How Intermittent Fasting Benefits Your Health and Assists With Permanent Weight Loss
As you can see, some IF strategies are certainly more intense than others and require lengthier periods in a fasted state. There is no "one size fits all," and each person will need to determine which type fits their lifestyle and health goals. Each of the strategies listed above can also be adapted and modified. For example, if you like to eat breakfast, you could consume your calories earlier in the day and fast during the typical dinner time. Another example might be to follow a 16:8 fast every other day or for a couple days out of the week. Or perhaps, alternate day fasting might be useful for a month and then normal eating patterns would resume for a month, cycling on and off.
Which Method Does Research Support?
A 2019 study followed 34 resistance-trained men over an eight-week period who either followed a 16:8 intermittent fasting strategy or ate a normal diet. Researchers found that the 16:8 strategy could "improve some health-related biomarkers, decrease fat mass, and maintain muscle mass" better than following a normal diet.
In a 2019 meta-analysis of studies that reviewed various intermittent fasting practices, researchers determined that "almost any intermittent fasting regimen can result in some weight loss." They went on to acknowledge that there is insufficient data to determine the optimal fasting regimen. However they did note that "evidence supports the hypothesis that eating patterns that reduce or eliminate nighttime eating and prolong nightly fasting intervals could result in sustained improvements in human health."
Thus, weight loss and health benefits probably result from various IF strategies. Hours fasted seem not to matter as much as just ensuring that breaks are taken from eating.
Video: Benefits of Intermittent Fasting + How to Do It
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