It seems that every few months, a new diet phase or ‘fad’ arrives. Whether it’s keto, low carb, high fat, paleo, the list of how we should consume food continually changes. A new dieting technique called ‘intermittent fasting’ has recently emerged as a new way to manage weight. Interestingly, this approach doesn’t control what you are eating, rather at what time you are eating.
Supporters of this technique argue that as humans are biologically-designed to fast for long periods (due to our ancestors’ ‘hunter-gatherer’ lifestyles), stopping your intake of food for a set amount of time can be good for you. In a recent article, healthline.com outlines the three most common ways that you can incorporate intermittent fasting.
– The 16/8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
– Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
– The 5:2 diet: With this method, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other five days.
The impact of fasting on your body is significant, which can include an adjustment of hormone levels, meaning your body uses fat cells at a faster rate than usual. healthline.com highlights the following benefits as a result of fasting:
– Human Growth Hormone (HGH): The levels of growth hormone skyrocket, increasing as much as 5-fold, which is beneficially for fat loss and muscle gain.
– Insulin: Insulin sensitivity improves and levels of insulin drop dramatically. Lower insulin levels also make stored body fat more accessible.
– Cellular repair: When fasted, your cells initiate cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells.
– Gene expression: There are changes in the function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease.
An article in suggests that intermittent fasting can be an efficient and long-term way to lose weight. Author says, “It’s no secret that typical calorie restriction tends to be miserably unsustainable, as determined dieters meticulously log every bite of food they consume. Many of them end up bingeing or consuming low-calorie Frankenfoods in an attempt to fill an ever-expanding ravenous black hole”. She claims there is a way to “indulge without restriction while stoking the fires of your metabolism, boosting energy, saying goodbye to cravings, and likely losing even more weight than with typical dieting‘?