We all know there are many health benefits to fasting. Fasting, simply put, is the act of going a certain amount of time without eating or drinking anything. Some people fast for health, for pleasure, or both. The practice of fasting is extremely common; prevalent in many cultures, religions, and even in today’s modern society. Fasting has been shown to have many benefits, such as improving mental clarity, physical performance, and decreasing the risk of disease. However, many people associate fasting with the negative side of things, such as gaining weight, increased hunger, and undesired long term side effects.
When we think of fasting, we usually think of the religious, or Hindu, meaning. That meaning is too narrow to be carried out every day. In the modern world, most people use the word to refer to the practice of reducing calories and increasing the amount of time you spend without food.
There is a lot of talk about fasting in our day to day life. A lot of people are telling us that fasting is the best way to lose weight, but is this really the case? What are the pros and cons of fasting?. Read more about intermittent fasting and let us know what you think.
Intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating seem to have taken over the globe as popular methods for reducing weight and improving insulin sensitivity. Dr. Ted Nyman’s guide examines a variety of time-limited diet choices.
However, as the research on this subject advances, we must consider what is the best strategy. The 14:10 diet (fasting 14 hours and eating 10 hours) was shown to be advantageous to health in one research, although other popular methods such as 16:8, 18:6, and 20:4 (the so-called warrior diet) also showed promise.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many scientific studies that evaluate various fasting regimens side by side.
58 obese adults were randomly assigned to one of three groups in a recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism: restriction of food intake for a four-hour period (8:04 p.m., or eating between 3 and 7 p.m.), restriction of food intake for a six-hour period (6:06 p.m., or eating between 1 and 7 p.m.), or a control group with no changes in diet or nutrition. It’s worth noting that none of the participants were told to alter what or how much they ate. We just informed them when it was time to eat.
The four- and six-hour groups decreased their calorie consumption by approximately 550 calories per day after eight weeks, whereas the control group only reduced their intake by 100 calories. The two fasting groups both dropped 3.2 percent of their body weight on average, whereas the control groups gained no weight.
It’s worth noting that, although the individuals who followed the dietary restrictions lost mostly fat mass, they also lost some lean mass (about 1 kg).
The homeostatic model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR, insulin resistance index) improved significantly in both fasting groups, with a 29 percent improvement in the four-hour group and a 12 percent improvement in the six-hour group. Although the difference between these groups was not significant, they were both substantially better than the control group’s 3.5 percent deterioration in HOMA-IR scores.
The study’s limited sample size may be a drawback. The alterations in the HOMA-IR seemed to favor the four-hour group at first sight, but this was not enough to be statistically significant. Will there be a more substantial difference in the bigger cohort? That will have to wait and see.
Similarly, the four- and six-hour groups had a 5 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure, whereas the control group saw a 3 mmHg rise in systolic blood pressure.
They were not statistically significant, despite the obvious difference. The authors acknowledge that their research was insufficient to detect a difference, but they point to a number of other studies that demonstrate substantial improvements in blood pressure when meals are limited.
The impact on 8-isoprostane, a measure of oxidative lipid stress, showed another significant difference. The four and six hour groups had a 35 percent reduction in this rate, whereas the control group saw no change. Inflammatory indicators like TNF-alpha and IL-6, on the other hand, did not differ across the groups.
As a result, it seems that fasting has a particular effect on lipid oxidation while having no effect on general inflammation. Because oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is more hazardous than unoxidized LDL in terms of cardiovascular disease, this may be significant.
What about the negative consequences? The four- and six-hour groups had a small increase in moderate dizziness, nausea, headache, and diarrhea, which peaked at week two and then improved.
Overall, this research is a solid start. The findings indicate that both the 20:4 and 18:6 meals are healthful, but there are still many unanswered issues.
16:8 or 14:10, perhaps? Would there have been a bigger difference in insulin resistance if the sample size had been larger? Is the benefit derived only from weight reduction, or does a time of fasting have additional advantages?
Is there a risk of losing lean body mass? Will this trend continue, or will muscle mass revert to its previous level?
Although this study did not address these concerns, we hope that it is the start of a wave of research that will help us figure out the best time-restricted eating and fasting habits.
At this time, we can confidently state that meal restriction is a safe, effective, and very easy intervention with real-world health benefits.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Dr. Bret Sher, FACC
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On the one hand, you could argue that increased fasting is always preferable to extended periods of time on a low-calorie diet, as long as you’re not doing it for the sake of lowering weight. On the other hand, increasing fasting beyond a certain point can actually backfire, leading to a loss of muscle mass and height, as well as a breakdown in other important bodily functions.. Read more about best intermittent fasting for weight loss and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is too much fasting good?
The answer to this question is not a simple one. It depends on the individual.
Is fasting more effective than diet?
Fasting is more effective than dieting.
Is it healthy to fast for more than a day?
It is not healthy to fast for more than a day.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- intermittent fasting benefits
- benefits of fasting
- intermittent fasting
- intermittent fasting research 2018
- intermittent fasting research studies