True or False: Intermittent Fasting is an Effective Strategy for Weight Loss


True or False-Intermittent Fasting is an effective strategy for weight loss.

WRITTEN BY Lara Fuhrer | REVIEWED BY JEN CALO MS, RDN, CDN, CDE, CLT       

There is not a clear answer for this; however, intermittent fasting should not be treated as an effective weight loss strategy. Many do experience weight loss, but intermittent fasting is difficult to sustain long-term and weight gain will most likely follow after one resumes a regular diet.

What it is?

Intermittent Fasting is an approach to dieting that restricts caloric food and beverage intake for a long time-frame, usually daily. Typically people fast for sixteen hours, so they only eat during an eight hour time-frame. There is often a designated window of time to consume meals and designated hours to restrict food intake,  such as 8PM in the evening until 12PM the next day.

Why are people doing it?

Intermittent fasting has been on the rise as a dieting trend for the last few years. Many people practice intermittent fasting as a method of weight loss. There are possible additional health benefits and some studies have shown intermittent fasting may reduce risk of developing diabetes, cancer, heart disease as well as protect against obesity,reduce  A1C levels and C-reactive protein in women. The research has been mixed about the benefits and negatives of intermittent fasting, and it is a good idea to consult a dietitian before trying it out.

Who is not a good candidate?

Intermittent fasting is not for everybody. Diabetics, athletes, and people who have struggled with eating disorders or emotional eating are not great candidates to try out the intermittent fasting trend. It is dangerous for a diabetic to fast as they may experience hypoglycemia from prolonged periods of time without carbohydrates. Athletes can find themselves feeling fatigued and sluggish as it may prove difficult for them to sustain their level of activity. Someone who suffers from an eating disorder should not restrict food consumption with arbitrary time rules and practice listening to their own hunger and fullness cues. An emotional eater may be more likely to binge during the acceptable eating frame and experience guilt afterwards, which may exacerbate a negative relationship with food.

What are some negative aspects?

Intermittent fasting is not a one size fits all model. It should not be viewed as an effective weight loss mechanism for everyone, and depending on your body type and activity level, it may not be an optimal approach. Some people report feeling dizzy, light-headed, nauseous and tired as a result of intermittent fasting. Another common claim is that people find their workouts to be suffering, which is often due to not eating enough calories or maintaining a balanced diet. Remember-food is fuel!  Intermittent fasting may lead to hypoglycemia, especially for people taking insulin or oral diabetic medications. Skipping meals may lead to overeating as  people may try to eat as much as they can in the timeframe allowed for food or overeat due to extreme hunger levels.

For more information check out: http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/weight-loss/your-health-and-your-weight/intermittent-fasting.

 

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