Fasting and weight loss
When you eat, your body reacts to the energy you’ve just provided by producing insulin. That’s a great thing. Insulin is a crucial hormone that allows your body to use the glucose you’ve consumed for energy. When you aren’t eating (the “fast” between meals), insulin is low, and the body begins burning the energy stored away in fat cells.
SO, if you are always eating (think small meals and snacks, even if they’re healthy choices), and insulin is ALWAYS burning glucose from the food you’re ingesting… when does the the body have time to burn the fat?
Intermittent Fastng is a simple pattern of eating that shifts between designated periods of fasting (not eating at all ) and periods of eating. Exactly when and for how long the fasting periods last depends on individual choice. By extending the periods between your meals you allow your glucose to lower and give the body a chance to do what it does naturally. Burn fat for energy!
Potential Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
A lot of research has been done to determine if intermittent fasting is safe, effective for weight loss, and beneficial for overall health. The results indicate that this style of eating can help with weight loss and can provide a number of health benefits, while risks are seemingly low.
Lose Body Fat
A benefit of intermittent fasting is that it seems to promote fat loss, not just weight loss. Fasting triggers human growth hormone, which is beneficial for fat loss and muscle gain. Fasting also increases insulin sensitivity, another hormone change that results in loss of fat.
A Simplified lifestyle
One of the best things about this pattern of eating is that it isn’t actually a diet. Counting calories, restricting certain foods, sticking with a paleo or keto diet that dictate what you can eat, but intermittent fasting only dictates when you can eat.
This is an approach to weight loss that is much simpler. You can technically eat whatever you want. The only stipulation is that you restrict when you eat. Of course if you decide to use your eating times to binge and eat nothing but junk, weight loss probably won’t happen.
Other Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Weight and fat loss are important benefits of this eating pattern, but there are others:
- Lowered blood sugar and reduced insulin resistance
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced cancer risk
- Improved side effects from chemotherapy
- Lower LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Improved brain health
- Extended lifespan
One special way to do time-restricted feeding (or intermittent fast) is OMAD. OMAD stands for “one meal a day”. An OMAD plan is a 23:1 fasting-to-eating window, which means you’ll fast for 23 hours a day and eat your food (and get all your calories) in one hour. Normally this involves waiting until dinner to break your OMAD fast, but ultimately it could be any meal. It can technically be a 22:2 plan as well, if you eat your one meal’s worth of food slowly. People typically do OMAD to improve their health, lose weight, or both.
Who should not try it
Anyone with an existing medical condition should check with their physician before proceeding. Some of the common groups for which intermittent fasting is NOT advised include:
- Children and teens
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Diabetics and others with metabolic disorders
- Anyone who uses medications that require food intake
- Anyone with a history of disordered eating (e.g. anorexia or bulimia nervosa).
Last but not least, always listen to your body if something feels wrong. It’s better to play it safe and check with a healthcare professional.