Thought for your heart

Contributed by Dr Yashpal Rana

This article coves thoughts for a healthy body and heart!!

Does Intermittent Fasting Work for Weight Loss?

  • Is this something worth considering?
  • Does not what you eat but when you eat matter?

…And the answer is ….YES…

Body fat is the body’s way of storing energy. Many of us are trying one or the other way to burn those extra layers of unwanted fat. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that has gained attention of many researchers and has become popular among people looking to lose weight.Unlike diets and other weight loss programs, it doesn’t restrict your food choices or intake. Instead, all that matters is when you eat.

What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. Among different methods recommended, popular ones are:
The most popular ‘16/8 Method’: Involves restricting food intake to just 8 hours per day such as from 12 noon to 8 pm and abstaining from eating during the remaining 16 hours.
Eat-Stop-Eat: Do one or two 24-hour fasts each week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
The 5:2 Diet: Only eat 500-600 calories on two days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.

So how does it work and what are the actual benefits?

  • Intermittent Fasting Helps You Reduce Calories and Lose Weight

The main reason that intermittent fasting works for weight loss, is that it helps you eat fewer calories.According to a recent 2014 review study, intermittent fasting can lead to significant weight loss. In this review, intermittent fasting was found to reduce body weight by 3-8% over a period of 3-24 weeks.  People also lost 4-7% of their waist circumference, indicating that they lost belly fat.

  • Intermittent Fasting Affects Hormones

Insulin: Insulin increases when we eat. When we fast, insulin decreases dramatically. Lower levels of insulin facilitate fat burning.

Human growth hormone: Levels of growth hormone may skyrocket during a fast, increasing as much as 5-fold. Growth hormone is a hormone that can aid fat loss and muscle gain, among other things.

Norepinephrine: The nervous system sends norepinephrine to the fat cells, making them break down body fat into free fatty acids that can be burned for energy.

  • Intermittent Fasting May Help You Hold on to Muscle When Dieting

One of the worst side effects of dieting, is that the body tends to burn muscle as well as fat. Interestingly, there are some studies showing that intermittent fasting may be beneficial for holding on to muscle while losing body fat.In the calorie restriction studies, 25% of the weight lost was muscle mass, compared to only 10% in the intermittent calorie restriction studies. 

  • Intermittent Fasting may improve blood sugar levels, decrease total and LDL cholesterolà thus help improving heart health.

Boost longevity and slow signs of aging in animal studies.

So should we try it?
One of the main benefits of intermittent fasting is the simplicity of it.
As long as you don’t compensate by eating much more during the non-fasting periods, then these methods will lead to reduced calorie intake and help you lose weight and belly fat.Improvement of blood sugar levels, reduced cholesterol and probable slowing of aging are extra benefits.

Check out the following links for more details: 

  1. Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans- Grant M Tinsley, Paul M La Bounty.
  2. Intermittent Fasting 101 – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide.