the remaining 8 hours. This can be done by skipping breakfast and eating from 1 pm to 9 pm.
2. Another way is by eating normally for 5 days in a week and consuming not more than 600 calories in the rest of the 2 days.
3. The spontaneous fasting technique involves fasting for 12 or 24 hours numerous times in a week. No strict schedules are recommended for this kind of fasting.
4. Lastly, you can adopt fasting on alternate days, by fasting on one day and eating normally in the next day.
How effective is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting has reportedly been one of the most popular eating trends in 2017. When you skip an entire meal in a day, it helps in reducing the calorie intake to such an extent that you needn't worry about the calories that you will be having in the next meal.
For instance, skipping a breakfast of peanut butter toast with orange juice, can help in saving around 500 calories in a day. On an average, women are suggested to consume 1600 to 1800 calories in a day for losing weight. And skipping 500 calories of breakfast is like saving up to 30% of the day's calories.
After skipping breakfast, indulging in meal of around 750 calories with a 300 calorie dessert would still not affect your daily calorie intake for weight loss.
Intermittent fasting helps in actual fat loss
Some studies suggest that fasting helps in losing fat mass instead of water weight or muscle mass. This review study suggested that intermittent fasting helped in reducing around 7 % of waist circumference in 6 months. This is referred to loss of one of the most difficult kind of fat, belly fat.
When compared to low-calorie diets, intermittent fasting on alternate days can aid an extra weight loss of around 4 kilos.
Intermittent fasting preserves muscle mass lost while dieting
Most of the popular weight loss diets make you lose fat and mass. However, this is harmful because maintaining muscle mass is important to ensure a proper pace of our metabolism.
Studies suggest that fasting might be better for overweight people as it helps in better loss of fat and lesser loss of muscle. Nonetheless, weight training and a high-protein diet have still proven to be the best ways to maintain muscle mass. Hence even on intermittent fasting, eating protein-rich food like eggs, meat, fish and legume is a good way to enhance weight loss.
Intermittent fasting helps in losing holiday weight
It is a normal tendency to gain weight during the end of the year, when the holidays are on. Multiple celebratory evenings give us very less space for mindful eating and thus some weight gain becomes involuntary for us. And intermittent fasting is quite helpful in this case as it allows feasting on one meal after you have missed another meal.
This kind of fasting does not cause hunger cravings
Going on extremely strict and restricted diets can never be sustained for a long period of time. They cause a shift in hunger hormones and end up leaving us with uncontrollable food cravings. However, intermittent fasting can be helpful in controlling these calories, while also cutting down on our daily recommended calorie intake.
Intermittent fasting is not for everyone
It goes without saying that intermittent fasting is something not everyone will be able to do. People already on medication must take expert advice before adopting a fasting technique like this.
Besides, people who want to lose belly fat; or want to spend less on food; people who are able to skip meals with convenience; and people who okay being constipated for a few days in a week, can all opt for intermittent fasting for weight loss.
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