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How Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight

Intermittent fasting and Weight loss | Image: Forks over knifes

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that restricts your food intake to a specific time window. It doesn’t limit the types or amount of food you eat.

Daily time-restricted feeding (eating 6-8 hours a day and fasting for 16-18 hours) and 5:2 intermittent fasting (fasting two days a week, usually capping a fasting day at 500 calories) can greatly improve your health.


In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Mark Mattson, PhD, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine explored the benefit of intermittent fasting for many health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and neurologic disorders.

Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting on weight loss:

Decreased calorie intake

Restricting your meals and snacks to a strict time window may naturally decrease your calorie intake, which can aid weight loss.

Increased calorie burning

Intermittent fasting may increase levels of norepinephrine, a hormone and neurotransmitter that can boost your metabolism to increase calorie burning throughout the day.

Reduce insulin level

This eating pattern may reduce levels of insulin, a hormone involved in blood sugar management. Decreased levels can bump up fat burning to promote weight loss.

Retain muscle mass

Some research even shows that intermittent fasting can help your body retain muscle mass more effectively than calorie restriction, which may increase its appeal.

Intermittent fasting may reduce body weight by up to 8% and decrease body fat by up to 16% over 3–12 weeks.

Other health benefits of fasting

Improve heart health:

Intermittent fasting has been shown to decrease levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as triglycerides, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.

Support blood sugar control:

A small study in 10 people with type 2 diabetes noted that intermittent fasting helped significantly decrease blood sugar levels.

Increase longevity:

Although research in humans is lacking, some animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting may boost your lifespan and slow signs of aging.

Mattson maintains that intermittent fasting is not for everyone. Factors such as lifestyle, age, medical history, work hours (shifts) and personal preference being key may influence the ability to adhere to this lifestyle and approach to eating.

The medical information provided in this article is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship and should not be used as a substitute for 

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