Do you want to lose pounds and measurements, but there is so much information that you don't know which one to decide on? Here we are going to confront two eating systems that are always in the foreground: intermittent fasting or low-calorie diets.
Do not take lightly how to eat to lose weight; especially if you don't have a guide.
Keep reading to learn more about both options. You could find the answer you were waiting for to reach your goal.
Two very different options for the same objective
First of all, let's look at two super simple definitions:
- Intermittent fasting involves completely abstaining from food for several hours before returning to eating regularly.
- A low-calorie diet is a dietary regimen in which you reduce the amount of food you eat from morning to night.
Many people think that intermittent fasting is effective because it reduces calories. But that's not true!
Fasting requires planning and, when eating, you must give your body all the calories it needs to generate energy.
In fact, undereating during feeding windows is one of the reasons why many go hungry while fasting, lose energy, feel sick, and don't see the results they expect.
It is proven that fasting causes beneficial hormonal changes for the body, which do not happen when food is constantly ingested.
On the other hand, science has detected that reducing calories is 98% flawed.
Or haven't you noticed that few people stay thin in the long term when they follow a restrictive diet?... Let me explain it to you.
Where low-calorie diets fail
If a low-calorie diet doesn't work for you in the long term, it's not because you skipped the diet one day or didn't train enough during the week. So stop blaming yourself.
So, what goes wrong with this type of diet? We explain it to you in 3 steps:
- When people begin to restrict calories, body fat decreases.
- The brain goes into alarm mode and tries to compensate for the fat it lost because that is where it gets its energy.
- The hunger hormone (ghrelin) is activated, causing a great desire to eat so that the lost fat returns.
When you submit to this perverse system, it is almost impossible not to fall into sweet temptations, due to physiological hunger.
Therefore, when you start a strict, low- calorie diet, you begin to lose weight very quickly. But over time, you plateau and even gain more weight even if you follow your diet.
Other consequences of diets that restrict calories
Many studies have been conducted to determine the physiological and psychological effects of prolonged dietary restriction.
The results are overwhelming and demonstrate why a restrictive diet does not help, at all, to achieve a healthy weight over time.
- They generate severe emotional distress and depression.
- A constant worry about food appears
- Concentration, understanding and judgment skills are lost.
- They subtract the energy.
- It does not address the problem of insulin resistance and high levels of this hormone.
- Basal metabolism decreases, which is why symptoms appear, such as more hunger, tiredness, cold, among others.
What does intermittent fasting have that low-calorie diets don't?
The hormonal changes that occur in the body with intermittent fasting are completely different from those of a low-calorie diet.
Fasting manages to reduce appetite because the body “eats” body fat so as not to be alert or cause excessive hunger.
It also addresses the problem of long-term insulin resistance.
Here is some data:
- In a randomized trial in 107 young, overweight women, calorie restriction was compared with fasting for six months.
- One group did a 25% food restriction, similar to the portion control strategy.
- The second group restricted their food intermittently. They were all allowed normal intake 5 days a week, but only 25% of their usual calories 2 days a week.
Regarding weight and fat loss, the differences were not so great between both systems.
But there were in insulin resistance, one of the key factors driving obesity and weight gain.
Well, fasting provided a substantial improvement in insulin levels and resistance. The calorie restriction group did not obtain any improvement in this aspect.
So intermittent fasting or low calorie diets?
Here we are not going to give you a definitive answer, because each body is different and has its own conditions.
But while intermittent fasting may not suit everyone, it could be concluded that restricting calories at a stroke will bring you more pain than glory.
On the other hand, a practice of intermittent fasting, well applied, allows you to eat what you want in the quantities that your body needs to function at 100%.
Of course, to see real results you must opt for healthy, natural foods with all the macronutrients.
It will be of little or no use to you to stay for many hours without feeding if during the feeding window you eat a lot of trans fats or processed sugar.
Also, you must take into account your goal. If you want to lose weight, eat the right portions; and if you want to increase muscle mass, eat between 10 and 15% more than your body normally requires.