Content warning: This article discusses weight loss strategies.

The quickest way to lose weight is subjective to how you view different fitness techniques and regimens. Intermittent fasting is the selective timing of various meals that cycle your body to accommodate voluntary fasting and non-fasting over a period of time. Periodic fasting, alternate-day fasting, and daily time-restricted feeding are some of the multiple types of ways you can induce weight loss techniques in your daily life. However, is intermittent fasting really that effective? 

Skipping meals may not be the best way to manage your weight; however, it does come with benefits. A typical day in the life of this technique would have you eat for roughly eight hours and fast for the remaining sixteen. Essentially, this would limit your intake of foods, as well as calorie-containing beverages, because you would only be consuming no-calorie beverages such as coffee or tea. Over time, your metabolism will start to increase and help you burn calories even faster. 

Many scholarly experiments have concluded that intermittent fasting does work, although it may not be the best for your overall short-term health. Taking a deeper look into what happens on a cellular level, it’s fascinating to see how much food influences your body. 

When we don’t consume food for a while, many different things happen in our body simultaneously. Insulin levels drop, human growth hormone (HGH) levels increase, the body moves into a cellular repair process, and the genes in our DNA beneficially increase their longevity and protection against diseases. Backtracking for a quick second, our insulin levels are the main source behind helping our fat burn the way it does. That is why, during the fasting stage of this weight loss technique, there is no food in our body to facilitate the burning of any excess fat. 

Our blood levels also increase dramatically, as we’re now running on the food we ate during the eight-hour period. That’s why, when we complete activities like walking up the stairs, some of us may start to feel our heartbeat quickening and maybe even start to fall short of breath. 

These changes in hormone and gene function ultimately train our bodies to facilitate weight loss. Lower insulin levels and higher HGH levels increase the breakdown of body fat and channel it into energy. When intermittent fasting, our bodies increase their metabolic rate, therefore increasing the calories that are expended. In addition to this, we consume less food, which decreases our calorie intake.  

From a long-term standpoint, intermittent fasting also helps to lower your risk of type two diabetes, oxidative stress, and body inflammation. However, if there are all these benefits to this weight loss regimen, why is it not as popular and frequently used as others? In today’s world, it’s a formality to know that with all good things, there are some drawbacks. 

Intermittent fasting contributes to frequent headaches. This makes it so that when we do put food into our bodies, our digestive system suffers some issues such as uneasiness and constipation. It’s also not surprising to know that food contributes to our overall moods, as well. Speaking from personal experience, people can start to get quite irritable when hungry.

Mood disturbances and a lack of concentration were of the most commonly reported conditions experienced by women in a 2016 study on the effects of short-term fasting on healthy women. Intermittent fasting isn’t a one-size-fits all model, and for some, the negatives may outweigh the positives. 

Promoting a good overall lifestyle can be done by consuming food in moderation compared to a short-term rigorous regimen. Overall, intermittent fasting is a functional approach to weight loss and you can most definitely go about your weight loss goal in a variety of different ways that suit your nutritional needs and target goals.