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Everything You Need To Know About Intermittent Fasting

Everything You Need To Know About Intermittent Fasting

Why cut back every day if you can lose weight by watching out what you eat only a couple of days a week? That is the logic behind intermittent fasting, which is a weight loss approach that’s becoming more popular over the last few years.
People fast for many reasons, to lose weight , to detox their bodies, or for religious reasons.
If you’re fasting to lose weight, you might want to reconsider since the weight loss might not last after you finish fasting and if your goal is to detox your body, you should know that your body naturally detoxes itself.

What To Eat and What To Avoid
On the days that you are not fasting you can eat whatever you want. But in order to lose weight and get the nutrients you need, you should stick to healthy foods and limit processed foods and desserts.On fasting days, you’ll eat very little food or none at all.
Some diets suggest to eat no more than 500 calories during fast days.
Another program involves eating 5 days a week and fasting for the other 2 days, when women can get no more than 500 calories and men no more than 600. Which is a quarter of the amount they likely to eat on the days when they are not fasting. You can choose Whether you eat those calories in one sitting or spread them throughout the day.
Relying mostly on water, tea and coffee are not easy in order to feel full when skipping meals. You need a balanced meal to eat in moderation the days that you don’t fast. You can have some treats from time to time but you should not overdo it so you can see results.
Exercise: You’re not going to have a lot of energy on the days that you are fasting, so how much you exercise is up to you.

Why Fasting for Weight Loss Can Backfire?
Whenever you eat less than you need you lose weight and your body goes into starvation mode. In order to save energy, your metabolism slows down.
When you are done fasting and go back to your regular diet, you may regain the weight you lost, and maybe even more.
When fasting, your body adjusts by reducing your appetite, so you feel less hungry at the beginning. But once you stop fasting, your appetite revs back up. Which will make you feel hungrier and will cause overeating.
Fasting every other day will lead to similar results. It can help people lose weight, but not for long.
A study showed that people who fasted every other day lost weight, even when they ate all they wanted on the days that they weren’t fasting. But the weight loss didn’t last over time.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?
Research shows that this type of diet might improve cholesterol levels, reduce the symptoms of asthma.
In addition, some studies, but not all, show improvement in the body’s use of insulin.
If you suffer from any medical conditions, talk with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting.
This diet is not recommended for pregnant women or when breastfeeding, children, elderly and people with eating disorders.

Is Fasting Safe?
Most probably fasting for a few days won’t hurt most people who are healthy, provided they don’t get dehydrated. But fasting for long periods of time is bad for you.
Your body requires vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from food in order to stay healthy. If you don’t get enough, you might suffer from symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, constipation and dehydration. Fasting too long can be life threatening.
If you have diabetes don’t fast, even for a short time, because it can lead to dangerous spikes and dips in blood sugar.

The Final Word
Most of the intermittent fasting diets suggest cutting back to 500-600 calories on fasting days, which is medically easier and safer than not eating at all on those days.
Pay attention to drink enough water on fasting days to prevent dehydration. And you’ll need to eat a healthy diet on the days that you don’t fast.

Christelle Bedrossian
Dietitian-Nutritionist
Beirut, Lebanon

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Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian