Can intermittent fasting help you lose weight?

Not a diet plan, intermittent fasting is a timed approach to eating, which does not specify which foods to eat or avoid, but when to eat. 

With everyone trying to live and eat healthy these days, hearing about new diet plans, fitness trends and exercise regimes is no longer uncommon. From eating vegan products to trying the Keto or Flexitarian diet, people are trying everything to keep themselves fit and healthy.

Another fitness trend that gained tremendous following in the recent past is Intermittent Fasting. Not a diet plan, Intermittent Fasting is a timed approach to eating, which does not specify which foods to eat or avoid, but when to eat meals.

It is not as bad as it sounds, as when you’re intermittent fasting, you eat all the food your body needs but during a shorter period of time. Like you choose a cycle from 10 am to 6pm or 11 am to 7 pm or 12 noon to 8 pm. So you eat during a 6- to 8-hour window and fast for the remaining 14 to 16 hours, giving the body enough time to break down the fats from the body.

But does it help in losing weight? A 2015 systematic review in the journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology examined data from 40 different studies on intermittent fasting. The researchers concluded that such timed eating is useful for reducing body weight. The plan can help fast-track your weight loss goals by busting stubborn fats and rewiring your metabolism for better performance.

A study done by the Harvard School of Public health, however, says that this type of dietary pattern would be difficult for someone who eats every few hours (e.g., snacks between meals, grazes). It would also not be appropriate for those with conditions that require food at regular intervals due to metabolic changes caused by their medications, such as with diabetes. Also, patients suffering from anorexia or bulimia nervosa, and adolescents, pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding are not advised to follow this diet.

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