What you need to know about intermittent fasting — and who should avoid it

What you need to know about intermittent fasting — and who should avoid it

Here’s what you need to know about intermittent fasting, the popular weight-loss trend. (Photo: Getty Images)

Sarah Adler, PhD, a psychologist with the Stanford Eating Disorder and Weight Control Clinic, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.’ data-reactid=”23″>So what, exactly, is intermittent fasting? “Intermittent fasting is a weight loss or weight control strategy where you’re cycling between periods of eating and fasting,” Sarah Adler, PhD, a psychologist with the Stanford Eating Disorder and Weight Control Clinic, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

There are several ways to do intermittent fasting, but it typically involves choosing a specific window of time in which you can consume food or caloric drinks. “It can be as simple as skipping breakfast and eating at noon or finishing your last meal earlier,” says Adler.

weight loss. “I’ve seen a lot of people who have struggled with weight loss and have done intermittent fasting, and it seems to be the magic bullet for them,” Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It’s because people are not eating as much.”’ data-reactid=”28″>For many who are able to stick with it, intermittent fasting is the “magic bullet” for weight loss. “I’ve seen a lot of people who have struggled with weight loss and have done intermittent fasting, and it seems to be the magic bullet for them,” Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It’s because people are not eating as much.”

They’re also eliminating late-night eating, which can include less-than-healthy options like chips and ice cream. “Once they stop eating after dinner, that alone helps a lot of people start to lose weight,” says Weinandy. “For a lot of people, they’re not eating those extra 300 or 400 calories.”

Intermittent fasting can also have a diuretic effect — when the body gets rid of excess water — which leads to some fluid weight loss as well, according to Weinandy. 

Adler explains that when you eat carbs, for example, the body breaks it down and converts it into sugar (glucose). But if you eat more than your body can use for energy, the sugar gets stored in fat cells. “Insulin brings sugar into fat cells and keeps it there,” says Adler. “Between meals, our insulin levels go down and our fat cells release the stored sugar to use as energy. Intermittent fasting allows for insulin levels to drop so that [stored sugar] gets burned off.”

Adds Adler: “People need to use an approach that works for them and is sustainable for them.”

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