Intermittent Fasting - PROS and CONS
Is it good for me? Does it work?
Let’s cut the chase, the secret of any type of diet is creating a calorie deficit, hence by introducing time restricted eating in our routine, one eats less calories, ie. creating a deficit.
So yes, intermittent fasting works, and research has shown us weight loss outcomes varying between 0.8 to 13% from baseline weight. However these outcomes were comparable to other calorie restricting diets, showing no significant benefits of one over the other. So the question is not whether intermittent fasting works but whether looking at the approach holistically would work for you as an individual.
Intermittent fasting consists of creating an eating window which is restricted to certain times of the day/ multiple days a week, separated by periods of fasting. Examples include the 16:8 method, eating for 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours and the 5:2 approach, eating for 5 days a week and then having 500/600 calorie meals on the remaining 2 days.
During the periods of fasting, the body would use the body’s glycogen stores to release glucose or use macronutrients (Carbs/Fat/Proteins) to make glucose for energy. The liver has enough glycogen stores to provide the body with glucose for up to 12 hours, after which the stores would become depleted and the body would start breaking down fats into what are known as ketones to provide energy, sparing some glucose for the brain.
That being said, to date few published studies have assessed the long term weight loss outcomes of intermittent fasting on humans and its risk factors since most studies were based on short-durations (8weeks to 1 year) and a limited number of people (N=10 to 244).
Since the role of intermittent fasting in weight loss is one of the most common questions I encounter in my profession, I’ve compiled a number of PROS and CONS to help clients make an informed individualised decision as to whether intermittent fasting would be a sustainable solution to their lifestyle.
To date, research showscomparable results of intermittent fasting to long term moderate calorie restricting diets. The decision to take the intermittent fasting approach, as with any other diet, needs to come from the individual and the person needs to engage with it. The role of the professional is there to help the client identify the potential barriers for it to be sustainable and practical.
Thank you for reading ! If you would like to discuss further get in contact with me to get started.
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