There is none.
However, many people have seen success with weight loss by doing Intermittent Fasting (IF). In this blog, we’ll dive into IF, how it can be utilized, and why it works for some people.
Note: Some people refer to IF as “time restricted feeding” (TRF). In this blog, we’ll refer to it as IF, since it is the popularized term used by most people.
What is IF?
IF is a meal timing strategy. It can take many different forms, such as having a large fasting window (16+ hours) or by simply eliminating a meal and extending the fasting window just slightly. One common IF strategy is having a 16-hour fasting window with an 8-hour eating window. This would look like the following:
16-Hour Fasting Window
8-Hour Eating Window
Why does it work for some people?
Again— there is no magic to IF.
People see results from IF because they tend to eat less, thus it puts them in a caloric deficit. For example, let’s say someone typically eats approximately 2,500 calories. comprised of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks throughout the day. This person then decides to try IF, so they decrease their eating window by eliminating breakfast and just increasing some of their protein in later meals (in order to keep protein the same). Notice that there is not much of a difference, just the elimination of a bagel, and the calorie difference is significant, 2,500 calories versus 1,900 calories. This created a caloric deficit, which puts the individual in a state of potential weight loss.
Why does IF work for some people? There is no special science behind it, simply put– it forces the individual to eat less than they normally eat and puts them in a caloric deficit.
Benefits Beyond Weight Loss
Because it puts the individual in a caloric deficit which leads to the upregulation of autophagy—the consumption of our own tissues and waste products in the body. Autophagy is essential for overall health and can lead to the prevention of cancerous cells from forming. However, autophagy is increased by any caloric deficit, not just through IF.
Many people experience benefits with digestion and absorption of food by taking a break from eating.
How can it be utilized?
Although IF isn’t special, it can still be a useful tool for some people because it helps them adhere to a calorie deficit. Many people find it hard to stick to a weight-loss nutrition approach because they are accustomed to snacking and eating a lot of food, therefore IF can be useful to them by providing a stricter guideline and preventing them from snacking after dinner and fasting hours. Further, IF can be useful for the busy individual who have little time to eat meals constantly, or someone who loves structure.
Is IF for everyone? No. Some people thrive with this tool while other people do not. For some people, they experience extreme hunger and prefer to eat throughout the day. Other people like to eat more intuitively and eat their food based off of hunger and feel. Further, IF is not ideal for the performance athlete who trains multiple times a day and needs to be well-fed for their training sessions.
The only way to know if IF can be useful to you is to try it out yourself!