As a Weight Loss System, What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Let me preface this article by stating that if you are wanting to “go on a diet”, I highly recommend you discuss any dietary changes with your physician to get his/her recommendations.

That being said, I have had a handful of questions over the past few months about Intermittent Fasting. People are asking me, what is it, is it healthy, will I lose weight, how do you do it? With the intermittent fast becoming a popular trend amongst the weight loss systems out there, it is still fairly new to the scientific research arena. The first thing I will say is, many people don’t realize that they are already doing it. When you are sleeping, you are in essence intermittent fasting.

This article is to provide a little bit of an over view about Intermittent Fasting and what it is all about. This isn’t a how to, tell all or prescription on how to do an intermittent fast, more so just to answer some of the questions I have been receiving on this newest of the “weight loss systems” that is creating a buzz.

What is intermittent fasting? It is an eating patter where one fasts for a set period of time and then eats for another set period of time. The three most common approaches that I have seen in the literature are the once a week/month, 24 hour and the daily 16/8 or 20/4 intermittent fast. During the 24 hour routine, the individual doesn’t eat or drink anything with the exception of water, green tea and maybe some Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) for a 24 hour period. Then, after that 24 hour period has expired they begin eating again. During the 16/8 or 20/4 routine, the individual does not eat for either 16 to 20 hours and then eats meals during the other 4 to 8 hour period.

The question of whether an intermittent fast is healthy or not is still undecided, and that is why you should consult your physician when wanting to alter your diet in a manner such as this.

Will I lose weight doing an intermittent fast? This is also a very debatable question, because it really depends on many other mitigating factors such as, what is your “normal” non fasting diet consisting of, do you have any underlying medical issues etc… If you fast for one day, but your diet consists of nothing but processed foods, fast food, animal products and desserts then no, your probably not going to lose weight. One must have a sound base of nutritional knowledge before they can use how to fast intermittent fasting as a weight loss system.

In general, this type of eating/fasting routine has been widely used by athletes, weight lifters and body builders as a way to “lean out” and decrease their body fat percentage. Those three groups all have one thing in common… they all understand the nuts and bolts of nutrition as well as the more advanced aspects of nutrition, so adding in something like the routines discussed above to lose a few percentage points off of their body fat and “lean out” is an easy addition to their routine.

Brandon Trowbridge, B.S., CSCS is a BeachBody coach and also the [] website author who has dedicated his career to helping his friends, family and clients achieve their health, fitness, athletic and weight loss goals. He received B.S. in Exercise Science with minor in Nutrition from Arizona State University. His education, knowledge and expertise in this field have helped thousands of people (including professional athletes) lose weight and improve their health, fitness and athletic performance. Please visit his site for more information on his books, blog and newsletter

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