Out of different types of weight loss diets prevalent today, Intermittent Fasting has recently gained a lot of popularity, especially with many celebrities swearing by it. In layman's language, Intermittent Fasting (IM) is a process of giving the body a rest by abstaining from eating for a long stretch of time. Food is to be eaten during a fixed window in the day, and then there has to be complete abstinence for rest of the time. There are different ways of going about it. Fasting period may range from 12 hours or 16 hours to 24 hours. Some people also follow the Alternative Day Fasting method. While we may know many people following IM for weight loss, we may not be sure how it affects our overall health. A recent study published on journal 'Nutrients' throws more light on it.
Effects Of Intermittent Fasting On Overall Health:
Intermittent Fasting Effect On Weight Loss:
A clinical trial was conducted on obese adults (18 to 64 years of age; mean body mass index, 34) in Chicago for one year. The participants were divided into three groups - alternate-day fasting (25% of energy needs on fast days; 125% of energy needs on alternating "feast days"), calorie restriction (75% of energy needs every day) and a no-intervention control. It was found that the control group maintained their weight around the baseline weight, while the alternate day fasting and daily caloric restriction groups, by 6 months, exhibited a nadir in weight 7% below the baseline weight. The authors also pointed out that alternate-day fasting did not improve health beyond calorie restriction.
Intermittent Fasting Effect On Insulin Resistance/Prediabetes:
A study was conducted on eight healthy young men with a mean BMI of 25.7. The subjects performed intermittent fasting for 20 hours on alternate days for 14 days with a steady amount of physical activity. The reported weight loss was not significant, but fasting did improve insulin sensitivity.
Intermittent Fasting Effect On Cardiovascular Health:
Insulin resistance is associated with increased inflammation and lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which may lead to coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. It was noted that reducing insulin levels through intermittent fasting could improve blood lipid profile and reduce serious cardiovascular issues.
Intermittent Fasting Effect On Blood Pressure:
The study mentioned that while Intermittent Fasting had a positive effect on overall metabolic health of individuals, no significant effect was seen on blood pressure levels.
While Intermittent Fasting could bring positive outcomes, the study also put forth a word of caution. Since the duration of trials was limited, long term side effects could not be ruled out. Reported side effects include hypoglycemia, dizziness, and weakness.
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