Intermittent fasting might help you lose weight, but is it healthy?
If you’re working on losing weight or living healthier, one approach you might have tried — or at least heard of — is intermittent fasting, an umbrella term for various diets that cycle between a period of fasting and nonfasting during a defined period.
The idea behind intermittent fasting is that by limiting your eating to either a certain number of hours per day or to a certain number of days per week, you ideally eat less calories overall. Fasting also forces the body to use fat for energy instead of glucose.
Most of the research on intermittent fasting focuses on three main fasting regimens. First, there’s complete alternate-day fasting, which is alternating fasting days — during which no energycontaining foods or beverages are consumed — with eating days.
Then there’s modified fasting, which recently became popular with the release of the book “The Fast Diet,” also known as the 5:2 diet. This calls for two nonconsecutive days of modified fasting (consuming only 500-600 calories) and five days of eating normally. Lastly, there’s timerestricted feeding, which involves following the same eating routine each day, with a certain number of hours (typically 14-16) designated as the fasting window and the remaining hours as the feeding window.
Some studies show that alternate-day fasting can result in a 3 percent to 7 percent weight loss as well as improve cholesterol, blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.
Sounds great, right? But how many of us have actually fasted for 24 hours straight? I’m not sure I’ve ever genuinely not eaten anythin g for a full 24 ho urs. Imagine doing that every other day! It’s not surprising that in studies, subjects assigned this regimen complain of severe hunger, headaches and difficulty concentrating and sleeping. The highest dropout rates in these studies are subjects doing alternatedayf asti ng.Honestly,thismethod doesn’t seem to be very practical for most.
Of all the fasting regimens I’ve read about, time-restricted feeding seems to be the most doable to me. Proponents of this fast-