What is Intermittent Fasting?
For the unversed, intermittent fasting is a method of dieting that restricts the amount of time you are allowed to have your food. The best thing is that you do not need to count your calorie intake when following this form of diet. There are different versions of intermittent fasting and people often get confused which one is better when trying to lose weight. Here are a few things you should know before giving intermittent fasting a try:
The 5:2 diet
In this version of intermittent fasting, you have to eat fewer calories for any two days of each week and on the other five days, you can have normal amount of food.
Research suggests that it is possible to lose weight with this kind of diet, but it is not as effective as other traditional forms of weight loss plan. But the 5:2 diet has numerous other health benefits like reducing cholesterol and blood lipids in the body.
Another important benefit of the 5:2 diet is that it helps to maintain the number of nutrients required by the body, even when you are fasting.
Alternate-day fasting (ADF), also known as ‘every other day diet’ is more effective to lose weight quickly. In this diet, you are required to fast every alternate day. You have to switch between unrestricted eating and consuming very low-calorie diet every alternate day.
Studies suggest that ADF can lead to considerable weight loss in about 8-12 weeks. But the problem with this form of intermittent fasting is that its effect declines with time and slows the rate of weight loss.
It is surely more beneficial as compared to other traditional forms of dieting for weight loss, but there are high chances that many people would not be able to adhere to ADF for a long period of time.
Time-restricted eating or TRE involves absolute fasting for a fixed time frame like 16 to 20 hours, where you do not eat anything. You need to eat all the calories in the remaining hours.
The fasting time during TRE
Most of the people fast for 16 hours and consume calories in the remaining 8 hours. This form of intermittent fasting is comparatively easy to follow as people delay their breakfast until midday and consume all food between midday and 8 pm.
Even studies suggest that calorie intake over a 24-hour period is minimized when people skip their breakfast. But the number of calories burnt through physical activity is also reduced, so the calorie deficit achieved by skipping breakfast is almost negligible.
Why you must not skip breakfast?
Skipping your breakfast is not a good way to lose weight. Not having your meal in the morning can also have a negative effect on insulin sensitivity.
What you can do instead
A recent study has found that fasting from 2 pm raised insulin sensitivity in some pre-diabetic males. So, the most effective way is to eat food in the morning and fast in the evening window.
The final verdict
When we talk about weight loss, ADF is the most effective form of intermittent fasting.
TRE can also be good for weight loss only if you skip your dinner rather then skipping your breakfast.