Intermittent fasting means voluntarily abstaining from food and sugary drinks usually for 16hours every day or 24hours twice in a week. There is also alternate-day fasting, where you fast every other day. What intermittent fasting helps you to do is to reduce the overall food intake through skipping of meals and therefore it is effective for weight loss and lowering blood cholesterol. Studies show that intermittent fasting also helps reduce the risk of diabetes and heart diseases by improving metabolic health.
On the other hand, the daily caloric restriction means reducing the average daily food intake through portion size control to achieve desired or healthy body weight. This is done by reducing the intake of calorie-dense foods such as fatty and sugary foods and increasing fiber-rich foods which are very low in calories.
A review of studies shows that intermittent fasting is equally as effective in decreasing body weight and fat mass as daily caloric restriction. This means you can take small portions of food 3-4 times a day and achieve the same percentage of weight loss as intermittent fasting.
It takes about 3-12weeks for effective weight loss when on intermittent fasting, which is why the dropout rate is usually high. Also, intermittent fasting comes with side effects such as pangs of hunger, headache, low mood, and malnutrition may make participants susceptible to infectious diseases if not taking adequate nutrients during the eating periods.
It has also been discovered that participants may gradually return to their fasting weight status if not placed on a consistent lifestyle modification after the fast. So for both intermittent fasting and daily caloric restriction, consistently adhering to lifestyle modification will keep the weight loss for good!
Intermittent fasting is usually preferred by those who cannot stick to small portion sizing through the day and would prefer to eat large meals once or twice a day. However, you should have in mind that if you eat too much during your eating period, you may not achieve many levels of success in losing weight.
5 Tips for Intermittent Fasting!
1. Stay hydrated: Taking adequate water can help reduce the side effects of intermittent fasting such as weakness, headache, low mood, dry mouth and fainting. Always have a bottle of water to sip throughout the fasting period.
2. Eat nutrient-dense meals during your eating period: It is usually hard to meet the daily nutrient requirements while fasting, which is why you should avoid junk on fasting days and take adequate protein, whole grains, and food rich in vitamins. You may also consider taking vitamin supplements!
3. Avoid taking a large meal immediately after fasting: Eating large meals immediately after a fast could lead to stomach distension or leave you with a feeling of tiredness. You may also eat all of your calories back! Control your portion size to achieve the healthy weight you desire.
4. Avoid strenuous exercises: Do not involve yourself in any strenuous exercise to prevent dizziness or fainting during the fasting period. Keep it mild! Just a walk, stretches or resistant training is okay!
5. Stop fasting if you feel sick: Don’t push yourself too hard if you don’t feel up to it. Break the fast if you feel extremely weak or feel any symptoms of illness.
if you have a medical history of diabetes, hypertension, or heart diseases or you are pregnant/trying to get pregnant/lactating, then intermittent fasting is not for you! Consult a registered dietitian to achieve your dietary goals!