Is Fasting Good for Weight Loss?
Fasting has been all the rage in the past five years in the wellness community. However, as you might know not all wellness trends are as good as advertised. In this article, we take a look at what fasting is, its health benefits, and if it works for weight loss.
What is Fasting?
Fasting is the practice of abstaining from food for a specific period of time. For centuries, many cultures have practiced fasting mostly as a religious practice but in recent years, it has become popular among those looking for effective weight loss solutions.
Is Fasting Good for Weight Loss?
Yes, fasting is good for weight loss. While there are many complicated pathways through which fasting is suspected to help with weight loss, the most clear way is simply from keeping from eating.
If you stick to your fasting schedule, it helps reduce the amount of food you consume thereby also reducing the amount of calories consumed.
It’s important to note that fasting only works if you don’t compensate for your fasting hours by eating more food during your feeding window. If you binge on food when your feeding window starts, you may keep all the weight and in some cases even put on more.
Health Benefits of Fasting
Weight loss. As we have mentioned above, fasting can help you lose weight by controlling the amount of food you eat and therefore the number of calories you eat.
Blood sugar control. Some studies have shown that fasting improves blood sugar control, particularly in those living with diabetes.
Inflammation. Fasting can lower inflammation levels in the body. This is important for reducing one’s risk for chronic disease such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and dementia.
How to Fast for Weight Loss
There are many ways to fast for weight loss most of which involve changing the times during which you fast. The most popular type of fasting for weight loss is intermittent fasting where you choose certain hours of the day or days of the week during which you don’t consume any food.
Some of the most popular intermittent fasting patterns include the following:
16:8. This is a type of intermittent fasting where you eat for eight hours and fast for 16 hours. For example, you can eat from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm and fast between 7 pm and 11 am.
14:10. This is similar to the one above except you eat for ten hours and fast for 14. You can alter these times to what works best for your schedule. You may also choose to alternate between different schedules for different days of the week.
5:2. This type of fasting is different from others because instead of fasting for part of the day, you fast for two non-consecutive days and eat on the other five. For example, you may choose to fast on Monday and Thursday and eat normally for the rest of the days.
OMAD (One Meal A Day). OMAD is a type of fasting where you only eat one meal a day. It is usually a large filling meal eaten at whatever time you prefer.
Whichever pattern you choose to follow while fasting, it can only be effective if you regularly eat healthy balanced meals. If you maintain poor eating habits while fasting, you may still not be able to lose weight since weight loss will always be about the number of calories you eat vs the number of calories you burn.
How long should fasting be to lose weight?
To lose weight, you should fast for about 12 to 20 hours. The best fasting duration differs from person depending on preference and daily schedule. Remember, fasting is about controlling calorie intake so as long as that goal is achieved, it shouldn't really matter how long you are fasting.
How much weight can you lose by fasting?
You can expect to lose about 1 to 3 pounds per week if you are fasting in a healthy way. While you might be able to lose more weight with more aggressive methods, you are also more likely to gain your weight back if you go down this route.
Do you lose belly fat by fasting?
Yes, you lose belly fat by fasting. If you manage to lower your calorie intake through fasting, you will lose fat all over your body including your belly.
What can I drink while fasting?
During your fasting hours you can drink anything that has no calories. Such drinks include unsweetened coffee, tea, and water. Some fasting enthusiasts might allow themselves a few low-calorie drinks like unsweetened milk to make fasting more appealing to them.