Intermittent Fasting for Fat Loss
In the ongoing battle for weight loss, I believe that every piece of information counts.
Something you’ve probably heard a lot about is calorie restriction. But what you may not have heard about is intermittent calorie restriction or intermittent fasting.
There’s a bunch of new research out about the potential benefits of intermittent fasting, so I thought I’d offer up a review of this somewhat controversial topic.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting essentially means alternating between days of very low calorie intake (300 – 800 calories) and days of unrestricted eating (of course focusing on healthy natural foods). While some may engage in complete fasting intermittently, I’m using the term “fasting” to also include extreme calorie restriction.
Many of you may have never considered fasting of any kind, assuming it was entirely unhealthy. I have to admit that I used to have the same idea in mind, but there’s more to the story. Keep reading to learn more…
Is Intermittent Fasting Good for Fat Loss?
A number of studies have recently compared the benefits of daily calorie restriction (i.e., the typical dieting) and intermittent restriction or fasting. What they found may surprise you.
Research is showing that both methods are actually effective fat loss strategies. The difference, however, seems to be in the type of weight lost. On normal daily calorie restriction diets, most of the weight lost is indeed fat, while the rest is muscle mass. The ratio is typically 75% fat / 25% muscle.
Obviously any loss in muscle mass is a bad thing, especially if your goal is also muscle gain. And in the long run, retaining as much muscle mass as possible is key to healthy aging and living a long life.
But here’s the interesting finding from this research. While weight lost was comparable using intermittent fasting, the composition of fat loss was very different. Rather than a 75% fat / 25% muscle weight loss, those on intermittent fasting demonstrated 90% fat / 10% muscle weight loss. This is impressive, I must say! And definitely better for maintaining your overall fitness goals.
What’s the Catch?
While the numbers are definitely impressive, there are some things that the research didn’t do well. For example, they didn’t control for exercise habits, which may have explained some of the differences observed.
The long term impact of intermittent fasting is also unknown, and it may indeed be hard on your body or specific organs. More information is needed to sort these things out.
Nevertheless, if you’re looking to try something new, give it a shot. But I would caution against engaging in any kind of real fasting. You still need to provide some fuel to your body and to your muscles, particularly if one of your goals is muscle gain.
If you decide to give intermittent fasting a try, make sure you’re supplementing with a high quality protein powder. This will help you maintain your muscle mass on any diet, and will also help fight cravings by keeping you full for longer. Here are my top picks for protein supplements:
- Gaspari Nutrition Myofusion – one of the tastiest whey proteins on the market, nice and creamy texture
- Optimum 100% Natural Whey – another great option that you can mix into anything and has no artificial sugars or preservatives
- MHP Probolic-SR Muscle Feeder – the perfect time-released option for weight lifters
- Vega Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer – an effective vegan/vegetarian protein option
Have any questions or feedback about Intermittent Fasting for Fat Loss? Please leave a comment below…