Intermittent Fasting: Study Confirms Benefit for Overweight Women

 

Study Proves IF Works For Women’s Weight Loss

 

The medical journal, Obesity has published a study proving that intermittent fasting is an effective way for women who are overweight and obese to lose weight. The study showed that women not only lost weight, but they improved their overall health as well.

 

Women in the study lost weight and improved their overall health.

 

What is Intermittent Fasting?

 

 

Technically, IF is not a diet that instructs you on what to eat, but rather an eating plan that tells you when to eat.

It involves committing to a cycle of eating and fasting within a set amount of time.

 

The Study Participants

A total of 88 women between the ages of 35 and 70 participated in this study, conducted by researchers at the University of Adelaide in South Australia.

 

 

Each of the women had a BMI that fell within the 25-40 range, which categorized them as overweight to morbidly obese.

During the study, the women followed a typical Australian diet consisting of 35 percent fat, 15 percent protein, and 50 percent carbohydrate.

 

Comparing Four Study Groups

 

 

All participants were split among four groups and monitored for 10 weeks:

  • IF70 – Women who fasted intermittently and consumed 70 percent of their required caloric intake.
  • IF100 – Women who fasted intermittently without cutting any calories.
  • DR70 – Women who reduced their daily caloric intake but did not fast intermittently.
  • Control Group – Women who did not restrict their diet at all.

The two groups of women that fasted intermittently alternated between fasting and eating every other day.

So, participants would eat breakfast and then begin a 24-hour-long fast. When that cycle finished, they would be allowed to eat within that following 24-hour time frame. Then the fasting cycle would resume, and so on.

The macro composition of the foods eaten by both calorie-restricted groups was the same.

 

Study Results (Stunning!)

 

 

Obese women from the first group mentioned above (those who cut their daily calories by 30 percent and did intermittent fasting) lost the most weight, having dropped about 1-2 pounds during each week they were taking part in the study.

 

But here’s the kicker:

 

The calorie-restricted IF group (IF70) lost more weight than the calorie-restricted non-fasting group (DR70), even though both group consumed the same number of calories!

 

The calorie-restricted IF group lost more than the non-IF group consuming the same total calories!

 

Health Improvements

The overweight and obese women who participated in this study did more than just melt pounds away.

 

Women in the fasting group lost weight and improved their health.

 

“By adhering to a strict pattern of intermittent fasting and dieting, obese women have achieved significant weight loss and improvements in their health, such as decreased markers for heart disease,” says lead author Dr. Amy Hutchison from the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

 

Study Conclusions

The study proved that intermittent fasting is more effective than continuously following a restrictive diet.

Of course, more research needs to be done in order to crack the code on the most effective means of weight loss, but this study demonstrates how IF could be beneficial for improving the health of obese and overweight women.

 

 

The study authors concluded that when intermittent fasting (IF) is prescribed at an equal dietary calorie restriction (DR),

 

“IF reduced weight, fat mass and improved total and low‐density lipoprotein cholesterol more than DR.

 

Should You Try IF?

 

 

While intermittent fasting will give you a weight loss edge, you’ll still have to create a calorie deficit.

That said, if you can delay breakfast and stop eating after dinner, you probably won’t have much difficulty taking advantage of IF benefits.

IF requires you to focus on when you choose to sit down to meals. There are different variations of IF ranging from fasting for two days of the week and then eating your normal caloric load to fasting for about 12 to 16 hours per day (usually including sleep time).

Many people choose to adopt the 12- to 16-hour overnight fast, in which you would finish eating at about 8 p.m. and hold off breakfast until about 12 p.m.—an easier and more sustainable approach than skipping meals during the day.

While you’re fasting, you can drink virtually-calorie-free drinks such as water, tea, and black coffee (but make sure to skip the usual add-ins like milk and sugar!).

 

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

 

If you can manage to keep your eating confined to an 8-hour eating window, you can expect to reap the following benefits:

 

Enhanced Fat Burning

An animal study published in the journal Cell Research found that following intermittent fasting for up to 16 weeks helps prevent obesity, and preliminary benefits were apparent after just six weeks!

The researchers found that IF kickstarts the metabolism and helps burn more fat by generating body heat.

“Intermittent fasting without a reduction in calorie intake can be a preventative and therapeutic approach against obesity and metabolic disorders,” says study author Kyoung-Han Kim, according to Science Daily.

 

Increased Longevity

 

 

Nothing says “healthy lifestyle choice” like longevity!

A study in the journal Cell Metabolism shows that IF’s food-free period manipulates the energy-producing mitochondria of your cells and increases your lifespan.

As you age, your body is in a natural decline that affects your cells. The study showed that the lower levels of energy produced during fasting times caused the mitochondria to shift and maintain their functions longer than normal to promote healthy aging and a longer lifespan.

 

A Healthier Brain

 

Fasting protects the brain and sharpens your thinking.

 

One of the most agreed upon benefits of the IF diet is the fact that it promotes healthy brain function and wards of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

According to research by Mark Mattson, a professor of neuroscience in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging, the act of forgoing food is a challenge to your brain that causes it to take preventative measures against diseases.

 

Fasting Induces Ketosis

The fasting period gives your body more time to deplete your body’s glycogen stores and causes you to burn fat instead of sugar (hello, weight loss!).

This fat-burning process produces ketones, which boost your energy and banish brain fog.

Mattson suggests packing the day’s meals into a short eight-hour period so that your body has time to efficiently deplete glycogen stores and enter ketosis.

 

Anti-Inflammatory Effect

We experience sporadic inflammation on a daily basis, from stubbing a toe to coming in contact with allergy-triggering dust mites.

But suffering from chronic, long-term inflammation can lead to weight gain and unwanted belly fat. That’s where intermittent fasting comes in.

A study published in Obesity shows that fasting produces an anti-inflammatory effect on the neuroimmune system that a high-fat diet would otherwise prevent.

 

 

Blood Sugar Management

Over 29 million people in America have diabetes, and one in four doesn’t even suspect that they have it!

Diabetes can be managed via diet, exercise, and medication; and according to University of Southern California researchers, intermittent fasting may also be able to stop the disease in its tracks.

 

IF may be able to stop diabetes in its tracks!

 

The study notes that:

 

Fasting triggers the production of new pancreatic cells to replace dysfunctional ones, can control blood sugar, and can reverse insulin resistance and depletion.

 

 

Intermittent Fasting: Troubleshooting

 

If you’re not witnessing a trimmer waistline and bloat-free belly, don’t quit just yet.

Take a good look at your routine follow these tips:

 

Calories Still Count (Sorry.)

 

 

While intermittent fasting will make weight loss easier,  you’ll still need at least some calorie deficit for weight loss. 

 

Stay Hydrated

 

You’ve heard it a million times (still true!).

 

I know – you’ve heard this advice on every diet plan. 

But that’s because it’s important. Drink lots of water and calorie-free drinks, such as herbal teas, throughout the day.

 

Avoid Obsessing Over Food

 

Stay busy!

 

Plan plenty of distractions on fasting days to avoid thinking about food, such as catching up on paperwork or going to see a movie.

 

Rest and Relax

 

 

Avoid strenuous activities on fasting days, although light exercise such as yoga may be beneficial.

 

Make Every Calorie Count

 

Make sure your calories deliver nutrients!

 

If the chosen plan allows some calories during fasting periods, select nutrient-dense foods.  

 

Choose High-Volume Foods

 

Raw vegetables go a long way on fasting days.

 

Select filling yet low-calorie foods, which include popcorn, raw vegetables, and fruits with high water content, such as grapes and melon.

 

When you need to munch, air-popped popcorn will do the trick (only 31 calories per cup!).

 

Boost Flavor Without Adding Calories

Season meals generously with garlic, herbs, spices, or vinegar.

These foods are extremely low in calories yet are full of flavor, which will add to your enjoyment and satisfaction.  This will help decrease your hunger better than something bland.

For me, adding heat (as in my favorite chili garlic sauce) makes pretty much every meal tastier and more satiating.

 

Look For Nutrient Density

 

Eat nutritious, unprocessed foods.

 

Eating foods that are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients helps to keep blood sugar levels steady and prevent nutrient deficiencies.

And don’t forget protein for essential amino acids and satiety.

A balanced diet will also contribute to your well-being and overall health.

 

Consider a Different Intermittent Fasting Plan

There’s a lot of variation on the intermittent fasting theme. 

If what your doing doesn’t feel comfortable, experiment with a different plan.

  • I’ve recommended some excellent books at the bottom of this article.

 

IF Variations

 

 

Here’s a brief summary of some styles of intermittent fasting.

 

12 Hour Eating Window

The rules for this diet are simple. A person needs to decide on and adhere to a 12-hour fasting window every day.

According to some researchers, fasting for 10–16 hours can cause the body to turn its fat stores into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream, which should encourage weight loss.

 

The 12 hour eating window is especially good for beginners.

 

This type of intermittent fasting plan may be a good option for beginners, because the fasting window is relatively small, and much of the fasting occurs during sleep.

The easiest way to do the 12-hour fast is to include the period of sleep in the fasting window.

For example, you can fast between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.  Finish your dinner before 7 p.m. and wait until 7 a.m. to eat breakfast.

 

8 Hour Eating Window

Fasting for 16 hours a day, leaving an eating window of 8 hours, is called the 16:8 method,  the Leangains diet or the 8 Hour diet.

During the 16:8 diet, men fast for 16 hours each day, and women fast for 14 hours.

 

This type of intermittent fast may be helpful for someone who has already tried the 12-hour fast but did not see any benefits.

 

On this fast, you’d finish your evening meal by 8 p.m. and then skip breakfast the next day, not eating again until noon.

A study on mice found that limiting the feeding window to 8 hours protected them from obesity and inflammation, diabetes, and liver disease, even when they ate the same total number of calories as mice that ate whenever they wished.

 

2 Day Per Week Fast

People following the 5:2 Diet eat standard amounts of healthful food for 5 days and reduce calorie intake on the other 2 days.

During the 2 fasting days, men generally consume 600 calories and women 500 calories.

Typically, you’d separate your fasting days in the week. For example, you might fast on a Monday and Thursday and eat normally on the other days.

There should be at least 1 non-fasting day between fasting days.

There is limited research on the 5:2 diet, which is also known as the Fast diet.

 

Video: The Fast Guide to The Fast Diet

 

Fasting On Alternate Days

There are several variations of the alternate day fasting plan, which involves fasting every other day.

For some people, alternate day fasting means a complete avoidance of solid foods on fasting days, while other people allow up to 500 calories.

The Every Other Day Diet

On feeding days, people often choose to eat as much as they want.

One study reports that alternate day fasting is effective for weight loss and heart health in both healthy and overweight adults. The researchers found that the 32 participants lost an average of 5.2 kilograms (kg), or just over 11 pounds (lb), over a 12-week period.

Alternate day fasting is quite an extreme form of intermittent fasting, and it may not be suitable for beginners or those with certain medical conditions. It may also be difficult to maintain this type of fasting in the long term.

 

Weekly 24-Hour Fast

 

 

Fasting completely for 1 or 2 days a week, known as the Eat-Stop-Eat diet, involves eating no food for 24 hours at a time. Many people fast from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch.

People on this diet plan can have water, tea, and other calorie-free drinks during the fasting period.

Then, you would return to normal eating patterns on the non-fasting days.

Eating in this manner reduces a person’s total calorie intake but does not limit the specific foods that the individual consumes.

A 24-hour fast can be challenging, and it may cause fatigue, headaches, or irritability.

Many people find that these effects become less extreme over time as the body adjusts to this new pattern of eating.

My advice: try a 12-hour or 16-hour fast before transitioning to the 24-hour fast.

 

Skipping Meals

 

Skipping meals is a great way to test the waters of intermittent fasting.

 

This flexible approach to intermittent fasting may be good for beginners.

It involves simply occasionally skipping meals.

You can decide which meals to skip according to your level of hunger or time restraints.

This may feel more natural for some people than the other fasting methods.

 

The Warrior Diet

The Warrior Diet is a relatively extreme form of intermittent fasting.

The Warrior Diet involves eating very little, usually just a few servings of raw fruit and vegetables, during a 20-hour fasting window, then eating one large meal at night.

 

The eating window is usually only around 4 hours.

 

This form of fasting may be best for people who have tried other forms of intermittent fasting already.

Supporters of the Warrior Diet claim that humans are natural nocturnal eaters and that eating at night allows the body to gain nutrients in line with its circadian rhythms.

During the 4-hour eating phase, people should make sure that they consume plenty of vegetables, proteins, healthful fats and some carbohydrates.

Although it’s possible to eat some foods during the fasting period, it can be challenging to stick to the strict guidelines on when and what to eat in the long term.

 

Also, some people struggle with eating such a large meal so close to bedtime.

 

There is also a risk that people on this diet will not eat enough nutrients, such as dietary fiber, which can increase the risk of cancer and have an adverse effect on digestive and immune health.

 

Best IF Diet Plan Books

These are the intermittent fasting books I recommend, based on reviews, popularity, and discussions I’ve had within online intermittent fasting communities.

 

The New Melanie
The New Melanie by Melanie Davis

 

Author’s Description:

“Why can’t I be desired like all the other girls? Why am I always the fat one?”

How many times I asked myself this question…

If you’ve been struggling with losing weight, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or simply you’re ready to give up, keep reading…

This is the story of how I got my life back. How I loosed 130lbs and how I regained my self-esteem as a woman.

I remember being a happy-go-lucky and chubby little girl, whose slowly rising weight was the last thing on her mind.

However, this quickly changed during my early teens.

I became known as “that fat girl” in high school and my early twenties. Not very funny.

I still have extremely painful memories from that time. Being a fat girl in high school was a death sentence on my self-esteem. I had none.

No pool parties for me. No stylish clothes for me. No friends around me. I could barely even fit into clothing made for big girls like me.

Turning to McDonald’s for comfort, hugging my teddy bear and desiring sleep. They were my only escape from being ‘’the fat girl’’ for just a few hours. I was shattered by so many judgmental people and loved ones that my weight problem turned into a bigger issue with using food as solace. It became a vicious cycle I couldn’t escape.

Little did I know that trips to the McDonald’s golden arches would be the doorway to the event that changed my entire life.

I was 250lbs when I truly decided to start a change.

One year and a half later, I was 120lbs.

My name is Melanie. And this is my weight loss story. I’m talking to you about my struggle with being an obese teenager. How my little girl eating habits develop into a vicious circle that I didn’t get out of until I was 25, when I hit rock bottom. I will talk to you about my food abuse years, my alcohol and drug abuse moments and my pain during the darkest part of my life.

But most of all, I will talk to you about how I said goodbye of all this crap and re-started my life from the bottom.

Intermittent Fasting changed my existence completely.

And you can do the same, as I did.

Follow me on my personal journey from being an overweight, depressed, struggling girl to a healthy woman with the power of Intermittent Fasting.

My goal is to get you inspired from my personal story to get start your path towards a healthier lifestyle. No matter how your weight is, how many people believe in you or how much struggle you are. Changing our lives is a possibility.

 

Delay, Don’t Deny
Delay, Don’t Deny by Gin Stephens

 

In Delay, Don’t Deny by Gin Stephens, you’ll learn the science behind intermittent fasting, and how to adjust the various intermittent fasting plans to work for your unique lifestyle.

The many positive reviews for this book include before and after photos; they’re downright inspiring!

 

A Timekeeper’s Guide to Weight Loss
A Timekeeper’s Guide To Weight Loss

 

In A Timekeeper’s Guide to Weight Loss by Donna Dube, MS, RN,  you’lll learn to: become a timekeeper on your weight loss journey, decrease circulating insulin, become a fat-burner, and restrict when you eat, not what you eat, and enjoy your food without guilt.

At the time of this post’s publication, A TimeKeeper’s Guide to Weight Loss has a perfect rating by reviewers

Clearly, this book has helped many people find success with an intermittent fasting lifestyle.

Hey!  Blogging can be a lonely business … I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips on intermittent fasting – drop me a comment below!

 

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