Intermittent fasting can mean different things - Deepstash
The most misunderstood part of intermittent fasting isn’t what you think

The most misunderstood part of intermittent fasting isn’t what you think

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Intermittent fasting can mean different things

Intermittent fasting can mean different things

When people speak of intermittent fasthing, they can mean many different things.

Intermittent fasting refers to loosely defined regimes.

  • Time-restricted eating: It includes the 16:8 diet - eat during 8 hours, and fast the other 16.
  • Alternate-day fasting: Eating every other day.
  • Extended fasts: Fasting for a day every week or month.
  • Fasting mimicking diets: Diets that recreate the conditions of a fast.

What human studies show on intermittent fasting

Studies in humans have shown promising health benefits with some intermittent fasting regimes.

  • People can't stick to eating every other day. If you do alternate-day fasting or skip breakfast every day, it's associated with negatives and very hard to do. Instead, people who want to benefit from intermittent fasting should be less extreme, such as 12-hour eating windows.
  • In the handful of studies that tested alternate-day fasts with people, more than a third dropped out, and in those who stayed, there wasn't much advantage in weight loss or heart health.

Animal studies on intermittent fasting

Animal studies on intermittent fasting

  • An early study on intermittent fasting showed that rats put on alternate-day fasting increased their lifespan by around 80 percent.
  • Feeding mice every alternate day led to better glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. It reduced the incidence of lymphoma.
  • Mice on a low calorie, low protein diet experienced reduced markers of inflammation, improved memory and delayed onset of cancer.

Yet, rodent models of fasting can create inflated expectations in people.

Why studying intermittent fasting is hard

It's easy to research the diets of mice when they are in a controlled environment. However, human studies are more complicated as they need to be in a controlled environment with controlled diets.

Instead, studies track what people eat from what they report. But people underestimate their calorie intake and overestimate the energy they spend, misrepresenting what they ate.

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