For most of us, following a whole vegetable or fruit based diet is the right way to maintain good weight and health. However, for some, it does not work even if they combine with a daily workout regimen. Also, many of us cannot stick strictly to the diet plan, probably because they cannot resist food temptation or they simply love eating too much. In fact, they should have good digestive systems. Have you tried many tricks to get rid of those extra calories or lose excess body fat, yet not able to find effective results? Then, here is the ultimate answer for your search. In this article you will understand the strong link between – intermittent fasting and weight loss.
There are incredible benefits that fasting offers. But, fasting is never recommended as an answer for weight loss. You can jump-start the weight loss program by simply resetting your appetite so that you can enjoy eating healthy foods. However, maintaining optimal weight is possible only through the intake of proper and healthy diet, but not through prolonged fasting that is again followed by junk food habits.
Why Do We Feel Hungry?
So, what is a proper diet? Is the diet same for anyone? There have been many studies conducted over the years on intermittent fasting, for both general health and weight loss, it is revealed that our daily food habits that we follow in today’s world – 3 meals a day with one or two coffee-break, evening nibbles, and pick-me-ups – is developed recently in the human history. This type of diet was not available earlier, and it is still the same in the undeveloped locations around the globe.
So, what about skipping meals? Is it healthy or unhealthy? What happens if you skip taking food for a specific time period? Many of us are aware that the excess food that we consume is accumulated as fat in our body. So, when we do not eat food, this accumulated fat is burnt to keep us get going till we eat more food. There are two types of enzymes we need – one type that helps us store the fat and the other type to mobilize the stored fat. But, there is no need of burning fat when we are eating food throughout the day. Obviously, it takes about 8 – 12 hours of time for the digestion and assimilation of the food, so many of us do not really need to mobilize fat.
But, when the body is not doing anything, it tends to not preserve the catalysts such as enzymes – which are required to do the task. Many of us know what happens when we do not exercise, and we also know what to do to get back to shape. It is all about implementation.
We can develop the enzymes that let you switch simply from burning glucose to burning fat. However, it takes time. You feel hungry during this process. Sometimes, you may feel very hungry, and may be uncomfortable too. Even after developing the enzyme systems you may still feel hungry. However, it does not cause any side effects.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
What is intermittent fasting? How does it work on humans? Why do we do it? What is the link between intermittent fasting and weight loss?
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a kind of calorie restriction. It has been studied thoroughly for a long time mostly in mice and rats. It was found that animals fed on a restricted diet lived longer than that had unlimited food. With the same hope of extending their lives, many people as well are relying on calorie restriction diet. But, it is not as easy as it sounds. It is uncomfortable too. You may become weak and gaunt if you try restricting food. There is a small difference between Calorie Restriction and Intermittent Fasting – that is the part “intermittent” – calories are restricted here too but only for some time.
Even the studies have proved that intermittent fasting results are more effective than of calorie restriction. Though both of them live longer, intermittent fasters do not lose muscle mass.
Intermittent Fasting Plans
Now that you have understood about intermittent fasting, here are the types of plans that you can try:
The Alternate Day Fasting Plan: ADMF (Alternate Day Modified Feeding) or ADF (Alternate Day Fasting) is one of the popular forms of intermittent fasting. ADMF is a fasting system developed by the researcher Dr. Krista Varady from the University of Illinois, Chicago. The plan works on alternate days – one fasting day followed by one feeding day, and so on. In ADMF, you will be eating only a small meal during the fasting day – 600 calories meal for men and 500 calories for women. You will not have any restrictions during feeding days.
Dr. Krista Varady observed that, contrary to usual expectations, her subjects did not become crazy eaters on feeding days. They used to eat only about 110% of what they usually eat on a normal day. This resulted ADMF as an effective weight loss strategy, but it has its tough sides, particularly in social aspects. Family and friends will have a harder time tracking your feeding days and fasting days. However, it is the best plan if you have so much of weight to lose.
The 5:2 Plan: 5:2 plan is the most-manageable yet effective plan of intermittent fasting. It was popularized by Dr. Michael Mosley on BBC with Horizon TV program. He talked about it in his book too, named – The Fast Diet. During the plan, you will choose two fasting days (consecutive days) per week – where you will eat only 500 – 600 calories. Though there are no restrictions for the 5 feeding days, you may prefer eating healthy diet.
The Restricted Eating Window Plan: This is another version of intermittent fasting, probably the easiest IF plan. This plan is based on a study conducted on two groups of mice at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. During the study, both the groups received unhealthy high-fat food. However, one group has the access to the food round-the-clock while the other group had only 8 hours access to the food and need to remain fasting for the rest of 16 hours.
After 3 months, the group with unlimited food access high blood glucose, liver damage, and high cholesterol, whereas the limited food access group gained 28% lesser weight than the other group with less liver damage. The second group also had less chances of inflammation, which is very crucial in cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke and heart disease. This plan works better for healthy lifestyle and longer life span.
Intermittent fasting is an effective weight-control tool with an additional benefit of improving your overall health and fitness. You can choose one among the three suggested IF plans depending on your convenience and weight loss goals. While ADMF is the best among the 3 if you have so much of weight to lose, 5:2 plan can be transformed to 6:1 plan once you get nearer to your weight-loss goal.