It is no secret that many people are looking for ways to lose weight. One thing that has grown a lot of popularity nowadays is intermittent fasting.
Not like other weight loss regimens and diet programs, intermittent fasting does not restrict the kind of food that one eats. It does not matter what one eats, but when one eats. Many people however are still unsure if it really is effective. Thus, it poses the questions, "Does it work for weight loss?"
Before such a question could be answered, one first needs to know what intermittent fasting is. The said fasting method involves a cycle between periods of fasting and eating. Mostly, the said dietary pattern limits the time frame for all food consumption within just 6 to 8 hours of a day.
One example is the 16/8 intermittent fasting cycle. In this cycle, a person is allowed to eat anything within 8 hours but should abstain from consuming any food in the 16 hours that follow. There are also fasting cycles which involve cutting one's calorie intake in a week significantly, eating normally on others, and fasting for 24 hours once or twice weekly.
While most people use the method for weight loss, Healthline stated that several studies have associated intermittent fasting to other health benefits such as a decrease in cholesterol, improvement in blood sugar levels, and increased longevity.
Does it work for weight loss?
According to studies, there are several mechanisms caused by intermittent fasting that may be able to boost weight loss. One of which is that restricting meals in a certain time period may decrease one's calorie intake naturally, leading to weight loss.
In addition, in a study published in PubMed, it was found that intermittent fasting increases levels of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter and hormone which boosts the body's metabolism and may result to increase calorie burning.
Moreover, the dietary pattern may help reduce the levels of insulin in the body, thus, it can boost the fat burning process of the body promoting weight loss. Aside from weight loss, intermittent fasting can also help the body retain more muscle mass.
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Downsides of Intermittent Fasting
Although several studies have proven the effectiveness of intermittent fasting, it may not be a healthy choice for everyone.
People with chronic illnesses, children, pregnant and lactating women should avoid such dietary patterns or consult a professional before doing so. This is because these groups of individuals have several nutrition requirements that need to be fulfilled and fasting may cause problems.
In addition, people suffering from diabetes should also be careful before committing to intermittent fasting. This is because the said dietary plan may lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar levels which may result in hypoglycemia. Also, it may interfere with some medications.
There have been several diet ideas that have gained popularity over the years. From reducing intake of carbohydrates, increase in protein, and even some resort to not eating anything just to lose weight.
Intermittent fasting is just one of these, and many studies have suggested that it does work. However, it is always better to check with a doctor or nutritionist before engaging in any dietary patterns.