Are you swayed by ads flashing on the Internet (and TV or elsewhere) that claim to have discovered ‘the secret to dropping extra body weight’ or ‘the one magical method of losing belly fat’? Welcome to the club of gullible believers! Americans contribute countless hours and billions of dollars on every possible hack and don’t shy away from anything to make that fat disappear!
But do these really work? Are these people really revealing that secret? Sorry to burst the bubble, but NO! (Yeah, we were bummed to hear that too!)
There are claims that will make you want to bite the bait and want to be svelte and there are ways that will make you get the sexy bod of your dreams.
Excess body weight can not only be ugly and embarrassing, but it can also be dangerous for your health. It is the culprit behind so many health issues, and can disturb both your personal and professional lives. Although there’s no substitute for exercising daily and eating healthy, a few hacks may actually speed up the weight loss process.
A study makes the writing on the wall amply clear: If you truly want to lose fat, intermittent fasting is the perfect tool (1).
In this article, we will tell you how intermittent fasting can be the secret to help you deal with your unmanageable weight.
Intermittent fasting is one of the ways that can help you achieve successful weight loss and also help to maintain it. Essentially, intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. It works to change body composition through loss of fat mass and weight, and also lessen the risk of some health concerns, including blood pressure and cholesterol levels. (2)
Types of Intermittent Fasting?
There are mainly three types of intermittent fasting that involves splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods:
- The 16/8 Method: In this method, you can skip breakfast every day and then eat during an 8-hour feeding window. It can improve some health-related issues, greater fat mass loss, and maintain muscle mass in resistance-trained males. (3, 4)
- Eat-Stop-Eat: Once or twice a week, try to fast for 24 hours. It is shown to have amazing effects on weight and overall health. (5, 6)
- III. The 5:2 Diet: Here you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days (7).
How Intermittent Fasting Affects Hormones and Cells?
There are numerous changes that occur in your body on the cellular and molecular level when you are fasting. Read on to understand more on the effects of intermittent fasting on our body:
- The amount of fat you carry is directly linked to your Human Growth Hormone production. Lower HGH level may negatively influence your health; you can gain fat and develop the risk of getting sick (8). Intermittent fasting is effective in building Human Growth Hormone levels (9, 10, 11).
- There is a link between lower levels of insulin sensitivity and higher amounts of belly fat (12, 13). Intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways to improve insulin sensitivity (14).
- When fasting, your cells initiate cellular repair processes (15, 16).
- There are changes in the function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease (17, 18).
Intermittent Fasting Can Help Lose Weight
Many studies show that intermittent fasting accelerates weight loss. A study published by ‘Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology’ showed that people who shed a great amount of weight in a short period of time were on intermittent fasting (19).
How does it work?
The fat burning benefits of intermittent fasting happen because of several factors. Some of these are:
- Lowers Insulin levels: Intermittent fasting boosts insulin levels that helps the body use up stored fat instead of glucose. Moreover, it develops your adiponectin levels, which helps in improving insulin sensitivity to support weight loss and diabetes. (20)
- Improves Cholesterol: Fasting for certain periods may help improve cholesterol levels. Although improved cholesterol level doesn’t have any direct connection with weight loss, obese and overweight people are more prone to have severely high LDL and VLDL cholesterol and the cardiovascular risk that grows with it. (20)
- Boosts metabolism: Some animal studies showed that intermittent fasting also stimulates fat, protein, and glucose metabolism. Boosting your resting metabolism assists you in burning more calories throughout the day. (21, 22)
- Reduces inflammation: Reducing inflammation is the key to losing weight, longevity, and diminishing your risk of major ailments. Intermittent fasting is proven to decrease oxidative stress and inflammation. (7)
At the end of the day, intermittent fasting (or intermittent eating, whichever way you look at it) is a valuable tool to lose weight. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that although a person is not required to eliminate certain foods from their diet, they should still aim to eat a balanced diet rich in fiber, protein, and vegetables.
Be mindful of getting adequate amounts of nutrients that are vital to overall health and wellness of the body. You can join SuperFood WeightLoss Accelerator program to learn more about which nutrients to eat and how much to eat. SFWLA may help you understand all your nutritional needs and thereby help you achieve weight loss goals.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements and/or product(s) described in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease, illness or health condition. It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet or dietary supplement program.
- Johnstone, A. “Fasting for weight loss: an effective strategy or latest dieting trend?.” International Journal of Obesity. 39:5 (2015): 727. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25540982
- “Diet Review: Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss”. Harvard T.H. Chan. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/intermittent-fasting/
- Moro, Tatiana, et al. “Effects of eight weeks of time-restricted feeding (16/8) on basal metabolism, maximal strength, body composition, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors in resistance-trained males.” Journal of translational medicine. 14:1 (2016): 290. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5064803/
- Aragon, Alan A., et al. “International society of sports nutrition position stand: diets and body composition.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 14:1 (2017): 16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5470183/
- Collier, Roger. “Intermittent fasting: the science of going without.” CMAJ. (2013): E363-E364. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3680567/
- Collier, Roger. “Intermittent fasting: five quick questions with fasting expert Brad Pilon.” (2013): E362-E362. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3680566/
- Patterson, Ruth E., et al. “Intermittent fasting and human metabolic health.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 115:8 (2015): 1203-1212. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4516560/
- Caroll, P. V. “Growth hormone deficiency in adulthood and the effects of growth hormone replacement: a review.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 83 (1998): 382-395. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/83/2/382/2865179
- Hartman, Mark L., et al. “Augmented growth hormone (GH) secretory burst frequency and amplitude mediate enhanced GH secretion during a two-day fast in normal men.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 74:4 (1992): 757-765. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1548337
- Ho, Klan Y., et al. “Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man.” The Journal of clinical investigation. 81:4 (1988): 968-975. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3127426
- Blackman, Marc R., et al. “Growth hormone and sex steroid administration in healthy aged women and men: a randomized controlled trial.” Jama. 288:18 (2002): 2282-2292. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12425705
- Hardy, Olga T., Michael P. Czech, and Silvia Corvera. “What causes the insulin resistance underlying obesity?.” Current opinion in endocrinology, diabetes, and obesity. 19:2 (2012): 81. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4038351/
- Schenk, Simon, et al. “Improved insulin sensitivity after weight loss and exercise training is mediated by a reduction in plasma fatty acid mobilization, not enhanced oxidative capacity.” The Journal of physiology. 587:20 (2009): 4949-4961. https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/jphysiol.2009.175489
- “Intermittent fasting: Surprising update”. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156
- Kim, Insil, and John J. Lemasters. “Mitochondrial degradation by autophagy (mitophagy) in GFP-LC3 transgenic hepatocytes during nutrient deprivation.” American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology. 300:2 (2010): C308-C317. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21106691
- Alirezaei, Mehrdad, et al. “Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy.” Autophagy. 6:6 (2010): 702-710. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3106288/
- Zhu, Yueming, et al. “Metabolic regulation of Sirtuins upon fasting and the implication for cancer.” Current opinion in oncology. 25:6 (2013): 630. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24048020
- Martin, Bronwen, Mark P. Mattson, and Stuart Maudsley. “Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting: two potential diets for successful brain aging.” Ageing research reviews. 5:3 (2006): 332-353. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2622429/
- Seimon, Radhika V., et al. “Do intermittent diets provide physiological benefits over continuous diets for weight loss? A systematic review of clinical trials.” Molecular and cellular endocrinology. 418 (2015): 153-172. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0303720715300800
- Rothschild, Jeff, et al. “Time-restricted feeding and risk of metabolic disease: a review of human and animal studies.” Nutrition reviews. 72:5 (2014): 308-318. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24739093
- Mansell, P. I., I. W. Fellows, and I. A. Macdonald. “Enhanced thermogenic response to epinephrine after 48-h starvation in humans.” American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 258:1 (1990): R87-R93. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2405717
- Gotthardt, Juliet D., et al. “Intermittent fasting promotes fat loss with lean mass retention, increased hypothalamic norepinephrine content, and increased neuropeptide Y gene expression in diet-induced obese male mice.” Endocrinology. 157:2 (2015): 679-691. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26653760