Intermittent fasting for weight loss?
Evidence based pros & cons
Curious whether intermittent fasting will yield the best results for weight loss? And your health? We’ll review the most recent evidence on the topic.
Intermittent fasting is among a variety of diets right now. Even though it has been around for a while, it has gained popularity over the past 2 years.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting involves a fast. It’s the “intermittent” part that sets this fast apart from annual religious fasts. In most intermittent fasting diets you can only eat for less than 8 hours and fast for the remainder of the day. This means that you fast for a range of 16 hours in a day on certain days. On other days you would have the freedom to eat and meet energy requirements.
Many have claimed that these diets have various health benefits such as improving glucose homeostasis, boosting energy, increasing growth hormone production, reducing inflammation, decreasing oxidative stress, lowering triglyceride levels, increasing & protecting brain function, lowering blood pressure, increasing resistance to age-related diseases like immune disorders, cancer, heart disease, stroke, eye disease, Alzheimer’s and promoting longevity!
Are these claims true?
A lot of these claims have been made based on animal studies. Although some rodents are clever ones, a rat body and a human body don’t work the same way, and therefore it’s harder to conduct those studies on humans due to many influencing factors. The ones performed on humans are pretty limited, but do show some exciting results that intermittent fasting as a possible approach to benefiting human health as well! It is important to mention that these studies had mixed results, so we can’t make super clear cut conclusions.
Pros and Cons of Intermittent Fasting
|Promoting health & weight loss||Interference with the social aspect of eating|
|Reduces fat free mass||Gets hungry, low energy & unproductive|
|Increases brain functioning||Fasting = Binge|
|No change in diet||Digestion problems|
|Simple||Unclear impact on heart|
|Larger portions in a shorter time||Potential long-term health consequences (especially for women)|
|Potential weight gain|
No difference in results to calorie restriction
Personally, I’m not convinced by the research conducted till now. I believe that any “diet” that requires you to disregard your body’s innate hunger and satiety cues is not likely to be sustained. Ultimately, the goal of a diet is not to cause your body to go under any sort of chronic stress. Instead, to nurture and show it some love by taking care of it, starting with a foundation of a nutritious diet.