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Intermittent Fasting: Is It Really Working? What Does the Science Say?

Intermittent Fasting: Is It Really Working? What Does the Science Say?
There are plenty of diets out there telling you what to eat and what not to eat. But, intermittent fasting is different. It’s all about timing. You are supposed to pick an ideal time to eat a meal. The question is, could it really be worth it? We decided to take a closer look at some of the most impactful studies about this eating pattern. First, let’s cover the basics.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is not a conventional diet but an eating habit. The idea is to juggle between fasting and eating periods. Typically, fasts can last from 16 to 24h two times a week. However, many people confuse intermittent fasting with time-restricted eating. Time-restricted eating is another eating habit. But, instead of juggling between meals, you can eat at specific hours of the day. There is an 8h window, for example from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. meant for eating.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

This eating pattern works by supporting the internal clock or circadian rhythm of the human body. It gives us enough time to process the food and get the system back on track. Most people choose to abstain from food during the night. They prefer the 16:8 fasting plan, which is 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours for eating. Because our metabolism slows down at night, people tend to eat food during the day.

Is It Effective For Weight Loss?

Intermittent fasting has countless health benefits. It can limit inflammation, manage the blood sugar, lipid levels, decrease blood pressure, and leave a positive impact on immune cells, published the National Institutes of Health. However, both intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating may not be that effective for weight loss. Based on a randomized clinical trial in 116 obese adults, time-restricted eating only provided a modest decrease in weight loss at 1.17%. While the other group that received consistent meals three times a day managed to reduce their weight by 0.75%.   Similar reports were noted in 27 trials for intermittent fasting. Weight loss results among volunteers ranged from 0.8% to 13% of the baseline of their body weight. But, they did manage to stabilize their hunger and control the cravings. Based on a different trial, time-restricted eating can help with obesity. Because of the restrictive eating window, people can have better control of their health condition. Question is of course if people (volunteers) eating within certain time frames tend to “compensate” and over-eat, which would mean increased caloric input and as such negatively influence weight-loss.

Conclusion

Intermittent fasting can be a healthy eating choice. As long as you stick to proper eating patterns, you can obtain the results you are hoping for. Although it may not be the ideal approach for weight loss, it can reduce blood pressure, manage blood sugar, inflammation, and more.  

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4257368/ https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2771095 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/oby.22756 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7021351/
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