Intermittent Fasting: Weight Loss Has a New Best Friend

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Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBSGeneral Physician, 6+ Years
Published On : 27-Jun-2022Read Time : 5 minutes
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When you think of intermittent fasting, weight loss is the first thing that may pop up in your head. Intermittent fasting is the most recent trend in the health and wellness industry. But what is all the hype about? What has led to the rising popularity of intermittent fasting? Let's know more about it.

Contents:

  • What is Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss? 
  • How Does Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss Work? 
  • What is the Difference Between Fasting and Intermittent Fasting? 
  • How to Do Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss? 
  • Diet Plan for Intermittent Fasting 
  • Side Effects or Disadvantages of Intermittent Fasting 
  • Intermittent Fasting: Benefits Apart From Weight Loss 
  • Don’t Have Time To Read? 
  • FAQs 

What is Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you switch between periods of eating and fasting on a regular schedule. This fasting is not based on what foods you should eat, but on when you should eat them.

How Does Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss Work?

There are different types of approaches to do intermittent fasting, all of which are based on fixing schedules for eating and fasting. For example, you may eat only for a certain number of hours in a day and fast for the remaining hours of the day.

During the fasting hours, when your body is done using up all the glucose stored by it during the eating period, it starts burning the stored fat. This fat burning leads to weight loss. Intermittent fasting works by increasing the time period for which your body has exhausted the calories consumed by you during your last meal and starts burning fat. Intermittent fasting also reduces your overall calorie intake throughout the day, as you are fasting for certain hours of the day.

What is the Difference Between Fasting and Intermittent Fasting?

Fasting means you do not eat any food during a certain period of time, usually the entire day. In fasting, you may choose to only drink fluids with no calories or very less calories. Meanwhile, intermittent fasting focuses more on when you eat food, rather than avoiding the consumption of food throughout the day.

How to Do Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss?

For intermittent fasting, you need to decide how you want to incorporate it into your lifestyle. 

Some popular methods or approaches to intermittent fasting are as follows:

Time-Restricted Eating

This approach usually follows two options, the 16/8 or 14/10 method. For better understanding, the 16/8 method means you fast for 16 hours a day and eat only during the remaining 8 hours. Similarly, for the 14/10 method, you fast for 14 hours and eat for 10 hours of the day. The most common ways may be:

  • 16/8 method: Only eating between 10 am and 6 pm
  • 14/10 method: Only eating between 9 am and 7 pm

The Twice-a-Week Method or 5:2 Diet

In this approach, you follow a normal, balanced diet for 5 days in a week and for 2 non-consecutive days of the week, you consume no more than 500 to 600 calories.

Alternate Day Fasting

This method involves modified fasting on every alternate day. For example, you follow a regular diet for 24 hours and for the next day, limit your calorie intake to 500 per day or about 25% of your normal energy requirements.

The Eat-Stop-Eat Method

This method requires you to fast for a complete period of 24 hours in a week. For example, from breakfast one morning to breakfast the next morning.

Diet Plan for Intermittent Fasting

There is no specific intermittent fasting diet plan. During your eating period, try to follow a healthy balanced diet, made up of whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats, and lean protein in your meals.

Some things should be kept in mind while following intermittent fasting methods.

  • During the hours of fasting, consume non-alcoholic and no-calorie beverages for sufficient hydration. You can drink water, black coffee, or tea.
  • During your eating period, do not go overboard with food. Avoid junk food and limit the amount of food you eat.

Side Effects or Disadvantages of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting may not be for everyone. It may also take some time for your body to adjust to the new schedule. Here are a few disadvantages or side effects you may need to consider when trying intermittent fasting. 

Increased Hunger

It is the most common disadvantage or side effect of intermittent fasting. When you go for long hours without consuming any calories, you may experience increased hunger. This symptom usually shows up during the initial days of intermittent fasting. It may go away with time as your body adapts to regular fasting.

Digestive Problems

The reduction in food intake and changes in diet due to intermittent fasting can negatively affect your digestion, causing constipation, bloating, and diarrhoea. Intermittent fasting may also lead to dehydration, which can worsen constipation. It is recommended to stay hydrated during your fasting hours as your body needs liquids to allow bowel movements.

Fatigue and Low Energy

Studies have shown that people practising intermittent fasting may experience low energy and tiredness. Low blood sugar caused due to intermittent fasting can cause tiredness and dizziness in some people. Intermittent fasting may also lead to sleep disturbances and cause tiredness during the day.

Mood Disturbances

During intermittent fasting, your blood sugar levels might decline and this may cause mood changes such as irritability, anxiety, and low concentration. So, people with low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia should avoid intermittent fasting.

Bad Breath

Some people may experience bad breath during intermittent fasting. Dry mouth due to dehydration, lack of salivary flow, and the rise of acetone (a by-product of fat metabolism) levels in your breath can cause bad breath.

Intermittent Fasting: Benefits Apart From Weight Loss

Other than weight loss, intermittent fasting has several other evidence-backed benefits for your body. These include:

  • Practising intermittent fasting can reduce your body’s resistance to insulin and may lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative stress, which leads to ageing and other chronic health conditions. It can also decrease inflammation in the body, which can be a possible cause of many diseases.
  • Intermittent fasting may improve factors such as blood sugar, blood pressure, blood triglycerides, and cholesterol. These markers are associated with an increased or decreased risk of heart disease. Thus, intermittent fasting may be beneficial for heart health.
  • It induces cellular repair processes in your body. When fasting, the cells in your body initiate a cellular waste removal process, which involves the cells degrading and metabolising broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time.
  • Studies show that intermittent fasting may increase the growth of new nerve cells, improve levels of a brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and protect against brain damage due to strokes. Thus, it could be beneficial for brain health. 

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you switch between periods of eating and fasting on a regular schedule. 
  • During the fasting hours, when the body is done using up all the glucose stored by it during the eating period, it starts burning the stored fat. This fat burning leads to weight loss. 
  • Fasting means you do not eat any food during a certain period of time, usually the entire day. Meanwhile, intermittent fasting focuses on when you eat rather than avoiding the consumption of food throughout the day.
  • Some popular approaches to intermittent fasting are time-restricted eating (16/8 or 14/10 method), the twice-a-week (5:2) method, alternate day fasting. and the eat-stop-eat method.
  • There is no specific intermittent fasting diet plan. Try to follow a healthy and balanced diet, avoid overeating during your eating period, and stay hydrated during your fasting period. 
  • Some common side effects or disadvantages that arise due to intermittent fasting can be increased hunger, digestive problems, fatigue and low energy, mood changes, and bad breath.
  • Other benefits of intermittent fasting include a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, reduced oxidative stress, better heart health, and improved brain health.
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India's leading nutritionists and dieticians to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a Weight Management Program which provides 360º care. Start your weight management journey with Phable. 

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