When and how often to eat for weight management is a very popular topic; over the past decade we have heard:
Intermittent fasting has gained a lot of attention because it goes against everything we have always practised or been advised to do.
Intermittent fasting is a recent theory surrounding the concept that involves employing short-term fasting periods (usually by skipping breakfast) in an attempt to improve body composition and general health.
There are three defined types or methods of intermittent fasting:
1. Alternate day fasting:
The most studied method of intermittent fasting, involving fasting for a whole day (24hours) and feeding the next day with no specific caloric restrictions.
2. Whole-day fasting
This method involves fasting for 1-2 whole days in a week and feeding the remaining days with no specific caloric restrictions.
3. Time-restricted feeding
This method involves feeding for only 4-8 hours a day and fasting for the remainder of the day. For example, eating between 12pm-8pm only, leaving a 16-hour gap of fasting.
What is the difference between fed and fasted state in the body?
Currently, many people rarely spend more than 12 hours in the fasted state; as a result, our bodies rarely use fat for energy, while the glucose-burning pathways are overworked. Eventually, insulin is high all the time leading to insulin resistance and causing obesity and other chronic diseases.
This is where intermittent fasting can help!
A study published in 2015 states that intermittent fasting can help reduce body weight, decrease fat mass, and lower total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Resulting in a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, as well as improving wellbeing and quality of life.
1. Tinsley G, La Bounty M, 2015, Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans, Nutrition Reviews, Vol. 73(10): 661-674
2. Dr. Naiman T, 2018, Time-restricted eating-a detailed intermittent fasting guide, Diet Doctor.