Are you looking down at your stomach, but don’t know where to start in losing weight? Fortunately for you, if your “diet” isn’t working, there are still plenty of options open to you.
Besides hitting the gym more often or doing dreaded morning crunches, intermittent fasting might be a viable option for you to try? But, what’s that? You’ve never heard of intermittent fasting?
Below, we’ll go over:
- What intermittent fasting actually is
- What intermittent fasting researching studies say about it
- Whether or not you’re a good candidate for intermittent fasting
- How effective the weight loss method is
What exactly IS intermittent fasting?
You may be curious about what intermittent fasting actually is. This eating behavior is when you rotate periods of fasting and eating. Currently, it’s a very popular health trend, backed by many fitness professionals.
There are no requirements on which food to eat. Instead, intermittent fasting focuses on when to eat. There are a number of different fasting methods to try, which split the day (or week) into varying fasting and eating periods.
Fortunately, since you already fast when you sleep, you can simply skip breakfast or dinner to meet the fasting period. One of the most popular intermittent fasting methods is known as the 16/8 method and requires you to fast for 16 hours and eat in the following 8 hours.
Although you may feel hungry in the beginning, most people notice this feeling goes away over time. In fact, participating in this fast tends to leave you feeling less hungry and more energetic. Just remember:
- No food or drinking allowed
- The only exception for drinks is water, coffee, or tea
- The only exception for food is low-calorie food, such as crackers or cheese
Now, you know what intermittent fasting is and what the process requires. However, how do we know intermittent fasting is healthy and safe for all of us to do? In the next section, we’ll talk about what intermittent fasting research studies have to say about it.
What do the intermittent fasting research studies say?
So, you’re excited to start intermittent fasting, but what do current research studies say about it? After all, you don’t want to participate in something that could be potentially dangerous to you and your body. Here’s what researchers have to say:
Intermittent fasting can change the function of your genes, cells, and hormones
When you don’t eat for periods of time, such as fast, a number of things happen in your body. Here are a few changes that can happen in your body during intermittent fasting:
- Blood levels of growth hormone in your body can increase 5-fold. This can increase fat burning, muscle gain, and other beneficial effects on your body.
- Your blood levels of insulin can drop, prompting immediate fat loss.
- Genes related to disease protection and longevity can be beneficially changed in your body
- Your body increases cellular repairs, such as removing waste from your cells
Intermittent fasting can aid in weight loss
A lot of people try intermittent fasting to try losing weight. While you’re eating fewer meals, eating fewer calories at the same time can aid in weight loss. This happens because intermittent fasting can improve your hormone’s function to increase weight loss in your body.
Even if you decide to fast short-term, intermittent fasting can increase your metabolic rate, up to 14%, which can help you burn the calories you eat. So, as long as you eat healthy during the eating periods of intermittent fasting, you can expect to lose weight. In fact, according to a 2014 study, intermittent fasting can help you lose weight up to 8% in 24 weeks.
Intermittent fasting can help prevent cancer
Cancer is a deadly disease that is caused by the uncontrollable growth of cells in your body. However, intermittent fasting can help reduce your risk of cancer due to its effects on metabolism.
Unfortunately, there are still no human studies, but animal studies have shown positive evidence to back up the claim that fasting can prevent cancer in humans. Also, some evidence has shown that fasting can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
Should you start intermittent fasting?
This is an incredibly personal choice that should be made between you and your doctor. Intermittent fasting is not the right weight loss strategy for everybody. It is simply another lifestyle choice that may be able to improve your health.
If you don’t like the idea of fasting or don’t believe this plan would work for you, then there is no reason to try it out. If it does seem right for you, then give it a try.
Remember, the best diet is one that you will stick with. Intermittent fasting offers many different health benefits, but at the end of the day, you know what’s best for you.
Is intermittent fasting guaranteed for losing weight?
As with all diet plans, there are no guarantees.
However, intermittent fasting does seem to work better for some groups of people than others. Some evidence suggests that fasting may not be as beneficial for women as it is for men.
One research study found that intermittent fasting boosted insulin sensitivity in men but lowered blood sugar control in women. Other studies found that female rats who were fasting became infertile, emaciated, and caused them to miss their cycles. Though there are not any human studies on this subject, there is plenty of relevant anecdotal evidence from women.
With this in mind, women should be especially mindful when beginning intermittent fasting. You should begin slowly and, if you experience any issues similar to those above, stop fasting and talk to your doctor.
Ready to try intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an incredible method to try losing weight. Although it isn’t for everyone, it’s useful for more than just losing weight, such as reducing cancer risks and improve the health of your body.
Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you can get started intermittent fasting and use the research studies above to keep yourself motivated to stay on track.
So, what are you waiting for? Start intermittent fasting and work on losing those pesky pounds today!