Intermittent fasting is one of the latest weight-loss plans
to hit the Internet, promising fast results without the rigor of more strict diets.
With intermittent fasting, you are encouraged to eat normally most of the time while severely restricting calories once or twice per week. Some plans include a splurge day, allowing participants to eat their favorite high-calorie foods guilt-free.
While around half of participants
drop out of popular weight loss programs, intermittent fasting has only a 38% dropout rate
. This eating pattern is thought not only to encourage you to take in fewer calories than you burn but also to slow the metabolism and decrease appetite.
However, intermittent fasting isn't without its pitfalls. Here are the pros and cons of cutting back on calories a couple of times a week.Benefits of Intermittent FastingIntermittent fasting
can help with weight loss. Fasting has also been shown to offer both physical and mental benefits, mostly due to an improved stress response. When the body fasts
, cells are placed under mild stress. This forces them to learn how to adapt and cope healthily, allowing your body to reduce cellular damage that occurs due to oxidative stress and keep you looking and feeling younger. An enhanced stress response can also help boost your immune system and resist disease.
In addition to physiological benefits, periods of fasting have been shown to improve learning and memory. When you don’t eat, your body releases fatty acids called ketones into the bloodstream, which has been shown to protect neurons in the brain. It’s important to give cells time to recover after fasting, however, or you may end up causing more harm than benefit.Drawbacks of Intermittent Fasting
The main drawback of any diet, including intermittent fasting, is that it requires discipline to cut back on calories. Fasting-based plans can be particularly challenging for dieters, as they require strict self-control and consistency. It can take a couple of weeks to get used to the pattern. While intermittent fasting may be easier than completely restrictive diets, many people still find themselves dropping intermittent fasting for a simpler meal plan.
Intermittent fasting is becoming a popular way to maintain a healthy weight. By fasting one to two days out of the week, you can strengthen your stress response and sharpen your mind. The diet requires self-discipline, however, and may not be the right choice for everybody.