If you want to lose weight or get healthier, you must have heard the term ‘’intermittent fasting’’, since it’s all the rage these days on social media.
From fitness enthusiasts, and bloggers, to local advocates of a healthy lifestyle, everybody brags about the many benefits of intermittent fasting and how it helps you lose weight.
This hype has created an increased appeal of intermittent fasting.
But is it really helpful for losing weight? How does it work? Let’s dive into it.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a flexible diet regimen that does not require you to eliminate certain food groups or count calories. Instead, it cycles between eating windows and fasting windows.
Intermittent fasting causes fat loss and changes your body composition. It also improves your health as it helps control blood pressure and lowers your cholesterol levels.
Intermittent Fasting Plans
There are numerous methods of intermittent fasting. Here are some of the popular fasting plans.
- 16:8 method
- 5:2 diet
- Warrior diet
- Alternate-day fasting
All these methods are effective, but you should choose the one that suits you best.
Does Intermittent Fasting Help With Weight Loss?
Prolonged low-calorie diets consist of restricted eating, and they cause significant physiological changes as the body adapts to calorie restriction.
Intermittent fasting addresses this problem and combats it by allowing you to consume low-calorie food for a brief period. This brief period is followed by normal eating.
But according to multiple studies, intermittent fasting is not superior to calorie-restricted diets, and here’s why.
The primary reason why intermittent fasting helps with weight loss is due to the low-calorie intake. When you consume fewer calories, you tend to lose more weight.
All the intermittent fasting plans consist of a short eating window. During this window, you don’t have to count your calories.
But when you quit munching and skip meals during fasting, it reduces your overall calorie intake, resulting in significant weight loss.
According to a review, intermittent fasting can reduce body weight by 4-8% over 3-24 weeks unless you compensate by eating more calories during your eating window.
Moreover, intermittent fasting results in 0.25-0.75kg of weight loss per week.
Some people experience a reduction in waist circumference. Therefore, the results indicate that you may lose belly fat and overall weight loss through intermittent fasting.
It happens because short-term fasting windows lead to bodily changes that may promote fat burning.
But this can skyrocket your HGH levels, decreasing your energy metabolism and slowing down continued weight loss.
During intermittent fasting, you do not have to count calories, but the overall reduction in calorie intake is the sole reason for continued weight loss.
What Does Research Suggest About Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss?
Studies that compared intermittent fasting to restrictive diets found no difference in fat loss and weight loss when the participants’ calorie intake was the same.
According to a systematic review of 40 studies, intermittent fasting was effective with a weight loss of about 7 to 11 pounds for 11 weeks.
These studies had variable factors as they consisted of different intermittent fasting plans. The participants also had variable characteristics: some were obese while others were lean.
Half of the systematic studies compared the fasting group with a control group. The control group had a calorie restriction.
According to these studies and clinical trials, there was no significant difference in weight loss between the fasting and calorie restriction groups.
Besides this, the two groups did not show much deviation in the body composition changes. Some randomized trials also did not find intermittent fasting more beneficial than calorie reduction.
Participants were placed on moderate calorie restriction and time-restricted eating. Their weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and body fat were measured after a year.
After one year, the time-restricted group lost about 18 pounds, while the time-unrestricted group lost an average of 14 pounds.
This study concluded that the changes in weight loss were not different between people who practiced intermittent fasting or simply reduced their calorie intake.
But many people cannot count calories every day. As a result, they consume more calories than needed. In this case, intermittent fasting is an excellent way to limit your calorie intake for prolonged weight loss.
Intermittent fasting is a useful method for losing weight and body fat. But the primary reason for the weight loss is reduced calorie intake.
To lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit. While intermittent fasting creates a calorie deficit, it isn’t the only successful method of losing weight.
Also, you have to remember that reduced calorie intake takes a toll on your body, therefore adding supplements to your diet is essential.
But intermittent fasting goes beyond weight loss as it positively impacts our hormones.
It helps with our metabolic health, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and has a powerful effect on our brain and body.
Moreover, it is an effective way to reduce cravings and eat fewer calories daily.