Sunday, February 5, 2023

Does Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?

Although it may seem like just another fad diet, intermittent fasting is gaining more and more followers who are looking to lose weight, among other things. But unlike other arrangements that require great sacrifice or investment of time or money, this one is less complicated to accomplish and requires nothing more than discipline and willpower. There’s a lot of excitement on social media, but what is it really for?

First, you need to know that intermittent fasting consists of not eating for several hours to allow the body to use its energy stores, and especially fat. The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHUSOM) defines it as “an eating plan that alternates between fasting and eating at regular times”; Thus, while most diets focus on what to eat, fasting emphasizes when to eat.

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“Intermittent fasting is an eating regimen, it is not a diet as such. It’s a pattern in which you eat during certain hours (the feeding window) and fast during other hours (the fasting window),” says Miguel Angel Tapia Ortiz, a bariatric doctor and expert in intermittent fasting and clinical nutrition. Although there are many types, the most common and studied is time-restricted feeding, in which people fast for 12, 16, or 18 hours and eat for the remaining hours.

While this pattern offers many benefits, many people view it with skepticism because stopping eating goes against what we’ve been taught for years: “You have to eat three (or more) times a day” because “your The body needs it” or “Because not eating hurts.” But it is now known that this is not necessarily true and that fasting is actually closer to our human nature than any other eating pattern.

Neuroscientist and intermittent fasting expert Mark Mattson explains in a JHUSOM article, “In prehistoric times, before humans learned to farm, they were hunters and gatherers who evolved to survive long periods of time without eating.”

We’ve inherited that ability, with the difference that now almost no one goes hungry for long, nor do we have to put our bodies at risk to get food. In contrast, we live with a permanent and sometimes excessive availability of foods, many of them ultra-processed, that we eat but our bodies don’t use. So that energy is stored in adipose tissue.

Take advantage of the reserves. With the lack of food, the body starts using its energy stores to do the work. Miguel Angel Tapia explains it as if they were three reserve tanks. “First, the body will begin to use up the excess energy in the blood (glucose). When that reserve begins to run low, it moves to the next deposit: glucose stored in the liver (glycogen). And when it runs out If it is, it uses the energy of our adipose tissue (fat).

If we do very short fasts, that is, six or eight hours in which we sleep and do not eat, the body will only oxidize glucose. But when that fast is extended to twelve hours or more, the body will start using fat stores. It may be associated with weight loss, but experts say that the main reason fasting helps to lose weight is because a person reduces their caloric intake: If one has less time to eat, So they will eventually stop eating less.

There are several articles that show that this weight loss occurs in rats, especially if they are overweight. For example, a study published in Physiology & Behavior in 2021 shows that a group of female rats that underwent intermittent fasting for 14 days lost between 15 and 50 grams of body weight, while The non-fasting control group gained weight for that period.

The evidence in humans is still limited. A 64-person study published in the journal Obesity in 2013 reported a 3% weight loss and a decrease in lean body mass and waist circumference in those who combined 3–4 weeks of intermittent fasting with exercise. Another review published in 2020 that included 27 trials with few participants (between 10 and 244), all overweight or obese, showed that they all resulted in a weight loss of between 0.8% and 13%.

Beyond losing weight. In an article published in the journal Cell Metabolism in 2018, a group of scientists wanted to find out whether weight loss had independent benefits in a group of eight prediabetic men. Their results showed that “insulin levels, insulin sensitivity, responsiveness of pancreatic beta cells (responsible for secreting insulin), blood pressure and oxidative stress levels were improved in men with prediabetes (…) even though There was no weight loss.” An increase in insulin sensitivity is one of the most consistent results in the available evidence, so intermittent fasting is recommended for people with prediabetes to prevent them from reaching diabetic status.

Experiments have been done with mice that have observed a process called autophagy, which occurs when the body, without food, destroys its own waste (from protein fragments to bacteria that can eventually damage cells or tissues). Has an account. Miguel Angel Tapia describes this as a “metabolic reset”, a kind of “self-cleaning that promotes self-regenerative processes”.

Other studies have suggested that intermittent fasting also improves physical function: rats have greater walking abilities, and their balance, coordination, and spatial memory also improve. There is evidence that intermittent fasting helps reduce blood pressure, triglycerides, bad cholesterol, and cardiovascular risks in general, and also reduces the occurrence of spontaneous tumors during aging.

Fasting has many benefits, but you have to take it with caution. “Something important to say is that most of the information we have so far on intermittent fasting comes from animal studies. But the problem we have today, especially on social media, is that people are using animal studies (in rats) interpret the results or apply them directly to humans. That’s a huge mistake,” Sofia Cienfuegos, an expert on intermittent fasting and a researcher at the University of Illinois Chicago in the United States, said in an interview.

Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. Another thing that gets missed when exaggerating the benefits of intermittent fasting is that it is not for everyone and not everyone will have the same results, as its effects are influenced by other key factors such as diet and rest. Also depend on the quality. As the physical activity or state of health of each individual.

Intermittent fasting is not a magic recipe. “If you eat more calories than required in your meal time, you may gain weight even if you are fasting. Fasting is better without any doubt, but we should not stop taking care of the quality of our food”, Tapia explains.

Nor should it be recommended for everyone. One of the population groups most likely to become a problem with fasting are people who have or have had an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, as fasting can lead to a relapse of that disorder.

Other studies suggest that since extreme calorie restriction causes dysregulation of hormone management, fasting is also not recommended “for people with hormonal imbalances, pregnant and lactating women, and diabetics.”

There are many things to know about intermittent fasting. But, for now, this might be a good opportunity to start critically analyzing how we eat and our schedules to do so.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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