What is Intermittent Fasting & Should You Consider it for Weight Loss?

What is Intermittent Fasting & Should You Consider it for Weight Loss?

In this article, you will read about:

  • Intermittent fasting
  • How does it work
  • Methods
  • Benefits
  • Is it safe?
  • Final Verdict

One of the most popular fitness trends in the world, intermittent fasting is being adopted widely by individuals who want to lose weight, improve their health and make their fast-paced lives simpler. Many studies have been successful in finding a link between intermittent fasting and living longer. Before jumping on the bandwagon to lose weight immediately, it’s very important to understand what exactly intermittent fasting is.


Intermittent fasting is an eating plan that switches between eating and fasting on a fixed schedule. It is a bit different as compared to regular diets because rather than focusing on what to eat and what not to, it focuses on when to eat and when not to. For this reason, it can’t qualify as a diet but rather as a pattern of eating.

The most common method includes 16:8 i.e., fasting for 16 hours per day or fasting for 24 hours twice a week. Scientific evidence points out several health benefits including improved metabolism, reduction in insulin resistance, prevention of cancer, and weight loss, etc.

Dr. Mark Mattson who is a neuroscientist (Brain Researcher) at Johns Hopkins University, studied intermittent fasting extensively for 25 years. His research shows that our bodies can go without food for several hours and even days without any serious health hazard. Before humans discovered farming, they’d go without food for several days because hunting took a lot of energy and time.

If we go back to 1960s and 1970s, life was much convenient and simple. Maintaining a healthy weight wasn’t a very difficult task as it is today. Christie Williams who is a dietitian at John Hopkins explains why lives were simpler 50 years back, “There were no computers, and TV shows turned off at 11 p.m.; people stopped eating because they went to bed. Portions were much smaller. More people worked and played outside and, in general, got more exercise”.

Fewer activities and more calories can result in a higher risk of heart diseases, type-2 diabetes, obesity, and other diseases. Researchers have found intermittent fasting beneficial and also claim that it can reverse the harmful effects of unhealthy food items.


All of the ways to do intermittent fasting rely on choosing a schedule to eat and fast. This means that if you choose to eat for 8 hours per day, you’d have to fast for the rest of the day. Similarly, you can choose to eat one meal per day for 2-3 days and resume your normal diet for the rest of the week. For intermittent fasting to show instant results, you need to find a perfect balance between eating and fasting.

Dr. Mattson discovered that after spending hours without eating, the body starts burning fat after exhausting its sugar stores. This process is often known as “Metabolic Switching”. Dr. Mattson also mentions, “Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most individuals, who eat throughout their waking hours”. He also states, “If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and they’re not exercising, then every time they eat, they’re running on those calories and not burning their fat stores”.


There are several methods of intermittent fasting, most of which depend on trying to fit the most suitable schedule for eating and fasting. While you are fasting, you can either have something very little in quantity & calories or nothing at all.

The most popular methods are:

1. 5:2 Diet

If you follow this method, you will have to consume less than 600 calories twice a week. Make sure that these days aren’t consecutive. For the remaining days of the week, you can maintain your regular diet. While you are on it, try avoiding sugars and processed food.

2. Eat-Stop-Eat

If you decide to follow this method, you will have to fast for 24 hours twice a week. Again, make sure that these days aren’t consecutive.

3. 16:8 Method

Also famously known as Leangains protocol, you can follow this method by skipping breakfast and restricting your diet to 8-hours i.e., from 12 pm to 8 pm. Afterward, you can fast for the remaining time.

Before choosing a plan for yourself, I’d recommend that you consult with your nutritionist or dietitian. Once you get his/her approval, the rest of the process is simple. These three methods are safe and healthy. Going without eating for 36, 48 or 72 hours is very dangerous and might encourage your body to start storing more fat in response to starvation.


Researchers have been successful in finding evidence that intermittent fasting is beneficial for individuals who want to shift towards a better and healthier lifestyle. The benefits may vary from one person to another. They include:

1. Reduces the Risk of Type-2 Diabetes

Intermittent fasting has proven to reduce insulin resistance resulting in reduction of blood sugar levels and thus, reduces the risk of type-2 diabetes. Studies on intermittent fasting show that it reduces blood sugar by 3-6% and reduces insulin resistance by 20-31%

2. Memory & Thinking

Several studies have found that intermittent fasting helps to improve the verbal memory of people.

3. Heart-related issues

Intermittent fasting has improved heart conditions over the years. Evidence proves that it also helps in reducing blood pressure and heart rate.

4. Physical performance

If you are young and want to lose fat immediately then this is the perfect hack for you. Young adults specifically men who fasted for 16 hours burned their body fat without losing muscle mass.


Recent hype gained by intermittent fasting only mentions how it’s beneficial for managing your weight. Articles do not mention that it is extremely healthy for people who are suffering from chronic illnesses like arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, or high cholesterol. But again, it isn’t for everyone. I can’t stress this enough but before switching towards intermittent fasting or any other diet, please take your nutritionist or dietitian on board. Regardless, people who fall in the category below should avoid intermittent fasting.

  • Women who are breast-feeding or pregnant
  • People who have a history of eating disorders
  • Teens and children below the age of 18

Intermittent fasting affects different people differently. It is better to have a conversation with your doctor if you experience anxiety, headache, nausea, or any symptoms that were not previously there.


Intermittent fasting isn’t something that you should try. It isn’t something that everybody needs to adopt. It is just one of the many strategies that help people to get on a healthier track. Not eating processed food, exercising, and sleeping properly are as important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to diet, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The best diet for you is the one that takes you toward a happier and healthier life. If you are someone who enjoys fasting then this is the picture-perfect hack for you.

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