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Scientists claim that America is experiencing an “obesity epidemic.” Sounds scary, right?

The incidence of obese and overweight individuals in America has reached higher levels than ever before with 35.1% of adults being classified as obese, according to a 2009 study. As we have learned more about the link between excessive weight, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes (obesity being the single best predictor for Type 2 diabetes), many of us have been trying to cut calories fast.

The advent of calorie-counting apps like MyFitnessPal has theoretically made it easier to stick to a low-calorie diet. In practice, however, counting the calories in every meal is a hassle for many people. Because of this, an alternate diet plan, called intermittent fasting, has gained popularity. Intermittent fasting refers to a number of different diets that cycle between periods of fasting and periods of eating. A common method of intermittent fasting is alternate day fasting, in which you severely restrict calories every other day, but eat normal and full meals on the non-fasting days. If alternate day fasting is too extreme, even a 5:2 ratio – 5 days of normal eating and 2 days of fasting – will do the trick.

 Dieting isn’t always the best way to lose weight!

Source: chris sadowski

Wait, doesn’t fasting lower your metabolism? Yes and no. Fasting for extended periods of time, such as periods of several days, does lower metabolism. However, intermittent fasting diets are scheduled so that you do not severely restrict calories for extended periods of time. Intermittent fasting, when done properly, does not lower metabolism.

Intermittent fasting may seem like a bit of a cheat diet; you only have to restrict calories for a couple days a week. Doesn’t it make more sense to lose weight by restricting calories every day?

Many researchers have tried to address this issue. As far as the current research shows, intermittent fasting is as effective as daily caloric restriction as a weight loss method and in preventing Type 2 diabetes. Preliminary studies in rodents and monkeys show that intermittent fasting may decrease risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as stroke and heart attack.

While intermittent fasting is currently being used simply as a weight loss technique, the potential applications in Type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related disorders are really exciting! As always, consult your doctor for official medical advice on dieting techniques and other lifestyle choices.

Feature Image Source: Goblinbox

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