To Fast or Intermittently Fast? Weight Loss Facts and Fasting Myths

In India, people mostly fast for religious reasons. And in some of the spiritual fasting practices even drinking water is not permitted. Since the consumption of regular food and beverages reduces, fasting has also been promoted as one of the ways to approach weight loss. Reduction in food consumption results in the body losing some weight—calorie deficit in the form of fasting. When you are on a fast, you don’t eat much and ultimately reduce calories from food and beverages. There are various kinds of fasting for weight loss. And one that is in trend nowadays is IF or Intermittent fasting.

Intermittent Fasting

In Intermittent Fasting, the time of food intake is of importance rather than the type of food intake. In simple terms, it means you only eat during specific time windows in a day and fast for the rest of the day. In the eating window, one can eat anything of their choice. There are no restrictions in terms of food (but junk food and greasy food is obviously not encouraged). And during fasting, only water and zero-calorie drinks are allowed. Time restriction for eating a meal has many benefits. Research shows that intermittent fasting has uses other than just burning fat.

Obesity & Diabetes: Weight loss occurs due to the time restriction window. You can eat the food of your choice during a particular time of the day. IF also reduces the insulin level in the body and significantly decreases the blood glucose levels in the blood.

Heart health: People with heart disease reportedly improved their blood pressure and heart rate while on intermittent fasting. LDL and triglycerides that are considered harmful are reduced with IF.

Decreases inflammation: With low glucose levels in the blood, there is a reduction in inflammation in the body. The eating pattern in intermittent fasting may reduce specific blood markers of inflammation.

Types of Intermittent Fasting

There are three types of common fasting:
  1. 12:12. 12 hours of fasting and eating in the next 12 hours. A fundamental type of fasting which allows you to eat food in a 12-hour window.
  2. 16:8. The most common type of fasting for weight loss. In this, you only have 8 hours to eat and the rest 16 hours is for fasting. Generally, it starts at noon where you eat brunch and then the last meal is at 8 pm.
  3. 5:2. In this type of intermittent fasting, you usually eat five days of the week and fast for the rest of the two days of the week, or have a minimum calorie consumption (only 500Kcal).

Intermittent fasting is associated with numerous health benefits, including weight loss, better insulin control, decreased body inflammation, and a healthy heart. But certain studies have suggested that intermittent or drastic fasting could have several adverse effects on females. However, Intermittent Fasting is generally safe and effective. Even then, it should be practiced under the supervision of a nutritionist, considering your current medical condition.


Ms. Misbah Wasi

Functional Nutrition Specialist ,Scientific & Regulatory Advisor for Health Supplements

Misbah Wasi is a seasoned professional in the field of Nutrition Science and Food Regulation for over 13 years.

Currently she is lending her expertise in the area of Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals, and is an active member of Standards Review Group (SRG) - Nutraceuticals FSSAI.

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