Intermittent Fasting: Everything You Need to Know

Article posted in: Nutrition
intermittent fasting

Although it’s one of the current hottest trends in the weight loss world, intermittent fasting has been around for generations. Intermittent fasting is not necessarily about what you eat, but rather when you eat it.

According to Healthline, intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating that alternates fasting and eating. There are no specific food guidelines when it comes to intermittent fasting, but it is said to help you consume fewer calories because you are eating within a smaller window of time. Fasting for any period can certainly help you drop pounds. However, it doesn’t always work in the long-term for certain diets, people and lifestyles.

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Read on to discover the pros and cons of intermittent fasting and if it’s right for you:

Fasting Facts

intermittent fasting

There are different types of intermittent fasting patterns with varying durations of eating versus fasting says Healthline. One of the more common patterns is the 16:8 method. Healthline explains that this involves an eight-hour eating window with 16 hours of fasting in between. With this strategy, people often skip breakfast and fast until the afternoon. However, you can select the eight-hour window that works best for you. Other strategies mentioned by Healthline include the Eat-Stop-Eat method (24 hour fasting once or twice a week), the 5:2 diet (restricting calories to 500-600 on two non-consecutive days during the week, following your regular diet on off days) and alternate-day fasting (fasting every other day). Depending on your lifestyle, one eating pattern may be more advantageous for simplifying and streamlining your diet

Weight Loss

weight loss

Skipping meals will temporarily restrict calories and may provide a drop in weight. However, it’s not very clear how intermittent fasting will benefit weight maintenance in the long-run. According to the International Journal of Obesity, intermittent fasting seems to be an effective strategy for weight loss. However, they also noted that “the long-term effect of chronic food restriction in humans is not yet clear.” A review published in the journal Cureus looked at four separate studies involving intermittent fasting. They found that intermittent fasting is beneficial to weight loss. It was also noted that more research is needed to determine whether it will help keep weight off in the long-run and any other long-term effects.

Hunger Hurdles

intermittent fasting

When you restrict your diet, you might experience hunger that can also lead to other uncomfortable symptoms that disrupt daily life. Whichever method of fasting you choose, you will need to adjust to the difference in diet and inevitable hunger pains during fasting periods. Hunger can accompany other associated issues, including fatigue, dizziness and irritability. Participants from a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition practiced alternate-day fasting for 22 days. They reported feeling hungry throughout fasting days, even after three weeks on the diet. The study questions the ability for subjects to maintain this eating pattern in the long-term.

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Risks and Benefits

intermittent fasting

For those who have the self-control to practice alternate fasting, it can take time to adjust to the restrictive meal pattern and discover which fasting cycle works best for you. Some research has pointed to positive effects from intermittent fasting. Healthline mentions that potential benefits include reduced insulin resistance, cholesterol and inflammation. However, it’s important to note that fasting isn’t right for everyone. We always recommend speaking with your doctor before making any dietary changes. Those who have a medical condition, history of eating disorders, take medications or are pregnant or breastfeeding should be especially careful and always consult a physician before changing their diet. At South Beach, we recommend eating five to six times daily to maintain a balanced eating schedule.

Is Fasting a Fad?

intermittent fasting

While research has shown that intermittent fasting can help people lose weight, there is still not enough evidence to determine if it’s the best permanent solution for living a healthy lifestyle. So, does IF deserve all this attention for its weight loss effects? A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine compared alternate-day fasting with a daily low-calorie diet. They found that ” Alternate-day fasting does not produce superior weight loss or weight maintenance compared with daily calorie restriction.” Intermittent fasting has been shown to help with weight loss, however, it is not the only way. If you think that this type of eating pattern will be beneficial, speak with your doctor to ensure it is the right method for you.

While trying different eating schedules and meal plans is perfectly normal, we think that building a smart, healthy foundation is the key to consistent weight control. Simply put, people should enjoy a balanced diet and practice healthy eating habits that they can maintain. Using the South Beach Diet guidelines and principles, you can create the baseline for healthy eating. We recommend focusing on eating balanced meals and snacks to promote healthy, balanced living.

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