is intermittent fasting really good for you?
Is intermittent fasting really good for you? This is a question we get asked a lot. Mainly by people who are trying to lose weight. They have read somewhere, or someone has told them, that if you don’t eat regularly, your body thinks you are entering a stage of famine. It slows down your metabolism accordingly in order to compensate, and a slow metabolism is not good news for anyone wanting to lose weight. We are here to tell you that this simply WILL NOT happen.
Intermittent fasting is an excellent, and very effective, strategy to follow if you want to lose weight.
So what is the real truth behind intermittent fasting? What actually is intermittent fasting? How do you do it correctly? Let’s start at the beginning:
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Put simply, intermittent fasting is a set period of time where you decide to go without eating. Whilst this could obviously be any amount of time you choose, there are two main strategies that have become the most popular.
1. Day Fast Strategy
The day fast is where you do not eat anything for a period of 24hours. This can be done once or twice a week. To make this method a little easier to do, people tend to have their last meal at around 6pm on one day, and then do not eat anything again until 6pm on the following day.
2. Two Thirds Strategy
This is by far the most popular strategy when it comes to intermittent fasting. You basically divide the day up into thirds and fast for 16 hours of the day, and eat during the remaining 8 hours of the day.
This is the method that we follow ourselves, and it is extremely effective. It is also much easier to keep up over a sustained period of time. It is our ‘go-to’ strategy if we are looking to lose weight extra fast for a special occasion, or something similar. We tend to have our last meal of the day at around 7pm, and then hold off having anything else until we have a brunch at around 11am. During the fast period we just drink plenty of water, and the occasional cup of black coffee or, even better, Green Tea.
This strategy can be used for a whole week or more, and can bring excellent results in a short period of time.
Now that we have covered exactly what we mean by intermittent fasting, let’s return to the confusion over metabolism mentioned earlier. Let’s clear this up straight away.
Is Intermittent Fasting a good way to lose weight?
The answer to this is an emphatic YES!
There is no evidence to suggest that if you do not eat 6 small regular meals a day, it will have an adverse effect on your metabolism.
This is a complete myth that has been around a long, long time. It appears to have been originally started by some poorly conducted research.
However, there is a huge amount of quality research that completely disproves this myth:
One of the largest meta-analyses performed on eating frequency concluded that there is No Difference in energy expenditure between nibbling and gorging. Study
In fact, quite the opposite has been shown to be true by numerous studies. Intermittent fasting, and not eating 6 regular meals a day, boosts fat burning.
Why you should definitely try Intermittent Fasting to lose weight
There are a number of excellent reasons why you should use intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight. Here are just a few of them:
1. Fewer Calories Consumed
It comes as no great surprise that if you restrict the window of time you spend eating, you naturally consume fewer calories. People who use intermittent fasting as part of a weight loss strategy, tend to lose between 3% – 8% more fat than people who follow an ordinary calorie controlled diet, and find it easier to stick to the diet too. Source
2. Boosting Metabolism
As mentioned earlier, despite the myths, intermittent fasting has actually been shown to boost metabolism by between 4% – 13% during the fasting period. Source
3. Reduces Belly Fat
It has been shown to help people lose a significant amount of weight from the waist area. Source
4. Preserves Lean Muscle Tissue
It is a scientific fact that muscle tissue burns up more calories than fat, even when you are just sitting on the sofa, so lean muscle is your friend.
Intermittent fasting is much more effective at helping the body to hold onto lean muscle tissue, compared to a normal calorie restricted diet. Therefore, intermittent fasting is far better when it comes to trying to lose weight. Source
5. Optimises Weight Loss Hormones
Intermittent fasting has a beneficial effect on a number of hormones related to weight loss, including:
a – Insulin
Insulin is produced when we eat. When insulin functions properly, the fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids and prevent them being stored in the body. When your body is more insulin resistant, fats circulate in your blood and, as a result, the body produces more insulin.
Intermittent fasting improves insulin sensitivity by lowering the levels of insulin in the body. This in turn aids in the fat burning process. Source
b – Leptin
Leptin is classed as the primary hormone when it comes to weight loss. It controls your eating by telling you when to stop eating and when to exercise. In the majority of the population, Leptin levels are low. It has been shown that during a fast, Leptin levels are normalised. Source
c – Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
As mentioned above, lean muscle gives your weight loss efforts a boost. Fasting raises the levels of HGH by some 2000%. Not only it is responsible for muscle growth, it also helps with fat loss too.
So, as you can see, Intermittent Fasting is definitely good for you. Especially if you are looking to lose weight. Not only that, but it also makes it so much easier to stick to a restricted calorie eating plan. As it makes no difference when you consume calories, you only need to work out what you are going to eat for 2 or 3 times during a day, rather than having to plan out 6 meals.
So why not give it a go? You could easily start by doing a complete 24hr fast. This would give your weight loss goals a real boost. Just make sure that when you have your meal at the end of the 24hrs, you don’t go overboard and eat all the wrong things. You can’t use a fast as an excuse to binge eat when it’s over!
If you struggle initially with feelings of hunger, try making an Apple Cider Vinegar drink as this works wonders for staving off the cravings you may experience when you first try a fast.
Once you get used to fasting every so often, why not switch to the second strategy that is the one we use so effectively. It doesn’t take long for it to become a normal way of life, and you will see some amazing weight loss results. Not only that, but you will feel healthier and have a lot more energy too.
Best of luck!