Is Intermittent Fasting the Diet Plan for You? What You Need to Know
A recent study out of the UK is shedding more light on the effectiveness of intermittent fasting. If you have been trying to shed some pounds with little success, you may want to consider this new trend in dieting. Here is what you need to know about intermittent fasting and why it may work for you.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Before you decide if this diet plan is right for your needs, you need to understand exactly how it works. Also known as intermittent energy restriction, intermittent fasting is the process of timing your meals so that you cycle in out and out of voluntary fasting and eating over a certain time period. While there are multiple ways to achieve this fasting, the most common technique is to restrict all of your caloric intake to a period of eight hours, fasting for the additional 16 hours of the day.
Although the act of fasting in general goes back to ancient times, it has only been recently that the process has been used as a means to lose weight.
Latest Research Results
The concept of intermittent fasting has been picking steam in recent years as a viable way to lose weight without drastically changing what you eat. New promising research results out of the UK lends even more credence to this dieting strategy. The study found that intermittent fasting may be just as effective as other types of weight loss plans.
The results of the study conducted by Queen Mary University of London were published in late January. Researchers followed a group of 50 obese individuals over a period of 12 weeks as they followed the principles of intermittent fasting. The data demonstrated that those who followed the diet most strictly recorded the most significant weight loss compared to those who only loosely followed the plan.
However, even following the diet loosely led to a measurable amount of weight loss. On average, the participants lost approximately 5% of their body weight over the 12 weeks of the study.
Why Intermittent Fasting Works
The primary reason why medical experts believe that this plan works is simply because individuals practicing time-restricted eating tend to consume fewer calories overall. It is difficult to overcompensate in eating when you are restricting this activity to just eight hours of the day, particularly because these eight hours will typically fall during the busiest part of your daily routine.
Additionally, intermittent fasting also naturally reduces the amount of nighttime eating that you may be tempted to do. Many people struggle with losing weight because they overeat during the nighttime hours. This is especially problematic because the body's natural metabolism tends to slow down at night, making it more challenging to burn calories. If you are restricting your eating past the evening hours, you will also reduce the temptation to binge on that late-night snacking that may be hindering your weight loss efforts.
Some experts also believe that intermittent fasting may boost your metabolism. This is believed to happen as a result of fasting leading to a decrease in insulin levels. As these levels drop, the liver will be triggered to release glucose to compensate. This will decrease the body's short-term energy stores and force it to burn fat to find this energy.
Drawbacks of Intermittent Fasting
Before you think this diet technique is too good to be true, you need to understand the drawback associated with this plan. Many people find short-term success in intermittent fasting, however, find it difficult to maintain the plan for an extended period of time. In addition, some people believe that only eating eight hours per day gives you a free pass to eat whatever you want during this time period. The truth is that you still need to make good food choices during this time of non-fasting.
It is important to note that this diet plan may not be a good choice for everyone. As with any diet, it is always a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider before starting. This is particularly important if you have underlying health conditions. Additionally, it is crucial that you are intentional about getting in enough nutrients during the non-fasting periods of whatever plan you choose.
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