Posted on Jan 01, 2020, 3 p.m.
In a society where food is everywhere and on demand/available 24/7 a diet that forbids eating for hours at a time may seem like it may not do well, but increasing amounts of groups and apps are appearing for those who practice intermittent fasting.
After reading about the diet it really doesn’t seem to be that hard, you can start by having a late breakfast and skipping night time eating, then eventually progress to a 60 day challenge of fasting every other day, there are several forms of intermittent fasting to choose from and tailor.
Studies on the potential benefits of intermittent fasting are still limited including the effectiveness with weight loss, but what is available indicates positive results/benefits. Heading into the new year, it may be worth looking more into the practice of intermittent fasting. However, like any diet it is recommended to consult with your doctor or certified medical professional before beginning any diet, and it is not recommended for children, those on certain medications, and those with a history of eating disorders.
The practice of intermittent fasting may help you to lose weight by setting boundaries around food, but rather than limiting what you can eat, it restricts the window of time when you can eat. Basically it is a way to fool your body into eating less calories, according to Krista Varady, who is studying intermittent fasting at the University of Illinois.
Intermittent fasting is said to force the body to start burning fat for fuel after depleting the energy that it normally would get from food. However, effects depend on the specific approach taken and there really isn’t any strong evidence yet that intermittent fasting has any unique effects, according to Varady.
One of the more popular approaches to intermittent fasting is to limit all eating to be done within an 8 hour window which is followed by a 16 hour fasting window, and the time restrictive feeding schedule can include time you are sleeping which makes it easier to follow than some other approaches.
Intermittent fasting approaches can be tailored to make the eating window longer or shorter, depending on the needs to suit the individual person. Some people may go as far as to only eat one meal a day, and some may eat in a 10 hour window while others fast for an entire day a few times a week. Whatever the approach when in the eating window people are not to gorge themselves. Dr. Jason Fung, an expert on the topic says that it is a myth that fasting will leave you feeling famished.
According to Sumaya Kazi intermittent fasting only seems to be more difficult than it really is because in today’s super sized society overeating has sadly become the norm, and she suggests that this approach is more of a mental challenge than a physical one.
Obesity specialist Dr. Fatima Stanford at Harvard Medical School reminds people that every individual will react differently to different diets, and fasting may be easier/harder for some than it is for others. “There’s no one size fits all,” she said.
Recently obesity experts have become very interested in intermittent fasting approaches as more studies emerge, but not all are convinced due to the limited research. “Unfortunately, intermittent fasting gets a little hyped,” said Courtney Peterson, who studies the diet at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Peterson notes that some fasting approaches may be more effective than others, and cites the difficulty of designing studies that definitively capture the effects of a diet which is in part because of there being so many other variables that may be in play.
Researchers are studying intermittent fasting and looking at things such as whether any of its benefits may be tied with when the eating period falls and fluctuation in how well the body processes food throughout the day.
Still some experts suggest that intermittent fasting may be too difficult for some to adhere too, and point to a study of a 100 people placed on an alternate day fasting group losing the same amount of weight as those who were on conventional calorie restriction diets over time; but the fasting group had a 38% dropout rate with the conventional diet group having a rate of 29%.
Varady points out that intermittent fasting may be easier than other diets for those who are already skipping meals when they are too busy due to an active schedule. She suggests that people should pick diets that resemble how they already eat to make weight loss easier and stick. “Different diets do work for different people,” she said.
Materials provided by:
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.