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All You Need to Know About Intermittent Fasting

Many diets and exercise trends have origins in legitimate science, though the facts tend to get distorted by the time they achieve mainstream popularity. One need not look further than the emerging trend of intermittent fasting as a prime example. The buzz can sound surprisingly similar to that for low-carb diets: eat whatever you want and don’t bother counting calories1.

Instead of cutting out unhealthy foods and making the transition to munch on salads, intermittent fasting advocates taking periodic breaks for eating2. One popular form of this method of diet is comprised of 16 hours of fasting followed by an 8-hour eating window.

Is Intermittent Fasting Pure Hype?

It is not surprising that people tend to gravitate towards this type of diet as they do not have to restrict themselves from foods that they enjoy. But do intermittent fasting diets really work? What does science have to say about this?

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into this trendy diet trend and find out if it’s all hype or have we stumbled upon a diet game-changer.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is essentially the integration of time-restricted eating. There are various ways to diet, which makes it flexible for most people, even those who work shifts.

Through fasting, the body switches to a fat-burning mode, which exhausts energy while you are not eating.

Studies have shown that if you don’t eat for 10 to 16 hours, your body will turn to its fat stores for energy. Fatty acids called ketones will be released into the bloodstream. They also found that intermittent restriction was as effective as a continuous restriction for weight loss, insulin sensitivity, and other health biomarkers 2.

a healthy vegetables breakfast with a clock on the table

How to do Intermittent Fasting | Intermittent Fasting Hours

16 8 Intermittent Fasting

5 2 Intermittent Fasting

The 16:8 diet consists of fasting for 16 consecutive hours and eating for 8 hours3. A typical eating window would be from 12 pm until 8 pm.

You can fit two to three meals within this time with no restrictions on food choices.

Before the eating window, if you are feeling hungry, you can drink water, coffee, or other zero-calorie drinks to satiate feelings of hunger.

Another form is where you eat regularly for 5 days of the week and then cut back your calories on 2 days of the week to between 500-600 calories.

This one is slightly more difficult to follow than the 16:8 method. However, it allows you to eat freely every other day that you are not fasting, within reason of course.

Other than the 500-600 calories consumed on the 2 days, you can drink water, coffee, or other zero-calorie beverages.

 

Intermittent Fasting Results and is it Sustainable for Long-Term Fat Loss?

To a certain extent, it can be more sustainable than other diets that require you to cut out food groups completely. When practiced long-term it can be considered a lifestyle change.

Having eating windows is beneficial in many ways and can often be preferred over the effort of counting calories. Calorie counting can be time-consuming and inconvenient for many. Remembering to track your calorie intake during each meal might not be ideal for all.

It has also been shown that intermittent fasting can lead to lower blood pressure, lessens the risk of high cholesterol and diabetes, and it does lead to temporary weight loss.

Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

While intermittent fasting is effective for preventing overeating and reducing your overall calorie intake, this lifestyle change may not be able to help with significant fat loss.

In the same manner as other forms of dieting, even exercising, intermittent fasting also does not allow you to target your stubborn fat pockets. While intermittent fasting can reduce fat through the metabolic switch, this method of diet may be better for weight maintenance.

Stubborn fat is “stubborn” for a reason and often can require a lot more work. People are turning to non-invasive fat removal treatments to get rid of stubborn fat as an alternative to diets.

What Are Non-Invasive Fat Removal Treatments?

Non-invasive fat removal treatments are rapidly becoming an increasingly common method to assist your body in its natural fat-removal process. Non-surgical procedures such as CoolSculpting and SculpSure are effective in helping your body break down fat cells in targeted areas and expel them through the body’s waste system.

a person eating healthily while doing intermittent fasting

What is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is a non-invasive fat removal method that is increasing in popularity. It is effective in targeting fat cells, especially stubborn fat that doesn’t seem to budge with dieting or exercise regimes. CoolSculpting is the only treatment that is approved by the US FDA for fat removal via cryolipolysis or fat freezing.

a woman going through a coolsculpting for her fat freezing or Cryolipolysis treatment and looking happy

Cryolipolysis is where fat cells are targeted and frozen to slowly break down. Using a vacuum-like apparatus, CoolSculpting targets fat cells up to 25% within an area. It also has a wide range of applicators that are interchangeable depending on the area to be treated and the size of the volume of fat.

Under temperatures that range between -10°C to -13°C, the targeted fat cells then crystallize and die. The broken-down fat cells are then excreted through the body’s natural waste system over the course of 3 months following the treatment.

What is SculpSure?

SculpSure is another non-invasive alternative to CoolSculpting. The treatment uses laser technology to gently heat and destroy fat cells as opposed to freezing them.

SculpSure apparatus uses a cooling plate that surrounds the applicator for more comfortable treatment. The apparatus then heats the targeted fat cells between 42°C to 47°C to break them down. In 8 to 12 weeks, the treated fat cells are excreted from the body through natural waste elimination.

Skin laxity can also be treated with SculpSure since it penetrates deep into the cells of the localized area and stimulates collagen production.

an image of SculpSure machine

Choosing Your Treatment

While intermittent fasting can be effective in overall caloric reduction, it is not effective for stubborn fat pockets.

CoolSculpting and SculpSure are both effective and non-invasive ways to remove stubborn and unwanted pockets of fat. While it may be entirely dependent on your personal goals and preferences as to whether you choose CoolSculpting or SculpSure, a detailed and tailored body assessment could help you make a more informed decision to achieve your desired physique.

References:

1. Pontzer, H. (2021). Burn: New research blows the lid off how we really burn calories, stay healthy, and lose weight. 2. Collier R. (2013). Intermittent fasting: the science of going without. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l’Association medicale canadienne, 185(9), E363–E364. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.109-4451 3. Mattson, M. P., Longo, V. D., & Harvie, M. (2017). Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. Aging research reviews, 39, 46-58. 4. Levy, Emily MD; Chu, Thomas DO Intermittent Fasting and Its Effects on Athletic Performance: A Review, Current Sports Medicine Reports: July 2019 – Volume 18 – Issue 7 – p 266-269 doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000614

5. Brzyski, L (2020). Intermittent Fasting Trend. Philly Mag. https://www.phillymag.com/be-well-philly/2020/02/25/intermittent-fasting-trend/ 6. Mattson, M P., Longo, V D & Harvie, M (2017). Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. Ageing Research Reviews. v. 39, 46-58. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1568163716302513 

7. de Cabo, R & Mattson, M P (2019). Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease. The New England Journal of Medicine. v. 381, i. 26, 2541-2551. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmra1905136 8. Gunners, K (2021). 6 Popular Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-ways-to-do-intermittent-fasting