Intermittent fasting is a popular dietary trend where you limit your eating time but can eat normally within that time frame. This method doesn’t require calorie counting or food restrictions, making it flexible and easy to follow. As a result, it has gained popularity as a potential way to achieve sustainable weight loss. Intermittent fasting is an eating schedule that involves expanding the time spent in a fasting state by reducing the eating window.
Ways time-restricted eating can prevent weight gain
The human body exists in fed and fasted states. The fed state promotes cellular growth, while the fasted state stimulates cellular breakdown and repair. Both conditions can be beneficial or harmful, depending on the situation. Our genes, especially those that control metabolism, are regulated by our circadian rhythms.
It takes several hours after a meal for the body to enter a fast state. However, modern lifestyles with artificial lights and constant access to food make it difficult to adhere to circadian cues. Research suggests that being fasted triggers cellular signaling that promotes cellular repair and increases insulin sensitivity, antioxidant defenses, and mitochondrial function. Intermittent fasting, specifically time-restricted feeding, may help reduce chronic diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and obesity.
Intermittent fasting can help in weight loss
The effectiveness of intermittent fasting for weight loss is still being determined due to small sample sizes, varied study designs, and different fasting protocols. However, recent evidence suggests that limiting eating windows can lead to weight loss.
Time-restricted eating is a safe weight-loss strategy, except for those with certain health conditions. It involves limiting the time window during which you eat, resulting in a negative energy balance and fewer daily calories consumed. If sustained as a lifestyle can lead to modest weight loss and improve cardiometabolic markers.
Besides the benefit of intermittent fasting to cardiovascular health, its only caveat of intermittent fasting is the loss of lean muscle mass. Pairing resistance training with intermittent fasting is recommended due to the significant role of lean muscle mass in regulating blood sugar, boosting metabolic rate, and maintaining physical ability.