The Science Behind Intermittent Fasting

For years my husband has come home from work starving. Having inadvertently “fasted” all day, he anxiously stares at me, awaiting supper time. Unbeknownst to him, this method has a name, Intermittent Fasting, and is very on-trend. Defined as alternating periods of fasting with periods of eating, Intermittent Fasting can look different for those partaking. Some of the methods include:

  1. Fast and Feast: Followers restrict food consumption to 500 calories for a full day and eat with no restrictions the following day.
  2. 5:2: Followers of 5:2 eat without restrictions for five days and fast for two days per week.
  3. Wait to Eat: Followers of time-restricted eating try not to eat for 16-20 hours per day and eat freely over four- to eight-hour periods.

The frequently asked question is, “Does Intermittent Fasting work?” The science says there is efficacy in this fasting methodology.

The Metabolic Magic

Consuming carbohydrates and fats increases blood glucose and lipid levels, including cholesterol and triglycerides. As a result, tissues are supplied with energy when insulin is triggered. The energy needs of each individual are highly dependent on exercise, diet, body weight, and other vital factors. Once the body’s energy needs are met, excess glucose converts to fatty acids and is stored in fat tissue as glycogen.

Depending on the activity level and the food consumed, the body returns to its baseline glucose levels 3-18 hours after a meal. Once the baseline glucose level is reached, the Intermittent Fasting magic occurs. Why? The body begins to draw on stored fuel sources, glycogen and fat, to provide energy between meals. Once the fasting state is reached, the body increases the breakdown of the stored fats for energy.

Simply stated, Intermittent Fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.

The cycle starts over when you break the fast. Blood glucose and lipids return to basal levels, and energy levels in the body are maintained. The good news is that the body is well-equipped to adapt between periods of feasting and fasting.

The Weight Loss Facts

Intermittent fasting diets have produced clinically significant weight loss. Intermittent Fasting may also lower blood pressure and blood lipid levels.

On the downside, clinical studies show that the weight reduction from intermittent fasting diets is similar to the weight loss on a calorie-restricted diet. For this reason, it is unknown whether Intermittent Fasting’s metabolic magic creates weight loss or merely the resulting reduction of calories over time is the catalyst for losing weight. The same 75% ratio of fat mass and lean mass weight loss occurs in both diet strategies.

Remember that Intermittent Fasting is likely a method of calorie restriction versus a magical metabolic response alone. Until longer-term studies are complete and the findings referenced, we will not know.

Physician’s Plan weight loss counselors provide Intermittent Fasting as an option. It should, however, include:

  • An array of needed nutrients.
  • An exercise plan of action to preserve lean muscle mass.
  • The ability to sustain alternating fasting and feasting in daily lifestyle habits.

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Plans

The Physician’s Plan team of medical providers, weight loss counselors, and expert, Leah Fleming, PA-C, design your Intermittent Fasting plan to ensure maximum results and fit your lifestyle. Delay, don’t deny. We’ll teach you how.

Call a center near you, use our chat room, or book an appointment online. Lose the weight. Plan on it.