Does Intermittent Fasting Help Weight Loss?

Intermittent fasting aka IF is one of the hottest nutrition concepts right now. Basically it's an eating regimen which alternates between periods of fasting and advocates lengthy intervals of food deprivation in order to lose weight but at the same time allowing water intake or low-calorie drink consumption in between. The idea of "starving" yourself with IF sounds crazy because according to conventional wisdom, you should eat small meals frequently to burn fat and lose weight and starvation mode or survival mode is not effective for weight loss. Starvation mode usually consists of a drastic caloric restriction which has been shown to yield several side effects like mood swings, intense food cravings, rebound overeating, slow metabolism, extreme fatigue/weakness and ultimately more weight gain. But intermittent fasting is not the same as starvation mode although it does have a few similarities like lengthy periods without food.

Here are a few differences:

Intermittent Fasting - There are several types of intermittent fasting and those which include skipping breakfast but what is more important is the lengthy intervals without food intake. Here is an example of practicing IF. Have a healthy breakfast say at 7h AM and eat your dinner at 19h PM. That's a 12 hour fasting. You can sip water or have low-calorie drinks in between like green tea, black coffee. Then go to sleep at 23h PM and wake up at 7h AM. Sleeping is considered fasting to a certain extent. Skip breakfast. Have a healthy lunch at noon. That's a 17 hour fasting since your last meal which was dinner. Intermittent means occuring at irregular intervals and this is what it's all about, there is no fixed pattern. IF can be done everyday or every other day. Here are a few strategies:

(1) Alternate Day Fasting(ADF) - One day on and one day off eating approach.

(2) Skipping Meals - This approach consists of a random skipping of meals during the week, for example on some days, you can have breakfast dinner, other days, breakfast lunch or lunch dinner.

(3) Eat Stop Eat - 24 hour fast once or twice per week, more than 24 hour fasting is usually not healthy and not recommended.

It's important to emphasize that adhering to the IF program doesn't mean you should have poor quality meals devoid of nutrition. On the contrary, you should eat healthy nutrient-dense satiating meals. Two meals per day with IF is usually quite common.

What about weight loss benefits? According to research, intermittent fasting does not slow down your metabolic rate as many tend to believe, it can actually do the reverse due to the fact that it triggers the release of hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine which are your adrenaline hormones. By increasing your metabolic rate, IF will torch fat and can definitely help you in your quest to lose weight.

Here are other good news. Researchers have discovered that intermittent fasting promotes longevity and slows aging and offers several health benefits like lowering triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels(LDL), preventing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and even cancer.

Starvation Mode - Starving yourself usually consists of poor nutrition and severe caloric restriction. Here is a typical starvation diet. Have a cup of tea for breakfast at 7h AM, eat a few pieces of lettuce for lunch at NOON and eat one piece of fruit for dinner at 19h PM. This is really poor nutrition and this is actual STARVING. By following this type of eating pattern day in day out, you'll be drastically lacking valuable nutrients needed for optimal bodily functions making you prone to various side effects.







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