Intermittent fasting combined with lower-calorie diet is the best plan for weight loss  |  Photo Credit: Thinkstock
New Delhi: If losing those extra pounds is on the top of your priority list, you must have heard about the intermittent fasting (IF). Perhaps, you’ve even tried the eating regime in order to get rid of that ugly belly bulge. According to a new study, intermittent fasting combined with lower-calorie diet may be the best way for weight loss and a flat belly.
Currently one of the world’s most talked about weight loss plans, intermittent fasting boasts of many health benefits, including increased longevity and a reduced risk of certain conditions like type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. There are many different types of intermittent fasting such as the 5:2 diet, 16:8 plan, a 24-hour fast, or alternate-day fasting, etc. These plans vary in the number of fast days and the calorie allowances. Read – The 12:12 intermittent fasting diet: Can it really boost weight loss and flatten your tummy?
Intermittent fasting and lower-calorie diet for weight loss: How does it work?
The new findings from the Effects of Periodic Fasting Versus Daily Energy Restriction on Metabolic Health (PREFER) study showed that overweight or obese woman who fasted 3 days a week and ate a lower-calorie diet lost more weight and had better cardiometabolic markers than those who only fasted, or only restrict their calorie intake, or did neither in a small, 8-week randomised trial, Medscape Medical News reported.
“Obese women who followed a diet in which they ate 70% of their required energy intake and fasted intermittently lost the most weight,” said lead author Amy T Hutchison, post-doctoral researcher, Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Australia, in a statement from her university.
Other women in the study who either fasted intermittently without reducing their food intake, who reduced their food intake but did not fast or did not restrict their diet at all, were not as successful in losing weight,” she noted. Read – Weight loss: All you need to know about the 16:8 diet and 6 tips to burn belly fat using intermittent fasting
The study, published in the January issue of Obesity, adds to evidence that intermittent fasting, at least in the short term, may provide better outcomes than daily continuous diet restriction for health, and potentially for weight loss, added senior author Leonie Heilbronn, PhD, associate professor, University of Adelaide and South Australian Health and Medical Record Institute.
The researchers, however, noted that while the study suggests that intermittent fasting is more effective than continuous diet restriction, the underlying signal for limiting people’s appetite, which could hold the key to triggering effective weight loss, needs further research.
Intermittent fasting tips for beginners trying to lose weight
It can be quite challenging, especially for beginners, to stick to a fasting programme. Yet, the following tips may help you stay on track with your weight loss plan, enabling you to yield optimal benefits of intermittent fasting.
- Drink plenty of water and calorie-free liquids – such as herbal teas – during the fast to keep your body well-hydrated.
- Light exercises, including yoga, are fine but avoid strenuous activities on fasting days.
- Get outside or catch up on paperwork to distract yourself and avoid obsessing over food while on a fast.
- If the plan you’ve chosen allows some calories during fasting periods, opt for low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods rich in protein, fibre, and healthy fats – such as fruits and vegetables, lentils, beans, eggs, fish, nuts, and avocado, etc.
- After the fasting period, continue to focus on whole foods. Fruits and veggies are low in calories yet loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre, and other essential nutrients that aid weight loss, help keep blood sugar levels healthy and prevent diseases.
Intermittent fasting can have many benefits, including weight loss if done correctly. However, a healthy diet and active lifestyle can help you lose weight and keep you fit. Furthermore, people with certain medical conditions should speak to a doctor before starting any form of fasting.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.