Is intermittent fasting good for weight loss? – Mankato Free Press
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Updated: September 1, 2022 @ 10:20 pm
Mayo Clinic News Network
Dear Mayo Clinic: A friend told me that she is fasting to lose weight. I’ve tried many diets over the years without much success, so I’m thinking about trying fasting, too. Is intermittent fasting a healthy way to lose weight? Is this just skipping a meal occasionally or is there more to it?
Answer: One diet trend that shows no sign of going away soon is intermittent fasting. That’s when you voluntarily abstain from food or beverages other than water for a certain amount of time. Some fasting is for religious reasons, while others fast for weight loss.
The three most popular approaches to intermittent fasting are:
• Alternate-day fasting: Eat a normal, healthy diet one day and then completely fast or have one small meal the next day. Usually, the small meal is fewer than 500 calories.
• 5-2 fasting: Eat a normal diet five days per week and fast for two days per week.
• Daily time-restricted fasting: Eat normally but only within an eight-hour window each day.
Recent research has found that using intermittent fasting for weight loss may have some benefits in the short term.
It appears that fasting for a short time can produce ketosis, which is a process that occurs when the body doesn’t have enough glucose for energy, so it breaks down stored fat instead. This causes an increase in substances called ketones. This, coupled with fewer calories consumed overall, can lead to weight loss. Research suggests that alternate-day fasting is about as effective as a typical low-calorie diet for weight loss.
Fasting also affects metabolic processes in the body that may work to decrease inflammation, as well as improve blood sugar regulation and physical stress response. Some research shows this may improve conditions associated with inflammation like arthritis, asthma and multiple sclerosis.
Little long-term research has been conducted on intermittent fasting to examine how it affects people over time. As a result, long-term health benefits or risks are unknown.
Intermittent fasting can have unpleasant side effects, like hunger, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, decreased concentration, nausea, constipation and headaches. Most side effects go away within a month.
Sticking with an intermittent fasting routine can be easier for some people rather than trying to watch calories every day. Other people, especially those with busy or variable schedules, have more difficulty maintaining an intermittent fasting routine.
Intermittent fasting is safe for many people, but it’s not for everyone.
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