We'll go into the pros, cons, and whether you should try intermittent fasting on your weight loss journey!
First of all, what is intermittent fasting?
It's when you fast and don't eat for a period of time.
The most popular protocol is the 16:8 fast.
This is when you fast for 16 hours, and eat only within a timeframe of 8 hours each day.
The most popular way to do this is to only eat between 12pm-8pm.
This typically means you skip breakfast, and you stop eating after dinner.
Should You Intermittent Fast to Lose Weight?
My answer: It depends.
It's not necessary to lose weight.
What's necessary to lose weight is to be in a consistent calorie deficit.
But it can potentially help to reduce your calorie intake and create that calorie deficit, if eating only within a certain timeframe helps you to do so.
For example: If you tend to snack at night time, then intermittent fasting as a rule can help you to cut off any unnecessary snacking after dinner.
Or if you're not super hungry at breakfast and have never been a breakfast person, then skipping breakfast and having your first meal around noon will fit within your natural appetite and hunger levels.
Here's An Example to Showcase the Point.
The point that intermittent fasting can potentially help with weight loss, but isn't necessary.
Scenario #1: John eats 2000 calories a day to lose weight. He does this by eating smaller meals all throughout the day, from 7am to 11pm.
Scenario #2: John eats 2000 calories to lose weight. He does this by intermittent fasting and eating larger meals only between the hours of 12pm to 8pm.
In both scenarios, John will be expected to lose the same amount of weight, regardless of when he eats and whether he intermittent fasts - because he is in the same calorie deficit.
Aside From Weight Loss, Are There Other Benefits to Intermittent Fasting?
Yes - studies suggest that intermittent fasting:
May help to slow the aging process (but not necessarily saying you'll live another decade longer!)
May improve brain health and cognitive decline
May improve blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
May boost heart health by helping to reduce "bad" cholesterol levels and triglycerides; and boosting "good" cholesterol levels
May blood pressure
May reduce the risk of cancer
However, I would take this all with a grain of salt, as the research isn't 100% conclusive and much of the research was done on animals.
Plus the fact that the benefits from intermittent fasting may come from the weight loss itself.
YES, you may want to consider intermittent fasting to lose weight if:
You're not super hungry at breakfast
You're already skipping breakfast right now and feel fine
You prefer having larger meals later on in the day
Doing so helps you to better adhere to a consistent calorie deficit
You're curious and want to try it out for a while to see if it works for you
You may NOT benefit from intermittent fasting to lose weight if:
You get hungry at breakfast and enjoy eating breakfast
You're able to eat in a calorie deficit just fine eating at all times of the day
You don't do well with skipping meals
If skipping breakfast leads you to compensate and overeat later on in the day
I hope this has been helpful for you to understanding whether you should intermittent fast on your weight loss journey!
👇 Let me know down below - do you intermittent fast? What has your experience been?