Fasting has a long tradition in many religions. As part of an increasingly popular dieting trend, researchers have studied the health benefits of fasting, specifically intermittent fasting. This article describes how intermittent fasting works and who can benefit from it. It also discusses some potential side effects of intermittent fasting.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a diet plan that does not always involve calorie counting. Instead of having to eat small portions throughout the day, the goal of intermittent fasting is to go for longer periods without any food. However, this does not mean you can overeat during your feeding window.

How Does it Work?

The IF diet consists of eating 20% fewer calories three days a week. On four non-fasting days, you can eat normally. Some experts claim that this low-calorie intake will lead to weight loss and then further health benefits.

Effects on Weight Loss

New evidence indicates that when and how many calories you consume may be equally important to weight loss. For example, in a study of overweight adults by researchers at the University of Illinois, those who consumed 25 percent fewer calories on alternate days lost 7 pounds over an average 6-week period. In contrast, participants in a 2011 review of 11 studies on fasting who did not skip meals lost significantly more weight (12 pounds) than those who did.

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