By Causenta Wellness
It’s 2020. What are your New Year’s resolutions? If, like most of America, one or more involve weight loss or getting healthier, you are in the right place.
There is a lot of information out there regarding intermittent fasting and how it’s a quick and simple way to lose weight. But, does it really work? Besides getting “hangry,” are there any health concerns you should consider before beginning an intermittent fasting plan? And, what are the long-term effects on your health?
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting describes an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It does not specify which foods you should eat or not eat, but rather when you should eat. The most common intermittent fasting methods include:
- Daily 16-hour fasts, meaning you consume all of your calories in one 8-hour period.
- Fasting for 24 hours, twice per week (on non-consecutive days) and eating normally the others.
- Eating only 500-600 calories twice per week (non-consecutively) and normally the other five days per week.
By design, intermittent fasting causes you to eat fewer meals, which can lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake, thus facilitating weight loss.
However, it is important to note that if you make poor food choices or overeat/binge during your “on” periods of intermittent fasting, it is likely that you will not lose any weight.
Can Intermittent Fasting Really Help You Lose Weight?
Additionally, if performed as intended, studies show that intermittent fasting lowers insulin levels and changes growth hormone levels, both of which can facilitate weight loss.
When insulin levels decrease, fat in the body is more accessible to be broken down. Also, during fast periods, cells may initiate their natural repair process, which can remove unhealthy proteins in the body. Intermittent fasting is shown to be an effective weight loss program because it works in two ways – limiting calorie intake and helping the body burn more calories based on metabolic changes.
While recent human studies on intermittent fasting have been short in duration, they do show positive results. In 2014, researchers found that intermittent fasting can cause 3%-8% weight loss over three to 24 weeks, which is a significant amount.
According to the same study, published in ScienceDirect, people also lost 4%-7% of their waist circumference; this loss of harmful belly fat may be a sign of longer-term health benefits of intermittent fasting because the buildup of fat around the abdomen can harm your organs and cause disease.
Are There Benefits Besides Weight Loss?
Even though this data is newer, the fact that there is data to back up the claims of health benefits for intermittent fasting makes it more promising than some other diet techniques.
“Obviously, being at a healthy weight and making good food choices is something I recommend to everyone I talk to,” says Dr. Tom Incledon, Founder & CEO of Causenta.
“Even with intermittent fasting, it is important to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure you are getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs. I also recommend lean proteins and other foods low on the glycemic index.”
With intermittent fasting, you can expect to see:
- Weight loss: This is the key benefit and reason to try intermittent fasting. It works well for people who do not want to count calories or do meal prep work.
- Heart health: There is some evidence that intermittent fasting reduces LDL cholesterol, aka “bad cholesterol,” inflammatory markers, and blood triglycerides, which are all risk factors for heart disease.
- Blood sugar: Intermittent fasting can lower blood sugar, which can help those with type 2 diabetes manage their insulin levels without medication.
- Nervous system: A brain hormone that aids the growth of new nerve cells is shown to increase in cases of intermittent fasting.
How About Cancer?
Various diets are thought to have an effect on cancer, but because everyone’s bodies are so different and react to things differently, it is hard to know if intermittent fasting has any real positive outcome for cancer patients.
“When we work with cancer patients, we customize their treatment program to best meet each patient’s specific case and needs,” says Incledon.
“If we think intermittent fasting could help, we will try it for a period of time, and we will always include a way to measure efficacy.”
An area of concern is that many people don’t properly monitor their bodies. How you look on the outside is one thing, but how you work on the inside may be even more important.
Causenta has developed cutting edge testing technologies to help people optimize the results from various nutrition regimens.
This idea of evaluating strategies throughout the treatment process is core to Incledon’s philosophy and a core practice at Causenta.
“Before and after various approaches are employed, we evaluate every patient to determine if what we are doing is working for them. This is especially important with our cancer patients as various medications can work very differently between people,” says Incledon. “We never want to have someone performing certain exercises, undergoing a procedure, or following a diet that is not helping with their overall health.”
It is also important to note that because intermittent fasting involves long periods of time when you are not consuming anything or just some liquid, you should speak to a healthcare professional before you begin this weight loss plan. This is especially important if you have a history of:
- Eating disorders
- Low blood pressure
- Low body weight
You should also be careful with intermittent fasting if you:
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Are trying to get pregnant
- Take certain medications
While intermittent fasting alone may help you achieve your current weight loss goals, it is important to keep in mind that long-term health is based on healthy habits and being proactive. It is not just about your weight or appearance, but everything happening inside your body.
You should also keep an eye on getting the proper amount of sleep each night, limiting alcohol, getting regular check-ups, and being aware of any environmental toxins you may be exposed to on a regular basis.
“By being proactive and taking control of your health, you can decrease your risk of developing cancer and other diseases,” says Incledon. “That’s our goal at Causenta. To help patients feel their best and achieve long-term health to live their best happiest and healthiest lives with friends, family, and fun.”
If you are interested in getting in shape in 2020 and want to consider intermittent fasting or a customized wellness program, including an exercise regimen suited to your body type and goals, get in touch today for a 30-minute consultation. We will get you started on the path to looking and feeling your best this new year.