Intermittent Fasting – The Optimal Method For Fat Loss?

Intermittent Fasting – The Optimal Method For Fat Loss?

Intermittent fasting is what we’re talking about today, if you haven’t heard of it, then listen up.

Many people enjoy eating constantly. Unfortunately, this love for excessive food consumption is why we are all fat. Imagine the world where you can eat as much as you want until you’re completely full and somehow lose weight.

Ah, one day… or maybe today? 🙂 

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Intermittent fasting is probably the most talked about fat loss strategy in recent years.

Intermittent fasting is a method where hypothetically, you may very well be able to stuff your face and still lose fat. I feel as if I should put an asterisk after saying this as terms and conditions apply.

You cannot eat all you want and still lose weight. Net calories in and net calories out is always valid. No matter how ‘revolutionary’ a diet is. 

But for those of you interested in what I have to say, here are the fundamentals.

 

Intermittent Fasting: The Fundamentals

 

Intermittent fasting for those who don’t know is the act of restricting your calories. By restricting your calories I don’t mean restrict a certain number of calories you are eating. Rather, restricting the number of calories you are eating within a certain time frame or better yet ‘window’ throughout the day. Although there is no evidence for humans, monkeys have been shown to live a longer life and overall show a reduction in disease through a fasting based routine of eating.

As with every single diet strategy on earth, there are variations. Intermittent fasting is no exception.

There are people who follow entire 24-hour fasts and eat twice the amount of calories the following day. There are even people who will go as extreme as several days just drinking water. Now, this may seem like something you’d rather not do out of your own will. There are benefits, but the reason I wouldn’t suggest these styles of fasting to the everyday gym goer and especially one who is known to the concept of fasting the issue becomes that it is not something which is tangible as a consistent, sustainable option and this is what we are seeking for optimal results. the hat I recommend is a 16/8 hour fast daily, this means fasting for 16 hours and eating all your calories within 8 hours.

What I recommend is a 16/8 hour fast daily, this means fasting for 16 hours and eating all your calories within 8 hours.

 

Does Intermittent Fasting ACTUALLY Work?

 

Of course, any diet ‘works’ as long as your caloric maintenance is in a deficit. You lose weight when you are eating less than your body needs to maintain weight, this is basic physics, it is indisputable.

So why even bother?

When fasted one must make up for the calories they ‘missed’ within an appropriate time frame. A study has shown that when people fast they didn’t eat anywhere near what they should of during the ‘make up period of eating’. The initial burden is being fasted. Over time this is easy to get used to and is especially insignificant when only 16 hours is required.

As your body becomes accustomed to being in a fasted state you will find it easier to not eat and almost forget that you’re hungry, thus, in theory, you will overall feel like you are eating more calories during the day, but in actuality, you are eating in a deficit and losing weight. Theoretical, yes, but the results and the hype of intermittent fasting seem to clearly show that something is working.

Side Note: If your fat loss is stalling this is how you should go about breaking through a plateau.

 

Intermittent Fasting Isn’t Any Better Than A Regular Diet?

 

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The Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, found that on average a similar range of weight was lost during a 10-week phase (7-11 pounds) comparing intermittent fasting to a regular dieting scheme. There really was no difference in the amount of lean body mass and fat loss during the 10 weeks. This makes sense as this is what disproves the idea that small frequent meals boosts your metabolism.

So if it makes no difference what is the point of doing it?

What I have found to be the consensus as to why people opt to ‘starve’ themselves if the benefit attributed to fat loss is indifferent. The reason is psychological. For one purely because you are eating such a large portion of your calories in one sitting it can feel as if you are stuffing you but because the calories remain the same you still lose weight.

 

Heath & Longevity

 

Stephen Anton, Ph.D. vocalized that “We are just starting to understand the mechanisms for why intermittent fasting can be beneficial.” Overall cells perform better and are able to clear waste out of the body with greater ease. Because the body is not getting enough calories, autophagy is the response which will allow the body to promote mechanisms which will help anti-aging and developing barriers to protect against disease.

Studies have proven that overall the cells in your body work at a rate which is ‘younger’. According to this study inflammation in the body decrease during fasting. while the levels of glucose in blood improve their efficiency and energy used ,according to Anton. Intermittent fasting will indirectly help reduce the likelihood of many causes of death, includes cancer, diabetes, heart disease. This is a bold statement but the evidence seems to back these claims.

Increased levels of growth hormone. After the 6 hour mark your body begins to become catabolic, now many may see this as bad, but catabolism is necessary for fat loss, not only muscle atrophy. Catabolism means damage to cells. To repair damage growth hormone is released.

While fasting growth hormone is released in excess to compensate

Note: You are still eating the same amount. 

This means more growth hormone for you with the same net calories, theoretically implying some sort of edge to your results. 

Why is growth hormone important? Optimal levels of growth hormone allow your skin to function better, your wounds will heal quicker and increased lean body mass + more. A study showed that growth hormone increasing as much as 2000% in men after only 24 hours. This sounds like a lot and it is. It won’t turn you into superman. However, it is a large enough increase to reap the many benefits growth hormone has potential to provide.

 

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

 

  1. Blood pressure.
  2. Fat loss. Easier to maintain a lower body fat percentage because of reduced insulin sensitivity.
  3. Reduced inflammation.
  4. Increased mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR).
  5. Increased levels of growth hormone.
  6. Time management, more time to work and do the things you love during the daylight.
  7. Improved mental focus and mild sensations of euphoria are present after a few hours of fasting.

 

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Take Home Message

Intermittent fasting and conventional dieting do appear to be identical for fat loss. The evidence suggests intermittent fasting provides some advantages that traditional dieting doesn’t, this includes: anti-aging properties, overall hormonal health. Also, it is generally a lifestyle which provides convenience for busy people. The overall psychological also allow you to feel as if you are not starving yourself. This is ironic, to say the least, but it is what makes this lifestyle a viable option.

Intermittent fasting is something you must try for yourself to know whether you like it or not. The bottom line is it works incredibly well for some and bad for others, as with many things in life.

Does Intermittent Fasting ACTUALLY Work?


References

(1) Caloric Restriction To Moderate Senescene: Mechanisms and Clinical Utility http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13670-013-0062-5#page-1

(2) Fasting or Caloric Restriction  caloric restriction for healthy aging https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23639403

(3) Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Body Composition and Clinical Health Markers In humans  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26374764


Good Luck,

Philip

 

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1 Comment
  • Wade says:

    Been doing it for a few years, and like OP said, I enjoy it for the psychological benefit. I stuff my face at night and feel no remorse while losing/maintaining.
    Also, I think it’s important to note that in the beginning you will feel hungry, but this will subside in time. The hunger is controlled by a hormone called ghrelin and is released based on your regular eating pattern. After a while of skipping breakfast and lunch you won’t release the hormone or less amounts of it and thus won’t be hungry at those times.
    For example, I don’t eat until after I workout in the evening and normally don’t start to get hungry until a couple hours before.
    For another deviation and additional reading on IF I suggest carb backloading by John Kiefer.

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