How Do Fasting Diets Work to Help Rev Weight Loss?
The idea behind intermittent fasting is that it increases your metabolic rate, which helps you burn more calories. And by restricting the time periods during the day when you eat, you take in fewer calories each day.
Going into diet change, I knew there was only early evidence that fasting can lead to temporary weight loss, and that more research is needed — especially on the potential long-term health effects of this diet. As it stands, experts warn that fasting may not be safe, or smart, for everyone. Fasting is not recommended for some groups, such as pregnant or lactating women, some people with diabetes, people dealing with eating disorders or issues such as low blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. That’s why experts stress that it’s important to consult your healthcare team before trying any type of fast.
Despite the lack of comprehensive research on intermittent fasting, this eating style has helped me lose weight, regain my energy, and become more mindful about my eating choices.
“The definition of intermittent fasting is pretty basic. It’s really just a period of eating, followed by a period of not eating,” says Krista Varady, PhD, an associate professor in the department of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois in Chicago. For over a decade, Dr. Varady has researched the effects of intermittent fasting. “Intermittent fasting is kind of an umbrella term, but there are three major types of intermittent fasting. There’s alternate-day fasting, which means that you would eat fewer than 500 calories every other day and eat however many calories you want on the remaining days of the week. There’s also what’s called the 5:2 approach to IF, which means you would eat fewer than 500 calories for two days per week and however many you want on the other days. And then there’s what’s called time-restricted eating, which means you can eat within a certain window of time each day,” like between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., says Varady.
Given that I was becoming more active through exercise, I wasn’t sure that taking in only 500 calories a day would be the best idea for maintaining my energy levels. With that in mind, I decided to try time-restricted eating instead.