14 percent of adults in the United States have used fasting as a method to lose weight. And when you consider that at any point in time 44 percent of Americans are dieting, this is no small statistic.
When most people think of losing weight, they believe they must restrict their food intake. A natural way to achieve results is by fasting. But, does it work?
Fasting strictly for weight loss isn’t going to help you reach your goals. However, newer, more informed approaches to fasting, such as intermittent fasting, can. Below, we’re going to discuss why fasting doesn’t work as a general weight loss strategy, the results of fasting on the body, and how you can use intermittent fasting to support your long-term weight loss goals.
WHY FASTING DOESN’T GUARANTEE WEIGHT LOSS
Just as calorie restriction slows the body down into a state commonly referred to as starvation mode, fasting achieves similar effects.
There is controversy within the dieting realm as to whether or not starvation mode actually exists. Regardless of the answer, restricting calories will cause a metabolic shift that slows the body down.
While on a fast, your appetite will be curbed helping you to feel less hungry and stay on track. Once you resume a typical diet after your fast, this suppression will subside and you may feel hungrier than usual. As you can imagine, weight gain often follows. In fact, many fasts can be likened to “crash diets” that work for a short period of time but don’t produce sustainable results.
HOW FASTING AFFECTS YOUR BODY
Fasting affects cellular repair, hormones, body fat, and other processes in the body. But before you begin a fast of your own, it’s important to understand what happens to your body when you do:
- Insulin levels drop – When you fast, blood levels of insulin drop. This causes your body to burn body fat.
- Human growth hormone (HGH) levels increase – In fact, they may increase up to five times their level during fasting. Studies reveal increased levels of HGH are associated with fat burning, muscle gain, and other weight loss- and fitness-related benefits.
- Cellular repair processes begin – While fasting, the body triggers important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from the body.
- The body protects against disease – Studies in recent years reveal that fasting may have a causal link with the protection against certain diseases, including cancer, and with other protective measures.
In general, the body will use glucose reserves during your fast and then begin burning fat for energy. This is what causes weight loss for many. However, upon eating again, you’ll restore glucose levels and most likely regain the weight that you “lost” during the fast.
INTERMITTENT FASTING: THE RIGHT WAY TO FAST?
Unlike traditional fasting which requires you to go without food for long periods of time, intermittent fasting does not. In fact, it’s most popular because it doesn’t change what you eat; it changes when you eat. By making a small change, you’ll realize several benefits as we will see below.
Intermittent fasting often involves skipping one meal per day, typically breakfast, so your body can enter the fasted state. The fasted state begins approximately 12 hours after your last meal. Once you enter the fasted state, your body will begin to use fat for energy, helping you to lose weight.
It’s important to differentiate between intermittent fasting and crash dieting because you must eat healthy, balanced meals throughout the remainder of the day. Doing so will help you maintain the weight loss achieved through this technique.
Most intermittent fasters will skip breakfast and eat two meals per day, often around 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. This allows your body to enter the optimum state to burn fat and reap other valuable rewards as well.
BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
If intermittent fasting has piqued your interest as a smart dieter, you aren’t alone. And if you decide to try this strategy for your own weight loss efforts, there are several potential benefits you stand to gain:
- Reduced belly fat – Because fasting lowers insulin levels, raises HGH levels, and raises norepinephrine throughout the body, you’re able to break down fat and use it for energy. This version of short-term fasting can increase your metabolism rather than slow it down like calorie restriction often does. Fasting also protects against muscle loss which is another common problem with using calorie restriction to lose weight.
- Reduced inflammation – Inflammation is a common source of many diseases. In several studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to fight inflammation, therefore protecting against many common conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
- Reduced heart health risk – Many studies focus on intermittent fasting as a method to reduce blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, all of which play a role in heart health.
Clearly, benefits will differ from person to person. However, it’s important to note that fasting, when done in a way that doesn’t just promote calorie restriction, is a beneficial tool in your weight loss arsenal.
FASTING, WHEN DONE PROPERLY, CAN CONTRIBUTE TO WEIGHT LOSS AND OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS
Fasting is not a weight loss solution. However, it can support weight loss efforts when incorporated into a healthy diet and exercise routine.
If you’re looking to lose weight and are already eating healthy, exercising regularly, and supplementing with a comprehensive weight loss formula such as PhenQ , intermittent fasting can bolster efforts and bring about the results you desire. Moreover, it can produce additional benefits such as protection against disease, fat loss, and a greater sense of general well-being.
Remember: You should never look upon fasting as a quick and dirty method for weight loss. Instead, you should view it as a pattern of eating you can use to support your healthy weight loss efforts and further your results. And when you follow through, you too can experience the many benefits it has to offer.