The term “intermittent fasting” has become part of everyday lingo over the last few years. 16:8 approach (fast 16 hours, eat within 8 hours) or 5:2 approach (cut down to about 500 calories 2 days a week and eat normally for the remaining 5 days), time limited Eating in moderation, or abstaining from food at certain times, can help you manage your weight, take care of your digestive system, feel focused, energetic, and feel happier and healthier. It’s a common method.
But a new study published last week raised headlines questioning the effectiveness of this popular technique, especially when it comes to weight loss. The purpose of this study was to determine whether time-restricted diets were more effective than caloric restriction, the more traditional form of weight management, for weight management in 90 obese (and notably diverse) adults. was to determine whether
The time-restricted group ate fewer calories per day than the calorie-restricted group, but lost 10 pounds versus 12 pounds over the course of the year. With 37.3 million people reportedly living with diabetes in the United States, the results suggest that counting calories is a more effective method than intermittent fasting to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. suggests there is. We asked experts for their take on this research and how well the technology works in practice.
Calorie counting and intermittent fasting
“From a scientific point of view, and considering my experience gained from years of clinical practice, intermittent fasting is healthier than calorie restriction,” says Artah, a nutritionist, naturopathic physician and founder of Artah. Ryan Stevenson, Principal, says: “However, this study points to a key and important theme for overall health: the importance of food quality and fiber.”
This study investigated which dietary structure was better for weight loss, but did not focus on or monitor the quality of the food consumed by the two groups. I did. Participants were allowed to eat ad libitum, and, as Stevenson points out, were actively encouraged to consume sugar-free beverages (which destroy the microbiome) to keep their calorie intake in check. rice field.
“Both groups were consuming on average half the recommended amount of fiber per day, had fairly high carbohydrate diets, and consumed three times the recommended amount of sugar per day. I was there,” she says. “diet structure Whether it’s cutting calories daily or trying intermittent fasting, it just keeps us moving forward. The most important thing we can do is eat a wide variety of high-quality foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar. Combining this with intermittent fasting provides the most beneficial changes in hormones and sets you up for great health. “
The Reality of Calorie Counting
While we’ve long been programmed to believe that the secret to maintaining a healthy weight is making sure we’re matching the amount of calories we eat with the amount of energy we expend, the scientific world has other indicators, For example, we’re pivoting to focus on blood sugar levels. The level of a healthy body (and mind).
“Studies have repeatedly shown that regular or short-term calorie restriction can lead to fat loss and improved metabolism, but long-term calorie restriction is ineffective,” says Stevenson. To tell. “Our bodies are amazingly adaptive. Restricting calories over an extended period of time increases hormones that mediate hunger, which typically leads to increased appetite.”
If you keep counting calories and lose weight, you will have to eat fewer calories to keep losing weight. This can increase the stress hormone cortisol, alter the immune system and hormonal balance, and cause a decrease in lean muscle mass, which is essential for metabolic health. Nutritional deficiencies are also not uncommon.
Anyone who has tried calorie counting knows that it is not without its emotional challenges, especially when counting calories for long periods of time. “It often leads to frustration, social withdrawal, excessive fear of food, and of course, rebound binge eating periods when everything becomes too stressful,” Stevenson says. “Eating is generally not very enjoyable, but enjoying food is one of the great pleasures of life.”
Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
So back to intermittent fasting. Countless scientific papers suggest that, contrary to research findings, timed eating is actually a very good way to manage your health, weight level, and general well-being. backed by “It has been shown to benefit the gut microbiome (and overall gut health),” Stevenson says. “It allows the essential digestive rest that microbes need to heal themselves and stay healthy, generally helps reduce total insulin exposure in the body, and many physiological processes run more smoothly. will be able to.”
She references a 2011 study published in the Journal of Obesity. The study compared her two groups, one that underwent daily calorie restriction and one that implemented her intermittent fasting two days a week, during her six months. Both groups experienced similar weight loss and improvements in inflammation, oxidative stress and blood lipid markers, but the intermittent fasting group showed greater improvement in insulin resistance and was a superior way to manage blood glucose levels. have become.
How to Introduce Intermittent Fasting and Improve Your Diet
There are many different approaches to timed eating, but it’s best to start slow and gentle. “Try cutting your meal times down to eight to 10 hours three days a week to start,” Stevenson suggests. “The best way to do that is to enjoy a solid, balanced breakfast and eat less at night during the day.” She recommends eating a nutrient-rich soup early in the evening. It can be served with or without a simple protein such as grilled chicken or fish. Of course, many people who follow this strategy choose to skip breakfast and eat between, say, 10am and 6pm.
Once you understand this, the next step is to focus on the quality of the food you are eating. “To make sure you feel full, cut down on processed sugar and increase your protein and fat intake,” she says. “From there, you can build at a pace you’re comfortable with. Adding more plant variety to your diet, going for a walk after meals, and adding strength training can all help.” If so, look for a program like Artah’s The Metabolic Reset to provide structure and support for the entire process.
Food is medicine, and the way we eat food affects not only our weight, but also our mood, as this recent study explored. So eat plenty of plants and healthy whole foods, eat with care, and eat at times that work for you and your routine.
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