Considering Fasting for Weight Loss? Don’t Do It!
Trying to shed a few pounds before summer? You’re just a click away from tips and tricks that promise to help you slim down in no time. But, dieter beware—most of them won’t work.
One of the latest diet fads is fasting, which basically boils down to not eating during a certain period. Fasting diets come in all kinds of packages, from celeb-endorsed “cleanses” that limit you to lemon-cayenne water for a week, to the “Werewolf diet,” which has you fast periodically according the lunar cycle. By drastically reducing caloric intake, these diets are said to help anyone shed weight quickly. But think twice before trying to fast your way to a slimmer body.
The fast lane to weight loss, or too good to be true?
While there are plenty of write-ups from “wellness experts” stating the health benefits of intermittent fasting, most of these articles do not have scientific proof to back up their claims. Here’s what the New York Times had to say about “alternate-day fasting,” a weight loss trick that has its followers go every other day without eating. The article comments on a year-long study that showed alternate-day fasting offers little-to-no added weight loss benefit when compared to daily calorie reduction.
A one year study showed no significant weight loss or health benefits with fasting, compared to daily calorie reduction.
Researchers conducted a randomized clinical trial of 100 overweight and obese participants over a year-long period, and placed them into one of three groups: alternate day fasters, calorie restricted diets, and a control group that made no dietary changes.
While the alternate-day fasting and low-calorie groups both lost more weight than the control group, fasting offered no significant benefit in weight loss or health improvement. What is more, some experts warn that fasting can do more harm than good, putting the body into a stressful “starvation mode” that may actually slow metabolism and makes weight loss more difficult.
In fact, fasting may actually slow metabolism in many individuals, making weight loss even more difficult.
For lasting weight loss, talk to an experienced professional
Each of our bodies processes food and responds to exercise a little differently. Genetics, medical history, and other individual factors predict how quickly we will lose weight, what pattern we lose it in, and if we will keep it off. If you’ve tried all the weight loss tricks in the book and still can’t get the scale to budge, it might be time to talk to a professional. A registered dietician or weight loss physician can help you design a strategy to shed pounds safely and successfully—while letting you eat real food every day!