Is Intermittent Fasting Effective for Weight Loss?
There are many ways to lose weight and one of the more popular ways is to use intermittent fasting. But what is it, and is it effective? We take a closer look.
Intermittent fasting has become a popular weight loss trend in recent years, especially in the world of fitness. But fasting is not a new concept; people have been using fasting for various reasons for centuries, and even Hippocrates encouraged fasting for weight loss.
With around 15 percent of people throughout the U.S. having used fasting at some point to lose weight, it’s safe to say that fasting is definitely a popular trend. But recently, new fasting trends have emerged, for examples, one is to fast for 24 hours, twice per week.
Different Intermittent Fasting Methods
Some of the most popular intermittent fasting methods include:
- Eat-Stop-Eat: As mentioned above, this involves fasting for 24 hours, twice per week. An example can be not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
- The 16/8 Method: This involves only eating during an eight-hour window every day, while fasting for the remaining 16 hours. For e.g. you can eat from noon to 8pm every day.
- The 5:2 Method: This requires only eating 500 – 600 calories for two days per week. You can eat normally during the rest of the week.
What Happens when You Fast?
With intermittent fasting, the body stores energy, and when you don’t eat, it has to resort to other methods to make the stored energy (fat) more accessible. This includes various changes, including changes in your nervous system, and hormone system.
Here are a few things that happen:
- Your insulin increases when you eat, so when you fast, your insulin decreases dramatically and this can facilitate fat burning.
- Your levels of human growth hormone (HGH) will also rise significantly during a fast, as much as five times its normal level. This can also support muscle gain and fat loss.
- Your nervous system sends out norepinephrine to the fat cells, allowing them to be broken down into free fatty acids so that it can be burned for energy.
It’s interesting to note that although eating multiple smaller meals per day, fasting for short periods at a time an actually help support fat loss. studies have also found that fasting for 48 hours can boost metabolism by up to 14 percent, but longer periods may suppress it.
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