Fasting for weight loss has become an increasingly popular weight loss method. There are many different types of fasting protocols that can be effective in helping the experienced dieter decrease their body fat percentage. In addition to being an effective weight loss tool, intermittent fasting, or IF, can impart other benefits. Fasting is not right for everybody and should be used with caution and awareness.
The Benefits of Fasting for Weight Loss
Along with a reduction in body fat, fasting can provide a dieter with unique physiological and psychological benefits. Studies have reported that people who used IF instead of traditional calorie restriction find their dieting experience to be much more tolerable. For example, some individuals prefer fasting diets because they save time on food preparation. Others like fasting because they don’t have to go to the trouble of counting calories.
If you’re fasting properly you should consume less calories then you burn and as a result will start to lose weight. What makes fasting particularly appealing to some fitness buffs are the added physiological advantages. Current research on both animals and humans has indicated fasting might:
- Decrease your LDL (bad) cholesterol
- Increase fat burning (aka fat oxidation)
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve appetite control
- Lower your blood sugar and increase your sensitivity to insulin
- and stimulate the production of hormones that are associated with an increase in metabolism – like Human Growth Hormone, for example.
Many of the added benefits of IF have yet to be researched in well-controlled human studies. As more studies are conducted, the true physiological effects of fasting on humans will be better understood.
Should I Try Intermittent Fasting?
Not everybody has a positive response to IF. There are several factors that will affect your ability to succeed with this type of diet. Dr. John Berardi, an expert in sports and weight loss nutrition, only recommends IF to experienced dieters who are looking to achieve a very lean physique. Berardi goes on to point out that people who are single and don’t have to prepare regular meals for a family tend to have an easier time with the IF lifestyle.
Fasting for weight loss has become a controversial diet method for women. Reports have shown that many women experience more severe side effects than men while fasting. These side effects (for both men and women) can include sleeplessness, anxiety and gastrointestinal distress. Furthermore, there are concerns that fasting will disrupt a woman’s hormonal balance. Some women who fast could miss their monthly periods or even disrupt their fertility. If you are a women interested in implementing an IF diet, proceed with caution and pay special attention to how you’re feeling.
Fasting for weight loss has become popular because it has successfully helped people lose weight. Remember, there are many effective and safe nutrition programs available to dieters today – IF is just one choice of many. If you think fasting is right for you, read our blog on 3 popular intermittent fasting programs.