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Is intermittent fasting good for weight loss?

Dr. Muffi    23/2/2019   |   Saturday
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Fasting is a customary ritual that has been around for centuries. While some people consider it as a means of cleansing their body of toxins, others see it as a spiritual practice. But does fasting have the potential to accelerate weight loss? Generally, among the various weight loss solutions available, fasting is the least preferred. In fact, many people are of the view that fasting for weight loss can even prove to be detrimental to health. But the truth is, when done in a planned and healthy manner, fasting can actually help shed the extra kilos off your body.

Recently, the concept of intermittent fasting for weight loss has gained much popularity. This is because a lot of people end up compensating stress, boredom, and dehydration with food intake. Intermittent fasting, based on regulating the time gap between food consumption, helps you distinguish these factors from actual hunger. Intermittent fasting does this by ensuring you define eating patterns that include fixed periods for consumption and fasting. While there is no limitation on what you eat, the only restriction is about when you choose to eat. In this context too, there are a handful of patterns that you can choose from to achieve your goal of intermittent fasting for weight loss. Regardless of which pattern you decide to follow, you should be aware of the various health benefits of fasting.

Typically, short-term fasting boosts your metabolism and promotes fat burn. This in turn helps weight loss. When you fast, the key hormones in your body undergo several changes. These include body-insulin, norepinephrine, growth hormone, etc. While the insulin levels reduce, the growth hormones increase, and this results in fat burn. Below are some of the key benefits of fasting in fixed intervals, which will also initiate weight loss:

  • Lowers blood pressure: Fasting can prove to be an effective method to control blood pressure. It activates your parasympathetic system, which helps in regulating all body processes. Fasting stabilizes your rate of metabolism, which is also said to assist in reducing blood pressure.
  • Reduces hunger: Intermittent fasting reduces the level of hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin, in your body. This helps in controlling frequent eating habits. When you fast, it causes your stomach to adjust. As a result, you will feel satiated even with lesser food consumption. This decreased appetite will help you avoid overeating and eventually, control weight gain.
  • Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress: Fasting gives your body the time to rest, detox, heal and revive. This is crucial for weight loss and for your overall health. Generally, toxins are stored in our body fats, which burn down during fasting. When you do not eat or drink for extensive periods, your body starts consuming the fat reserves to produce energy. As a result, the harmful toxins are also released and your body is detoxified.
  • Lowers cholesterol: Typically, fasting is said to help in reducing cholesterol levels in your body. This promotes the improvement of cardiovascular health, thereby reducing the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and other heart diseases. Following a healthy meal pattern during intermittent fasting can further keep your cholesterol level in check.

Though prolonged fasting can impact your health negatively, intermittent fasting, when done the right way, turns out to be a useful tool for weight loss. Improved metabolism and fat burn are two crucial components for losing weight. Intermittent fasting assures that both these parameters are achieved. Nevertheless, you should consult your doctor before proceeding with any type of fasting for weight loss.