Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – unless you’re following intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting has gained popularity throughout pretty much every diet clan – especially the ketogenic diet community. Fasting may not sound attractive for snacking enthusiasts or fans of many small meals a day. Some fasting protocols are more extreme than others, but research suggests that it’s more sustainable and filling than you may think. If you’re opposed skipping out on meals – some research may make you think otherwise.
What is intermittent fasting?
Although there are several variations, the premise of them all is all the same: spend less time eating and more time not eating. For weight loss, research has shown that intermittent fasting can be a long-term, effective way of sustaining a healthy lifestyle. The typical fast lasts arounds 14-16 hours with an eating window of 8-10 hours. This version seems to be a fan favorite. There are other versions that have been slower to fame – like the ‘every-other-day’ fast and the ‘25/115’ fast. The ‘every-other-day’ fast is self-explanatory, while the ‘25/115’ consists of eating 25 percent of your calorie needs one day, and eating 115 of your calorie needs the next. Using either means, you significantly reduce the total amount of calories during the week.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Many weight loss success stories have accredited intermittent fasting. However, research suggests that intermittent fasting can help you do more than lose weight. Here’s a sample of benefits you may experience while fasting:
- It’s easy. Little meals means little cooking. Its simple structure is easy to follow and is applicable to every diet preference. Intermittent fasting is also sustainable; The Atlantic reports that 80-90 people are able to stick with the plan long-term.
- Weight loss. Intermittent fasting has obvious benefits for weight loss, since you’re consuming significantly less calories in the long run. Besides reducing calories, this eating pattern works for weight loss because it boosts your metabolic rate, according to Healthline.
- Disease prevention. Intermittent fasting isn’t a cure for anything, but has showed promising results in prevention. By reducing blood sugar levels, intermittent fasting has protected people against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It has also been linked to preventing/delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer.
Brain function. Studies show that intermittent fasting can gradually improve cognitive function. This includes improved learning and memory and decreased oxidative stress. That’s why fasting has been growing in popularity as a treatment for the obesity epidemic.
- Prolonged lifespan. This research is fairly recent and still in progress – but so far, the results have are positive among several species, Business Insider reported. The fresh research on humans so far has also been successful. The results are most likely because of the dips in bad cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Increased endurance. Intermittent fasting shifts your body’s fuel source from carbohydrates to stored fats – so basically ketosis. The fuel preference reduced their respiratory exchange ratio, or “the ratio of CO2 produced to O2 consumed,” according to Medical News Today. In other words, intermittent fasting makes for more efficient exercise.
Should I try intermittent fasting?
This tactic works for many, but it may not be your best choice. When it comes to losing weight or building muscle, they key factor is building sustainable habits. At Thrive Fitness, we believe that a well-balanced diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle along with an active lifestyle. Any diet change should be made under a nutrition expert’s guidance. That’s why we have Holistic Health and Nutrition Coaches at your disposal. Contact Thrive Fitness Atlanta to talk about which diet suits your lifestyle today at email@example.com.
Bacon, steak, avocado, repeat. That’s a snapshot of the keto diet (short for ketogenic diet), the latest weight loss trend. The diet is high in saturated fats and low in carbs. That’s right – instead of a bowl of fruit and oatmeal in the morning, the “keto” tribe suggests whole eggs, bacon, and “bullet-proof coffee” (i.e. 1 cup of coffee with 1 Tablespoon coconut oil and 1 Tablespoon butter).
Intuitively, your first instinct in the morning probably not to throw butter and oil in your coffee for weight loss – but some research shows otherwise. While many tout the effectiveness of the Keto Diet, it ranked last on U.S. News’ list for Best Diets for Healthy Eating. So what’s the verdict?
First, let’s look at what it is.
What is keto?
It’s short for ketogenic, which is named after the distinguishing process of the diet, called ketosis. On this diet, you reduce your caloric intake and essentially deprive your body of carbohydrates with an intake of around 20-25 grams daily (the same amount of carbohydrates in one apple). Carbohydrates are converted into glucose – which your body uses as its primary energy source, completely dismissing stored fats. When your body can’t produce glucose, it produces ketones – which break down fats as energy. Ketosis will usually begin two to four days after maintaining the 20-25 grams of carbohydrates (note: values may vary).
Keto helps you lose weight – just like any other diet that allows a calorie deficit. The low-carb, high-fat diet has been shown to shed more body weight over the course of 12 months than a low-fat diet alone. The well-known Atkins diet, which similarly restricts carbohydrates, also wins the match in terms of weight loss when squaring up to three other lesser-known high-carb diets: Ornish, Zone, and LEARN.
On a wellness note, children who have epilepsy have responded well to the ketogenic diet, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information – because of the switch of energy sources. Some, but less evidence has also showed uplifting results in patients with Parkinson’s, ALS, and Alzheimer’s.
If you’re considering a keto diet for short term rapid weight loss, we won’t sugarcoat it – it’s extreme, (which makes it hard to follow). The extent of “long-term” research on the diet only goes up to about a year – it’s not sustainable for most people. Another con is the fact that as soon as carbs show up to the party again (and eventually, they will), you’ll spike in water weight. Some studies have also shown that the diet, when practiced for longer terms, may promote tumor growth.
Some of the possible temporary side effects from rapid weight loss associated with the Keto Diet are lethargy, flu-like symptoms, constipation, excessive cravings, bad breath and leg cramps.
Weight loss for the long run
Slow and steady wins the race. Since many specialized diets can lead to weight fluctuations later, you may opt to find a more sustainable program. The nutritionists at Thrive Fitness can advise you on the pros and cons of specialty diets vs. a diet comprised of proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
With balanced nutrition, you’ll enjoy improved health and immunity, natural energy, and sustainable weight loss. (You may even be able to enjoy a small cheat meal here or there that won’t wreak havoc on your progress).
The decision to put certain foods in your body should not be taken lightly – that’s why Thrive Fitness offers nutritional coaches to create the perfect program for you. To find out which one of the hundreds of diets out there are best for you, contact Thrive Fitness today or email firstname.lastname@example.org.