Intermittent Dieting: Can Stop-Start-Stop Be A Great Way To Lose Weight?
Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular ways of losing weight when you have a small window of opportunity. It is a form of dieting that gives you alternating periods of eating and fasting. The longer you stretch the period of fasting, the more effective it is for weight loss.
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When word goes out for extreme weight-loss methods, intermittent fasting (IM Diet) might be one of the most popular terms to be discussed. Gaining mass popularity world-wide, intermittent dieting has indeed been responsible for helping some people achieve the desired body shape. This method of eating only during a set number of hours every day, allows people to eat foods they like, so long as its within the eating ‘window’. It is a form of dieting that gives you alternating periods of eating and fasting. The longer you make the fast, the more effective it is for weight loss.
However, is this sustainable and does intermittent fast really help with weight loss? If you are looking forward to this start-stop method of fasting and weight loss, it is important for you to take a closer look at the merits and demerits of intermittent fasting.
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The Real Meaning Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent diet, as the word intermittent suggest, stands for having irregular gaps between the meals, and going without eating for longer periods of time. Basically, the whole concept of the intermittent diet (IM Diet) is based on the inter-changing principle of fasting and non-fasting. You are meant to divide the 24 hours in a day into periods of fasting and periods when you are going to eat.
Popular intermittent dieting ways:
The 16/8 Method
Just like in the name, the 16 signifies the number of hours that you’ll have to go without eating, and 8 signifies the time for which you are permitted to eat. It is important that you skip breakfast while following this method, as that is the only way you can maintain the time for fasting and non-fasting. Most people would restrict their eating between 12 noon and 8 pm. This means dinner has to be over by 8 pm and the next meal will be at noon the subsequent day. However, fasting for 16 hours straight does not restrict you from any no-calorie beverage such as water or black coffee. If you can manage to eat dinner even earlier, the results would be faster. So try and wrap dinner by 6/7pm and have your next meal at 10/11 am the next day.
Just like the previous method, this fasting method can include non-caloric beverages such as water and coffee during the interval of fasting. However, unlike the 16/8 method, in eat-stop-eat, the fasting lasts for over 24-hours, meaning a whole day. Usually, people tend to do it as dinner-dinner, that is, they eat dinner and then skip every other meal until the next day’s dinner. Though it is a common practice, you can even do the same with breakfast or lunch. It is followed once or twice a week.
The 5:2 Diet
This diet, instead of fasting, is based on the principle of calorie restrictions. While following this method, the dieter tends to eat normally 5 days and restricts the calorie consumption to 500 calories for the next 2-days. Non-caloric beverages can be consumed and other low-calorie items are essential for nutritional needs.
The Warrior Diet
The warrior diet is very similar to the one which involves a 24 hour fast. However, unlike the eat-stop-eat method, the dinner for the warrior diet must be heavy and full of protein and calories.
Merits Of Intermittent Fasting
Now that we are clear with the ways in which you can incorporate intermittent fasting into your lifestyle, let us take a look at some of the benefits that one can link with the use of intermittent fasting in one’s lifestyle:
1. Weight Loss
Needless to mention, weight loss is indeed one of the chief benefits associated with an intermittent diet as it is directly linked with the cutting down of calories. Since intermittent fasting helps in lowering the consumption of calories and fats, it also helps in managing weight gain.
2. Improved Cardiovascular Health
There is no doubt in the fact that weight-loss effectively lowers the risk of contracting various heart diseases, thus following an intermittent diet can lead you to have a healthy unproblematic heart.
3. Manages Blood Sugar Level
According to a study, following an intermittent diet can lead to the reversal of insulin resistivity (1), thus lowering the blood sugar level and maintaining it at a normal stage.
4. Slows Down Ageing
A study shows that mitochondrial networks are kept fused together with the help of fasting (2). This fusing of mitochondrial networks is responsible for increasing one’s lifespan and reduces the rate of aging.
5. Improves Brain Functioning
Fasting is responsible for reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, and mostly (3), it is linked with increasing the brains functioning capabilities and improving memory.
Demerits Of Intermittent Diet
Understanding the side-effects associated with a certain dieting method is in fact one of the most vital aspects. The purpose of following a diet is to lead a healthy life, and if there is something that adversely affects your health, then you must take note of it and avoid it at all cost. Here are some of the side-effects associated with intermittent fasting.
1. Ignores Breakfast
It is quite known by everyone that breakfast is indeed one of the most important meals of the day, and the reason behind that is quite simple. Being the very first meal of the day, breakfast helps in maintaining and kick-starting the body’s mechanism.
2. Rapid Changes
Being an extreme diet, the following of intermittent fasting can cause sudden changes in the body. Though the final result might be what you desire, many people who have gone through fasting have also reported facing problems such as fatigue and extreme weakness.
3. Mostly Short-Term Results
Extreme dieting measures normally tend to be helpful for a short term goal. Since you cut down on your daily carbs and calorie consumption, the body gets used to your low consumption need and respectively adapt by slowing down your metabolism (increasing the time required to digest the food and absorb its nutrients). On the other hand, after achieving your desired weight, if you go back and start consuming as many calories as you did before the dieting period, this slowed down metabolism could make you gain weight at a much faster rate.
Though in theory, the intermittent diet might be just the right procedure for losing weight, in practice; things can be much more complicated. Dieting may just lead you to lose some weight, but on the other hand, it is also vital for you to have a balanced diet that can aid you in keeping a healthy metabolism. There is nothing wrong in altering between fasting and non-fasting, but what matters is that you do it in the right way.