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How Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight

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The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

If you are looking to lose weight, you may have heard of intermittent fasting. This dieting technique has become popular in recent years, thanks to its proven ability to help people shed unwanted pounds.

Intermittent fasting is a dieting technique that involves cycling between periods of fasting and periods of eating. The fasting period typically lasts anywhere from 16 to 24 hours, and the eating period lasts from 4 to 8 hours. During the fasting period, you are allowed to drink water, tea, or other non-caloric beverages.

The benefits of intermittent fasting for weight loss are numerous. Here are just a few:

Reduced Calorie Intake

Intermittent fasting can help with weight lose by reducing your overall calorie intake. By limiting the time you are allowed to eat, you naturally consume fewer calories, which can lead to weight loss over time. Additionally, intermittent fasting can help reduce your appetite, making it easier to stick to a calorie-restricted diet.  Instead, eat fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats (a sensible, plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet). Let your body burn fat between meals.

Increased Metabolic Rate

Intermittent fasting has been shown to increase metabolic rate, which can also aid in weight loss. When you fast, your body enters a state of ketosis, which means that it begins to burn stored fat for energy. This can lead to significant weight loss over time.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity

Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which is important for weight loss. When your body becomes more insulin-sensitive, it can more effectively use the insulin it produces to manage blood sugar levels. This can help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, a condition that is closely linked to obesity.

Improved Brain Function

Intermittent fasting has also been shown to improve brain function, which can help you stay focused and motivated during your weight loss journey. When you fast, your brain produces more of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps support the growth of new brain cells and improves cognitive function.

Reduced Inflammation

Finally, intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Chronic inflammation is a major contributor to a wide range of health problems, including obesity. By reducing inflammation, intermittent fasting can help you lose weight and improve your overall health.

"Intermittent fasting can be an effective way to lose weight, but it's not for everyone. Some people find it difficult to stick to, while others may experience negative side effects like headaches, fatigue, and irritability. It's important to talk to your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise program, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking medication." - Dr. Melina Jampolis, internist and nutrition specialist

Who Should Not Consider This Diet?

While intermittent fasting can be a safe and effective dietary pattern for many people, there are some individuals who should not consider this diet. People who have a history of eating disorders, pregnant or breastfeeding women, children and teenagers, and individuals with certain medical conditions such as diabetes or low blood sugar should consult with a healthcare professional before starting intermittent fasting. “Because those with type I diabetes take insulin, there is a concern that an intermittent fasting eating pattern may result in unsafe levels of hypoglycemia during the fasting period. As with any dietary pattern, it's important to consider your individual health needs and consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet. There are different versions. They include alternate day fasting, 5:2 intermittent fasting (fasting 2 days each week), and daily time-restricted feeding. Often, they depict people eating heaps of high-calorie, high-fat foods, such as hamburgers, french fries and cake. The implication is that if you fast two days a week, you can devour as much junk as your gullet can swallow during the remaining five days which is not a healthy diet.


Intermittent fasting is a safe and effective way to lose weight, and it has a number of other health benefits as well. If you are looking to shed unwanted pounds and improve your overall health, intermittent fasting may be just the thing for you. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise program, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking medication.

Caroline Buckee

Caroline Flannigan is an epidemiologist. She is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and is the Associate Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics.

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