Intermittent Fasting: What Does The Research Say?

November 5, 2018

Not eating for 16-24 hours at a time? On Purpose?



If you had told me to do this even just five years ago I would have thought you were crazy, but the idea of shortening and altering your eating window has gained massive popularity in recent nutritional approaches. 


Like it or not, Intermittent Fasting is definitely a hot topic in the nutrition/health/fitness space. Some say it’s the magic formula to lose body fat, build muscle and stay younger. Some say it’s something you should do forever while others say to just do it for a little while.


Search it long enough on the internet and you’re sure to find opinions and “proof” of every different side of the equation.


Want I really want know… what does the research say?


If you aren’t familiar with Intermittent Fasting (IF): Intermittent Fasting is basically relatively brief periods of fasting. It’s not an actual diet as much as it is a pattern of eating. If you don’t know much about it then WATCH THIS video before going on to get the scoop.  


Research isn’t conclusive but does seem to point to some of the potential benefits you may have read. These things include potential for reduced blood pressure, internal markers of inflammation, stress and risk of diseases; increased metabolic rate, growth hormone release; improved satiation and blood sugar control.


With all these potential benefits, why haven’t you already started IF?


You have, you just called in something different… sleeping.


Each time you sleep you are dipping into glycogen stores within the liver and fasting for (hopefully) 6-8 hours at a time. This is essential for appropriate recovery and seeing desired changes in your body but doesn’t seem to have the same full benefits of a complete fast. More current research is finding that many of these benefits don’t appear until later in the fast – as late as 20-24 hours in.


So you should probably go ahead and not eat for the next 24 hours, right?


Not so fast…….(get it?...)


IF experiments are typically done on animals – rats and monkeys. While they are convenient and similar to test on, the results won’t necessarily be the same with humans.


IF experiments are compared to “normal” eating. The typical American diet is higher in calories than the typical American burns, so they’re going to gain weight. 


So just by cutting out the calories [not necessarily adding fasting] can have a similar, if not the same effect.


When it comes to IF, research is inconclusive.


Why it seems to be so strongly supported though is because when people have less time to eat, they actually eat less… and research on calorie-controlled diets is strong: If you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight.


It seems simple and that’s because it really is. Give yourself less time to eat and you are likely to eat less. You might be on the go throughout the morning and actually like the idea of just eating from 12pm-8pm. Great, that can work if you can stay consistent. 


So yes, IF can have some great benefits to it, but so can eating a portion controlled diet of whole foods. Combine that with consistent exercise and you have the most effective well researched way to get lean and feel great long term.


In the end, it’s not some kind of magic pill but for some could be a great behavioral cue and control that sets you up for success. Research says it can definitely work for the right person but currently doesn’t have any significant proven benefits over other methods of eating.


If you are considering trying IF,we recommend talking with a nutrition professional first in order to ensure you are consuming adequate caloric and nutrient intake for your activity needs. 


Want to really dive deep into the IF? Click here... 


P.S. Want some additional guidance with your nutrition? 


Talk to one of our Nutrition Coaches today! Click here

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