Intermittent Fasting: What Does the Science Say About the Diet Everyone’s Talking About?

Do you want to lose weight and feel better than ever? Are you ready to take the first step and be happier? Are you looking for an easy and effective way to lose weight? Under these questions and with the premise “losing weight is possible”, the various weight loss methods promoted propose behaviors that range from the logical to the unreal and from the unreal to the magical. The intermittent fasting diet, one of the regimes that is gaining more and more followers, promises to everyone who follows it a quick and strong weight loss. However, is it as effective and good as it is said to be? Is it scientifically supported? What do nutrition experts say?

To start talking about intermittent fasting, it is necessary to distinguish between what is a diet prescribed by an expert and what is chosen at random, because a celebrity, an athlete or the influencer on duty says so.

“Intermittent fasting is a therapeutic tool for the management of some pathologies, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, for example, which consists of interspersing periods of fasting, which would be times of not eating, with other times of ingestion” , he says to UNQ Scientific News Agency, Mariángeles Espiño, specialist in Nutrition and Diabetes, head of the Nutrition Service at the Trinidad Quilmes sanatorium. And he details that these periods, which we could call “fasting windows” and “feeding windows” can vary in duration.

What is intermittent fasting like?

The expert explains that there are fasts that can start with 8 hours and increase to windows of more hours. “There is even a 24-hour fast, 1 or 2 times a week, or using the 5×2 strategy, that is, 5 days of healthy, balanced and ordered food and 2 days with caloric restriction, where it is a matter of not exceeding 500 or 600 calories, always looking for these two days to be interspersed with 24 hours of balanced food”.

In this sense, it is important to observe what is done during periods of ingestion, because often, when it is not controlled by health professionals, people can interpret that eating at these times is eating at will, regardless of the quantity and quality of food. food, because I know that you have fasted. “In reality, it is about generating these moments of fasting to launch a different ketosis metabolism, which will allow us to use not glucose as fuel, but ketone bodies, which originate from adipose tissue, in the quest to burn calories from this tissue and thus try to achieve weight loss”.

A diet between lights and shadows

According to experts, often when you have difficulty putting a diet into practice, or are tired of “dieting” forever, start with intermittent fasting can be a good strategy. “In that sense, in the beginning it can be significant in losing weight, but then you have to sustain it; That’s why it’s important to see which foods we incorporate into these intake windows,” explains Espiño.

Even so, it is important to emphasize who should not do intermittent fasting: “It is not recommended for pregnant women, children, people who have some type of eating disorder and who have type 1 diabetes, who do not have monitoring and control of their blood glucose, through the continuous glucose monitoring.

The Origin of Intermittent Fasting and More Controversies

In dialogue with the UNQ Scientific News Agency, Monica Katz, Specialist in Medical Nutrition, author of the book “We are what we eat”, He says intermittent fasting emerges strongly in the 21st century from the participation of elite Muslim athletes. These athletes have ramadan (the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, respected by Muslims around the world as the month of fasting) the need to fast during the day and eat only in the afternoon/evening. From this, the scientific interest in seeing what is the performance or sporting performance of these athletes. And this is where the interest in fasting arises. that were born for elite athletes and not for ordinary people.

“If we ask about the benefits, it is obvious that it is effective because people go a whole day without eating. So, whoever manages to adhere to fasting will definitely lose weight because, specifically, they don’t eat, ”she says. For Katz, in any health practice it is important to look at efficacy and safety: “In intermittent fasting, safety has not been scientifically proven in the medium and long term; published works are based on short deadlines, two months”.

And it ends with a question: “Can we recommend to the population a practice without evidence of safety for the management of a chronic disease such as obesity? We are facing a huge ethical dilemma. Hunger is a social debt, it should not be a treatment”.

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