What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting isn’t a diet centered on what you eat, but when you eat. Will fasting help you lose weight faster?

Intermittent fasting alternates between periods of fasting and eating. There are several variations of intermittent fasting, but a popular method is to abstain from food for sixteen hours, followed by an eight-hour eating window. People who adopt the diet claim weight loss as a primary reason for following the eating plan. But does intermittent fasting actually work?

“Fasting is not a groundbreaking concept—our ancestors also practiced this way of eating,” says Kari Jossart, APNP, Ideal Weigh Advanced Nurse Practitioner at Prevea Health. “While additional research is needed, current findings are promising, showing that fasting may help with weight reduction, reduced inflammation, and lower risk of metabolic disease.”

If you are considering fasting, it is important to know that this style of dieting is not a one-size-fits-all solution. While some people may reap the benefits of time-restricted eating, others may be negatively affected by it. Generally speaking, adults who have previously had an eating disorder, work long hours, are extremely active, or struggle reaching a healthy calorie intake in a short period of time should avoid intermittent fasting.

“Every patient should speak with a primary care provider before starting a new diet program,” says Jossart. “Your provider will discuss with you the benefits or risks of intermittent fasting based on your own health history.”

Keto: A Better Alternative?

Another diet trending in recent years is the ketogenic, or keto, diet. The keto diet generally involves eating foods high in fat, moderate in protein, and with little to no carbohydrates. Ketogenic eating also puts your body in a fast, but only a partial one.

While fasting and during nutritional ketosis, the body breaks fat down into ketones. Ketones feed the heart, kidneys, and brain with energy.

If you struggle with dietary inflammation, the ketogenic diet may be a good solution. While many people may benefit from this type of diet, especially those with prediabetes that show insulin resistance, Jossart warns to not “DIY” it. When followed incorrectly, you may cause more harm to your health.

“The ketogenic diet isn’t a free pass to eat all foods high in fat,” says Jossart. “There isn’t enough research regarding the long-term effects of eating a high-fat diet. Instead, people on the diet should be diligent about consuming low fat foods such as vegetables and lean protein.”

Adults interested in a keto diet or intermittent fasting should seek a specialist to ensure the diet plan is best for their weight-loss needs.

Interested in being part of a medically supervised weight-loss program? Ideal Weigh incorporates monitored ketogenic eating, meal replacement foods, and weekly personal coaching to help patients reach their weight-loss goals. We are currently seeking Ideal Weigh patients at our Altoona and Chippewa Falls locations. Call 715.717.3290 to schedule a free informational visit with one of our health coaches.

 You may also be interested in “Gain Health by Losing Weight.”