Intermittent fasting entails extending fasting periods and eating only during specific times. There are several intermittent fasting methods available, and they are frequently said to promote weight loss and improve health.
Existing research, however, reveals inadequate information to draw firm conclusions about the true advantages and risks of intermittent fasting. Is this the new wonder diet?
What exactly is Intermittent Fasting and How does intermittent fasting work?
Intermittent fasting, also known as “fasting” in English, is a type of eating that involves alternating periods of food intake with periods of fasting that can be as long as 24 hours.
The following are the most common intermittent fasting programs:
The 16:8 diet (or ALT for “time-restricted diet”) consists of eating only 8 hours each day and fasting for 16 hours. In reality, the most typical intermittent fasting is skipping breakfast and eating solely between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The 5:2 diet requires you to eat regularly for 5 days before substantially reducing your energy consumption for the next two days. In practice, depending on whether we are a male or a woman, we consume 500 or 600 kcal each day.
Fasting every other day is known as alternate day fasting.
While considering intermittent fasting, you must choose the program that is best suited to your lifestyle in order to continue it over time.
Furthermore, intermittent fasting is not always hypocaloric: eating for short periods of time does not always result in a reduction in calorie consumption.
What foods are permitted during intermittent fasting?
Is there anything you can’t eat when fasting?
Whenever intermittent fasting program is used, the diet’s principal concentrates on the times of ingestion rather than the type of food.
No food is permitted during the feeding phases. Therefore, it is recommended that those who practice intermittent fasting be very diligent about providing enough nutrients throughout meals to avoid potential deficits.
It is thus feasible to eat anything, but if weight loss is the goal, it is best to limit caloric intake during the day.
Third, it is possible and even vital to continue to hydrate with non-caloric beverages such as water, tea, herbal teas, and so on during fasting periods.
Can I drink coffee with intermittent fasting?
Because coffee without sugar is a calorie-free beverage, it is possible to continue drinking it during the restriction stages of intermittent fasting.
Coffee, like any other food, should be drunk in moderation, and water should be the drink of choice.
Furthermore, coffee should not be used to conceal weariness associated with the practice of intermittent fasting. It is recommended that you consult your doctor if you are experiencing severe weariness.
What are the scientifically verified advantages of intermittent fasting?
What science has to say about intermittent fasting
The goal of intermittent fasting and its restriction phases is to:
Putting digesting mechanisms to rest for longer than usual durations of time
Encourage the utilization of ketone bodies from adipose tissue (fat) rather than glucose (sugar) from the liver in the metabolic shift.
Consequently, intermittent fasting is thought to encourage the usage of fat, resulting in weight loss while also enhancing metabolic health parameters. So what are the studies saying?
Several studies, for example, have investigated the effects of intermittent fasting on:
- Insulin control, the hormone that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood (glycemia), and diabetes
- Lipids in the blood (cholesterol and triglycerides) and cardiovascular disease
- Factors that cause inflammation
- Cancer and other chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s
At the moment, scientific investigations on intermittent fasting occasionally fail on a methodological level. Furthermore, according to the studies, the outcomes are frequently modest and variable, particularly in real-life tests. Secondly, because existing intermittent fasting programs are so diverse, it is impossible to generalize the benefits of intermittent fasting when they are observed.
As a result, investigations on the efficacy and safety of intermittent fasting on weight loss and long-term health in humans have yet to be completed.
Weight loss and intermittent fasting
How much weight may be lost by intermittent fasting?
Again, research on the relationship between intermittent fasting and weight loss yields conflicting results.
The results of the most rigorous research and meta-analyses (reviews of scientific literature) on intermittent fasting on weight loss are mixed. INSERM also states that “most publications do not reveal any superiority of the intermittent diet (whatever its modalities) in terms of weight loss compared to other diets.”
Indeed, weight loss is mostly caused by calorie reduction rather than by the distribution of these contributions. So, regardless of the procedure, the trials reveal moderate and equivalent weight decreases in the context of caloric restriction (for example: continuous restriction, restriction every other week and calorie restriction on the 5:2 intermittent fasting model).
Nonetheless, as compared to other restrictive diets, intermittent fasting offers the advantage of alleviating stress. Intermittent fasting does impose timetables, but no food options.
It needs to be seen whether people on intermittent diets “overcompensate” by eating more during meal windows. In fact, calorie restriction can significantly increase hunger, compensatory eating behavior, and irritation.
There have been no research on isocaloric intermittent fasting, which is defined as identical energy consumption over a set period of time. This could encourage daily metabolic alternation and be better tolerated by patients, but weight reduction studies are still ongoing.
Many factors influence the amount of weight loss that can be expected through intermittent fasting:
- The initial weight
- Resistance to weight loss
- Whether or whether intermittent fasting and calorie restriction are connected…
To summarize, intermittent fasting may result in weight loss, but it is not a miraculous diet. Focusing on eating habits may result in better long-term weight effects.
How long should you fast intermittently to lose weight?
Results, as with any weight loss program, are dependent on maintaining intermittent fasting over time.
Long-term adherence to diets is often low, whether it’s an intermittent fasting program or not. Dropouts can be seen along the way in various research on the intermittent diet.
Indeed, restricted programs cause the body’s signals to battle against its own demands ( hunger, desire to eat , etc.). As a result, maintaining them over time is challenging, and weight regain is typical when the diet is discontinued (80% at one year and 95% at five years).
Responding to physical feelings and skipping meals in the absence of hunger may be more prudent than adhering to a regular meal-time schedule.
In all circumstances, medical and paramedical assistance is strongly advised if you wish to lose weight and focus on your eating habits to promote long-term weight loss.
Is intermittent fasting dangerous?
Intermittent fasting can have serious consequences. The following side effects may occur depending on the individual and the duration of the fast:
- Tiredness or lethargy
- A strong desire to eat Constipation
To this might be added the detrimental consequences of calorie restriction on weight loss diets:
- Muscle atrophy
- Inadequate mineral and vitamin consumption
- a reduction in bone capital
- Cardiovascular and hepatic problems
- Weight regain following diet discontinuation Negative affects on self-esteem…
Aside from the physical concerns, intermittent fasting can disrupt social life by limiting outings and convivial meals. This is also a reason why people give up intermittent fasting in the medium or long term.
Finally, intermittent fasting is not advised in the following situations:
Anorexia is an example of an eating disorder.
When you are already underweight (body mass index less than 18.5 kg/m2) In pregnant or breastfeeding women
To limit the hazards, the intermittent diet, like any caloric restriction, should be supported by medical supervision.