Diet trends come and go, but intermittent fasting has been around for some time. Now science has begun to look more closely at its possible health benefits. The verdict? It’s too early to tell for sure. But early evidence suggests intermittent fasting can help. Intermittent fasting means that you refrain from eating for a designated amount of time each day. You eat during an eight-hour period — for example, from noon to 8 p.
The obesity epidemic has spawned a cottage industry of weight-loss schemes. Currently in vogue is intermittent fasting, which involves alternating intervals of extreme calorie reduction with periods of normal eating. Proponents of an intermittent fasting regimen claim that it helps shed pounds faster than traditional diets, as well as reduce inflammation and other heart disease risks. All diets achieve weight loss through the same equation — you take in less food energy each day than your body burns for normal activity. Intermittent fasting achieves this goal by severely limiting calories during certain days of the week or during specified hours during the day. The theory is that intermittent fasting will help decrease appetite by slowing the body’s metabolism. Frank Hu, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health. With this system, you eat normally for five days of the week, but restrict food intake to just to calories on the two fasting days. Another variation of intermittent fasting calls for alternating “fast” days, in which you consume a quarter or less of your basic calorie requirement, with “feast” days, during which you eat whatever you choose. So far, the research studies evaluating intermittent fasting have been relatively short and have enrolled only a limited number of participants.
This type of intermittent fasting is relatively easy to do compared with some other patterns, as you sleep for about half of the fasting period. Frank Hu, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard T. Example: Mon-Wed-Fri consists of fasting, while alternate days have no food restrictions. Contrary to longstanding advice and what you may have heard from your mother, a growing body of evidence shows that skipping meals may actually be good for your health. This may reflect a real-life pitfall of fasting as a weight-loss approach. Potential Pitfalls This type of dietary pattern would be difficult for someone who eats every few hours e.