Weight loss trends come and go. Low-fat diets were once all the rage, but now millions of people opt for low-carb regimens that restrict the number of carbohydrates you consume. Other diets involve eliminating or reducing sugar intake, lowering the number of calories or fat grams, or limiting the foods we eat to those that were readily available in the Paleolithic age. Anyone who has tried to Lose Weight knows that Intermittent Fasting can be a daunting prospect.
However, there is good news.
Intermittent fasting has proven to be an effective method to shed excess body fat. Intermittent fasting, or IF, involves abstaining from food for certain stretches of time. Everyone fasts when they sleep. Doing so for longer periods — say, for 12 hours or more — could result in health benefits including Weight Loss.
When we eat, that food is broken down by enzymes and carried throughout the body in the bloodstream. Our bodies then quickly break down the carbohydrates into sugar, which our cells use for energy. When we eat more carbohydrates than our cells need, the excess sugar is stored as fat using insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas.
Hours after eating, our insulin levels typically begin to drop. As they decrease, the fat cells can release the stored sugar to be used as energy. The beauty of intermittent fasting is that it allows insulin levels to drop low enough and for long enough that the body’s cells discharge and expend those fats and sugars. The potential result is weight loss.
It takes time for insulin levels to drop low enough that the body can burn the stored fat. That length of time varies from person to person. Typically, it takes at least 12 to 24 hours without food to switch into a fat-burning state, called ketosis. Intermittent fasting enables the body to deplete its fat stores, while still allowing for days of regular consumption.
In addition to Weight Loss, intermittent fasting may result in other health benefits such as reducing the risk of Cardiovascular Disease, improving insulin sensitivity and maintaining lean muscle mass.
There are various ways to practice IF, such as time-restricted feeding, which involves stretching out the time between your last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day. Another option is to restrict your food intake several times a week to about 20% of what you would normally consume. The accompanying resource describes more ways to try this nutritional approach.
This Infographic was created by Factor, a weekly dinner delivery service
Author Bio: Kara Kash, RD, LDN, is a registered dietitian at Factor — a premium weekly meal delivery service that fuses world-class culinary dishes with the latest in nutrition science to produce fully prepared meals that are as delicious as they are nutritious.