Intermittent fasting (reference to: eat stop eat review) largely works because people who do this typically eat fewer calories. A 2014 study determined that intermittent fasting could reduce body fat by up to eight percent across several months. Some studies have also found that intermittent fasting can prevent chronic diseases. You don’t necessarily need to count calories, but restricting daily caloric intake may enhance weight loss.
Using Intermittent Fasting to Lose Weight
The major reason intermittent fasting is popular is because it’s easy. Many people usually feel full all day if they eat one very large meal in the afternoon or at night. Some theorize that our hunter-gatherer ancestors only ate when food was available, so our bodies are naturally adapted to go a day or two without food. Intermittent fasting typically involves eating one big meal at the end of the day, but some variations of the diet exist. The “eat-stop-eat” method involves fasting for two 24-hour periods and eating normally the rest of the week. Fasting for just 24 hours can alter your body’s hormone levels. Insulin in the bloodstream decreases, and this causes the body to burn fat. Human growth hormone levels may also increase when a person starts a fast. These help the body burn fat and build muscle. This may explain why people who engage in intermittent fasting typically retain more muscle while dieting.
Intermittent Fasting May Allow Dieters to Retain Muscle Mass
The body becomes catabolic when a person goes on a diet. Biological processes start breaking down tissue to fuel the chemical conversions necessary to sustain life. This is the major reason our bodies store fat, but the body will also consume muscle tissue in the process. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting appears to help dieters conserve muscle mass. A study at the University of Illinois determined that intermittent fasting was more effective than normal dieting for lean mass retention. Dieters using intermittent fasting retained 15% more muscle mass than dieters who consumed regular low calorie diets. There were some limitations to this study, but the results appear very promising.
Creating an Ideal Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan
People love the idea of intermittent fasting because the variety of foods a person can eat is limitless. You may still want to include a few things to ensure you’re getting proper nutrition. Protein is very important because your body may break down muscle tissue if you aren’t getting adequate amounts. The average sedentary person only needs about 50 grams of protein, so about one cup of chopped meat will suffice. Fiber is also very important. It’s a good idea to eat until you are full. Eating a wide variety of foods in each big meal will ensure you’re getting the right amounts of nutrients. You may also want to take a multivitamin with each meal.
Make sure to also check out this incredible TED talk on Intermittent Fasting and it’s vast benefits: