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Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Intermittent fasting has been a popular method of dieting for many years that focuses more on when you are eating, whereas a traditional diet is more concerned with what you are eating. Intermittent fasting has often been a polarizing topic among health and fitness enthusiasts, with some singing its praises and others considering it another gimmick in the world of diet trends. It all boils down to the individual, as with most things in life, but let’s take a look at exactly what intermittent fasting is to see if it can be an effective method of weight loss.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is all about when you eat rather than what you eat. It involves establishing a time pattern for when you eat and sticking to it. As the name suggests, you will have a period during which you can eat, and then you will fast (intentionally refrain from eating) at different times. There are various types of fasting diets to consider. Here is a look at some of the most popular approaches.
The 5:2 Diet
This diet does involve some calorie counting. The 5:2 diet focuses on eating between 500 and 600 calories for two days of the week, non-consecutively, and then eating a normal diet on the other days.
The 16/8 Diet
This is also a popular fasting diet method which involves an eight-hour period where you are able to eat and then fasting for a 16-hour period. The pattern is then repeated each day.
This method is a little more intense as it requires a long fasting period of 24 hours. This is done either once or twice during the week, and then you eat normally the rest of the time.
Intermittent fasting is all about reducing your food intake at certain times. Does it actually work?
Research on Intermittent Fasting
Studies looking at this way of eating show that some positive results can be achieved by intermittent fasting. Not only do these kinds of diets work well for many people because they do not have to drastically alter what kind of food they are consuming, but they have also been shown to help with weight loss and general health and even raise resistance to diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Studies have also suggested that intermittent fasting can help with health issues such as diabetes thanks to its ability to reduce and control both the glucose and the insulin concentrations in the bloodstream, sleep deprivation, inflammatory diseases, memory problems, physical fitness, and stomach problems like irritable bowel syndrome. It can also help with tissue health and heart health issues such as increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Based on these results, it appears that intermittent fasting can help significantly when it comes to a wide array of health issues, particularly chronic conditions, but it is important to remember that these are only short-term study results. There aren’t many studies available that document the long-term results of intermittent fasting, but it is likely to be very beneficial in the long-term as well.
Staying Safe While Intermittent Fasting
As with all diets, you have to stay safe and do your research before you even consider trying it out. It is best to discuss any diets you are considering with your primary care provider first. However, you should avoid intermittent fasting if you fall under any of the following categories:
You are pregnant or breastfeeding
You have blood sugar problems or diabetes
You have a history of eating disorders such as bulimia
You are under the age of 18
You have a chronic illness
Although the short-term studies have suggested that intermittent fasting can be beneficial to those with chronic conditions and those with diabetes, it is always best to check with your doctor before jumping into an intermittent fasting diet due to fasting possibly leading to drops in blood sugar levels. As mentioned, make sure to check with your general health care practitioner even if you don’t fall under any of the above categories to ensure that you stay safe and healthy.
There are a lot of benefits to be gained by intermittent fasting, and studies have shown that these kinds of diets are usually effective and not harmful. Nevertheless, every person reacts differently, so this type of diet may not be suitable for you even if it works well for others. Be sure to check with your doctor before you consider intermittent fasting.