Intermediate Fasting: Fad or Effective?

Intermittent fasting: a short-lived fad or an effective way to shorten your waistline, build lean muscle and get results?

We’ve all heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But here we are. The year is 2018. And everyone is buzzing about intermittent fasting results. They claim that skipping breakfast can bring results—from less belly fat to improved focus.

 

Let’s get a closer look at the benefits of intermittent fasting.

INTERMITTENT FASTING DOES IT WORK?

Does intermittent fasting work? The simple answer is yes. Whether or not it will work for you just depends on your commitment.

For those of you who are new to the idea, let’s be clear. Intermittent fasting requires you to limit your calorie intake to a six-hour window. For most people, this means eating between the hours of 12-6.

If your goal is weight-loss, then the answer to “does intermittent fasting work?” is a resounding yes. By restricting yourself to two meals a day, you’ll eat fewer calories without having to limit what you eat. It really doesn’t get any easier than that.

Because you don’t have to adopt any particular eating habits, you can make intermittent fasting work with the paleo-diet, stick to gluten-free options, or even try out some great new vegan dinner recipes.

The question isn’t if intermittent fasting works, but will it work for you? That depends. Intermittent fasting has worked with Jimmy Kimmel, Beyoncé, Terry Crews, Hugh Jackman, and… you get the idea. That being said, it isn’t for everyone.

Inspired by Jimmy Kimmel, Good Housekeeping’s Ashley Walker decided to try the fast diet for herself. She described her experience as something like a road trip: she says skipping meals is like having to use the bathroom with no rest-stop in sight.

However, our friends at Nerdfitness assure us that a few days of skipping breakfast is all it takes to get used to a new eating schedule. If you’re used to eating throughout the day, expect hunger to creep up at your usual eating times. Hungry, less than pleasant mornings will pass after the first week or so, just as soon as your body adapts to the new routine.

Hungry first weeks, retraining your body… what’s it good for?

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Yes, intermittent fasting is great for losing weight. But it doesn’t just come down to calorie restriction.

According to Kris Gunnars, a researcher at HealthLine, intermittent fasting can boost your metabolism by anywhere between 3 and 14%. This means even if you eat as many calories in that six-hour window as you once did in an entire day, you’ll still manage to lose weight.

And the too good to be true, yet backed by science, results of intermittent fasting don’t stop there.

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can protect against diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. More research is needed to prove how effective fasting can be for preventing disease, but studies published so far have been promising.

At the risk of getting overly technical, let’s look closer at how intermittent fasting gets results.

When you fast, your hormone levels are changed—for the best. Insulin levels decrease, and human growth hormone increases. This shift makes it easier to burn fat while maintaining or building muscle. In fact, your body spends more time repair itself and working on removing waste when you fast. This means your body copes with less free radicals and harmful oxidative stress.

Why is this important? Besides preventing diseases, when you allow your body to remove these harmful compounds you’re actually doing your brain a favor. A healthy brain means clear focus and improved concentration.

 

Intermittent Fasting FAQ

            Can you drink water during intermittent fasting?

            The answer is yes… but it depends on who you ask. There’s nothing wrong with staying hydrated, and most people drink water while fasting. Terry Crews even sips on an amino acid cocktail in the morning during his fasts.

            However, Dr. Berg, a major figure in popularizing intermittent fasting, has his own theories. He claims that drinking too much-filtered water can actually dehydrate you.

            Next question: why is it important to fast for eighteen hours?

            The goal of intermittent fasting is for your body to use your stored energy (read: fat!) rather than just running on food alone. To do this, you need to exhaust your body’s stored glycogen.

            Some people fast for much longer than eighteen hours, even up to twenty-four hours at a time. Others fast on some days, but not others. You will benefit from incorporating intermittent fasting into your routine—in any way you can.

            What is the conclusion on intermittent fasting?

            The science behind intermittent fasting is sound. If you have the discipline to restrict your meals to a six (or so) hour-long period each day, you’ll like the results.

Intermittent Fasting on a budget? Check out this great article on how to budget while eating healthy.

Daniella Passwaters