Intermittent fasting, when done properly, can lead to effective weight loss and long-term health benefits. Fasting is one of the oldest therapies in medicine, recognized for its ability to help heal and prevent disease.
Intermittent Fasting Versus Starving: A Big Difference
So, you might be wondering, what’s the difference between intermittent fasting and starvation diets? Well, for starters, starving yourself is dangerous! This isn’t a competition of “less is more.” Our bodies still need fuel to function.
Starvation deprives our body of essential nutrients, so it begins eating itself by burning muscle. Fasting differs from starvation because is can be practiced for short periods of time and doesn’t kick the body into starvation mode. Fasting for 12, 16, 24, 36 or even 48 allows the body to flip the metabolic switch and use anther fuel source for energy.
Typically, our bodies are fuelled by glucose, which is a simple sugar. During intermittent fasting, that energy source gradually becomes unavailable. As a result, the body begins to convert its stored fat into fatty acids that are easily absorbed by the bloodstream. Fatty acids produce molecules called ketones. (This may ring a bell if you are familiar with the ketogenic diet.) After 8 – 12 hours of fasting, our metabolism shifts to replace glucose with ketones as our new source of energy.
In a world of fad diets and weight loss gimmicks, studies show that intermittent fasting may be better for you than other dietary strategies. This is because ketones put less stress on our cells compared to the by-products of other dieting methods.
Studies also show that intermittent fasting can produce benefits no matter how it’s accomplished!
In one study, participants were allowed to fast for any number of hours a day, and then eat whatever they desired during the remaining hours. In another study, dieters alternated fasting and feasting days. On their non-fasting days, dieters either restricted their diet or ate to their hearts’ content. In both cases, results showed significant weight loss, no matter the approach!
Furthermore, participants in both studies did not lose any significant amount of lean tissue (which includes bone, muscle and organ tissue). This is in contrast to other dieting strategies which can sometimes cause the loss of both fat and lean tissue, impacting health negatively in the long run.
If you think you are thinking about fasting but have never tried it before, our team of experienced Naturopathic Doctors can help guide you about healthy practices in intermittent fasting. Book an appointment online today and we can help you get back on track with better weight management.