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Intermittent Fasting Helps In Weight Loss and Fat Mass Reduction in People With Obesity

A recent study has revealed that intermittent fasting or IF diet leads to lower weight, waist circumference, and fast mass in people who are overweight or are obese.

Intermittent Fasting Helps In Weight Loss and Fat Mass Reduction in People With Obesity
Photo: Intermittent Fasting | InStyleHealth

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is described as an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating, thus intermittent. Although intermittent fasting is not specific to the type of foods you should eat but rather when you should eat it.

Intermittent fasting is not a diet in a traditional sense, but more appropriately described as an eating pattern considering it is not specific to the type of foods that one has to consume. More common intermittent fasting methods involve a daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, two times a week.

Intermittent fasting is also known as intermittent energy restriction – it a term use for various meal timing schedules that cycle between voluntary fasting and non-fasting over a period of time.

What Are The Intermittent Fasting Methods?

There are several different Intermittent Fasting methods, all of them involve splitting the day or the week into eating and fasting periods.

When one is fasting, you only eat either very little or nothing at all. So, here are the most popular methods of Intermittent Fasting:

The 16/8 Method. This method is also known as the “Lean Gains Protocol” – this involves skipping breakfast and limiting or restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1-9 p.m. Then you will have to fast for 16 hours in between.

The Eat-Stop-Eat Method. This method will involve fasting for 24 hours, and can be done once or twice per week. An example would be if you will not eat breakfast one day until breakfast the following day.

The 5:2 Diet Method. In this method, you only consume 500 – 600 calories on 2 consecutive days per week, however, you can eat normally on the other 5 days.

When reducing your caloric intake, all of the methods here should cause weight loss for as long as you do not compensate by eating much more during the eating periods.

A lot of people may find the 16/8 method to be the simplest to adhere, most sustainable, and the easiest method to stick to.

Experts obtained 18 eligible studies from the databases of Scielo, Cochrane, Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed. Intermittent fasting was compared with continuous energy restriction or CER diets in terms of anthropometric measures such as (body mass index (BMI), body weight, and waist circumference), body composition such (lean body mass, fat mass, and muscle mass), and lipid profile.

There were 17 studies evaluated anthropometric parameters, 13 of the studies found no significant advantage of intermittent fasting over continuous energy restriction. For the remaining 4 studies, weight loss inclined to be greater in the intermittent fasting arm than in the control group. The patterns in weight regained during the follow-up period were mixed, with 1 study each reporting greater increases in intermittent fasting and continuous energy restriction participants. Another study found lower waist circumference a year after intermittent fasting.

Also, there were 13 studies reported body composition outcomes, 5 of which found significant differences. The fat mass inclined to show greater decrease in intermittent fasting, changes in muscle and lean mass were comparable between groups.

Regarding lipid profile, 3 studies noted significantly different effects of diet, with intermittent fasting participants inclined to show lower cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein values, along with higher high-density lipoprotein concentrations relative to continuous energy restrictions.

According to researchers that, currently, intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity, there is a great evidence in studies with rodents that show improvements in weight loss programs and benefits in cardiometabolic risk factors.

Results obtained in the experimental human studies evaluating whether the long-term efficacy and safety of intermittent fasting diets are equal or superior to continuous low-calorie diets are less conclusive, therefore requiring further research the experts said.


Source: Eur J Clin Nutr 2021;75:1024-1039

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