With the rising popularity of low-carb diets and outright fasting more studies into their benefits take place around the world. A team of researchers from the University Of Florida College Of Medicine in Gainesville has conducted a large-scale review of these materials. The scientists came to the conclusion that intermittent fasting has ‘profound health benefits’ due to its effect on metabolism. Not only does it help weight loss but also has the potential to prolong lifespan and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
What’s the New Review on Benefits of Intermittent Fasting Say?
The focus of the review lies in collating and analyzing the existing research on fasting of different types. The researchers managed to process a huge amount of data and came to some very interesting conclusions:
- Intermittent fasting is associated with significant weight loss regardless of the fasting patters.
- Certain fasting regimens are associated with additional health benefits, such as reduced risk of cardiovascular disease or rate of inflammation.
- Reasonable intermittent fasting does not cause a significant loss of lean body mass.
The researchers from Florida came to the conclusion that health benefits of intermittent fasting come from the fact that it enacts a kind of ‘metabolic switch’. A team of scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology also recently provided additional proof to this theory. Their research into fasting indicated that it triggers the regeneration of stem cells in the gut, which leads to multiple health benefits.
Intermittent Fasting Is Not a Ketogenic Diet (But It’s Close)
Although the weight loss benefits of intermittent fasting come from the fact that it pushes the body into ketosis, this eating regimen is not a regular ketogenic diet. The latter boils down to severely reducing the intake of carbs, while other food groups can be consumed as usual. According to Harvard Health Blog, this diet is still efficient for weight loss. Therefore if you aim to shed fat fast, you should consider looking up a ketogenic diet meal plan.
However, fasting requires a person to give up on all food groups, not just carbs. This still triggers ketosis, which is a state when your body starts break down its own cells to obtain energy instead of getting it from blood glucose.
The review concluded that the type of fasting has no significant effect on its weight loss efficiency. The patterns covered by it included:
- Fasting for several hours (about 16) with unlimited food intake in between.
- Fasting on alternate days with no food restrictions the rest of the time.
- Frugal eating on alternate days (about 500 calories).
As you can see, all these meal plans are somewhat similar to a ketogenic diet. So it’s no wonder that the benefits they offer are similar as well.
As there is no significant difference in long-term weight loss, one can start using any type of intermittent fasting and achieve visible results right away.
Is Intermittent Fasting Truly Safe?
The main danger of fasting is that it leads to the loss of lean body mass. It also naturally slows down metabolism as the body rightfully considers lack of nutrition a danger to survival. That’s why people are advised against starvation diets. Extremely low-calorie diet plans are prescribed only in rare cases and for short periods of time.
Intermittent fasting, however, is not the same as fasting. The very point of this practice is to make the periods without food short, which makes the entire process manageable. As a result, the body manages to ‘push the metabolic switch’ which results in using ketones instead of glucose for energy. But the change is not so dramatic as to push the body into full ‘survival mode’ which will slow down metabolism to the minimum and reduce the rates of fat cells breakdown.
Therefore, it’s essential to remember that despite health benefits of intermittent fasting, one must be careful and reasonable with this practice.