Medical Review by Dr Babar Shahzad, BSc and MBBS on January 2, 2020.
Losing weight can often seem like an impossible task, and keeping it off long term seems even worse. These days, there are zillions of people trying to tell you the best way to lose weight.
The problem is that some of those ways seem contradictory. While many work rapidly to remove weight, they might not be healthy in a long term. Also, you can end up gaining more than you lost because you can mess up your metabolism.
Others acknowledge that losing weight is a slow process and assure you that you will notice incredible differences if you are patient enough to stick to a plan. But their plan requires that you maintain it for the rest of your life and is so restrictive that it removes any pleasure or splurges. You will often gain weight through bingeing because you have denied yourself from small pleasures over time.
One new diet trend that is sweeping the nation right now is intermittent fasting, but many people are asking whether intermittent fasting actually works.
In short – it does.
Why? Read on to find out.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting means cycling between periods of fasting and eating. There are several different approaches, which makes it a really flexible eating pattern. You can choose the one you like based on your appetite and lifestyle needs.
For example, the 5:2 fasting lets you eat normally for 5 days a week and fast for two days a week. In this case, fasting means consuming less than 500 kcal per day.
16:8 fasting means you consume your daily macros within 8-hour eating window and then fast for 16 hours. This might sound harsh when written, but in reality, it’s quite easy to follow. For example, you can have a late 10 a.m. then have your last meal at 6 p.m.
This allows to consume most of the nutrients in the first part of the day when we are most active. It also protects from cramming food into our bodies when we are stagnant and not likely to burn it off. It’s a great way to break bad habits like bedtime snacking.
Why does intermittent fasting work?
One of the reasons intermittent fasting works better than a lot of diets because it isn’t as restrictive.
May of the trendy diets will restrict you to certain types of food. Intermittent fasting mostly tells you when to eat rather to what to eat.
Of course, if you follow a healthy and balanced diet and combine it with intermittent fasting, the weight will drop off much faster.
But, even if you don’t limit yourself to types of food you consume during your eating window, you’re still more likely to consume fewer calories than usual when the eating time is restricted. Think all of those snacks you binge eat in the evening.
It’s way better to have a burger for lunch than chips and a chocolate bar before bed.
Also, intermittent fasting is super effective in burning fat. After 10-14 hours of fasting, your body starts burning fat for energy, since it is then out of blood sugar and glycogen.
The less you load your body with sugar during your eating window, the sooner fat-burning state starts.
How does intermittent fasting work?
Intermittent fasting works by controlling a few of the different hormones in your body. It changes the way insulin, ghrelin, and leptin affect your system.
Insulin regulates your blood sugar. When you eat, your blood sugar levels rise. Then your body produces insulin, which tells your body to store glucose (sugar) as glycogen in your liver and muscles. When your body has too much glycogen, it starts turning it into fat.
Therefore, extra energy ends up becoming fat.
Intermittent fasting helps to control and minimize blood sugar levels.
It also helps to balance out the good (HDL) and the bad (LDL) cholesterol.
Intermittent fasting is praised as one of the most effective weight loss methods, and it has its reasons. It’s an easy way to restrict your calorie intake without having to push yourself into following strict diets.
People also swear by its incredible health benefits.
So does intermittent fasting work?
It does. But don’t take our word for granted – try it for yourself.
Click HERE to get your personal intermittent fasting plan.