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Intermittent Fasting And Obesity

Intermittent fasting shows great results as a natural cure to obesity by working on the root of the problem
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Summary

Obesity has become a worldwide epidemic, even countries such as China and India are previously known as countries with a “skinny” population, are catching up with the USA and the UK (1). 

The saddest part is that people become obese at an ever-younger age, and more and more children are diagnosed as severely obese. This causes serious health issues, and usually, these children became obese adults (2, 3). 

Even though obesity is a complicated problem, it can be cured. You just need to know the right tool for it and be patient. Let’s talk in more detail about how it develops and how intermittent fasting can help with this condition.

Written by
Vera Bokor
Health and Wellbeing Coach

Obesity leads to not only decreased self-esteem and confidence but many psychological and physical health complications. It is a metabolic disease, which should be treated from a metabolic point of view (4). 

What is obesity?

Obesity is a complex health condition caused by excessive fat accumulation in the body. 

There is a simple measurement to check if you are obese: it is called BMI (Body mass index). BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. 

BMI from 25 to 29.9 shows that you are overweight and from 30 to 39.9 that you are obese and if the number is more than 40.0 you are morbidly obese (5). 

Why should obesity be a concern?

Obesity is not just a cosmetic issue, it is a condition, which leads to a variety of health complications such as:

How did the obesity crisis evolve?

Four women standing next to each other, most of them are overweight.

Since the agricultural revolution, people have easy access to food with the rare situation of not having anything to eat at all (7).

Since the industrial revolution, the food has become highly refined and energy dense and we put even less effort to get something to eat. 

Both these factors led to a situation where people started to eat more frequently and consume food, which provides a lot of energy with fewer nutrients (due to the refining process) and accumulates in the body as fat more easily (8). 

We see that in developed countries the obesity rate is very high. Countries which use traditional methods of producing food by farming are still able to fight the epidemic. We can make a clear concussion that industrialisation is a cause of obesity (9).

How do you become obese?

Obesity is a metabolic condition, as we mentioned earlier.

When you consume a lot of refined carbohydrates and do it frequently, your body stores energy from the food you eat as fat by releasing the hormone insulin. We can also call this process a fat-storage state (10).

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How do you get rid of obesity?

In order to decrease your BMI and prevent health issues, you need to switch from fat-storage to fat-burning state. How do you do it? You just need to stop eating. As soon as no food comes in, the body has to rely on internal energy storage.

That’s why intermittent fasting is a great option (11). 

Why is calorie restriction not a good idea?

Woman with red fingernails typing on a calculator.

When you restrict your calorie intake, it might not work as you expect. Your body burns as many calories as you give, without really getting into stored fat. Burning fat is a highly energy consuming process and your body just will try to avoid such a complicated process by using only coming calories even if it’s not enough.

You will lose some weight at the beginning (which might be water weight or muscle), but in the end, your metabolism will slow down and some of your body functions will be put on “pause”. As a result, you can experience hair loss, slow cognitive functioning, irregular periods, cold and weight loss plateau and so on (12). 

Why does intermittent fasting work?

Intermittent fasting is a direct way to fat-burning mode. 

When you don’t consume any food, your body can’t store any energy as fat, actually, it needs to burn fat for creating energy. Opposite to calorie restriction, your body won’t slow down metabolism, it will get as much energy as it is used to using by activating different hormonal mechanisms. When nothing comes as food, it is time to finally use that fat, which was stored for later use. 

Many people feel much more comfortable applying intermittent fasting for fat loss than calorie restriction because when you burn fat as fuel, you produce a lot of energy and all the body functions work properly and some of them work more efficiently, you get your hormones balanced and this leads to improved overall health (13).

The bottom line

Intermittent fasting gives your body access to stored fat which is a leading factor of obesity. Practising intermittent fasting helps to lose not just weight (which can be water weight or muscle mass and bone density), but fat. 


Intermittent fasting on its own is a great tool, but it can give you even greater results if you combine fasting with a good diet. Join our community to get more information about intermittent fasting benefits and protocols and get healthier with us.

References:

  1. Haththotuwa R. N., Wijeyaratne C. N., Senarath U. Worldwide epidemic of obesity. Obesity and Obstetrics (Second Edition). 2020, Pages 3-8. Https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-817921-5.00001-1
  2. Bouchard C. Obesity in adulthood: the importance of childhood and parental obesity. N Engl J Med. 1997 Sep 25; 337(13):926–7. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199709253371309.
  3. Guo SS, Roche AF, Chumlea WC, Gardner JD, Siervogel RM. The predictive value of childhood body mass index values for overweight at age 35 y. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 Apr; 59(4):810–9.  DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/59.4.810
  4. Engin A. The Definition and Prevalence of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;960:1-17. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-48382-5_1.
  5. NHS UK. Obesity.  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/
  6. Mitchell N., Catenacci V., Wyatt H. R, Hill J. O. OBESITY: OVERVIEW OF AN EPIDEMIC. Psychiatr Clin North Am. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 Dec 1. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2011.08.005
  7. Latham K. J. Human Health and the Neolithic Revolution: an Overview of Impacts of the Agricultural Transition on Oral Health, Epidemiology, and the Human Body. University of Nebraska - Lincoln. 2013.
  8. Harari Y. N. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. 2011
  9. Żukiewicz-Sobczak W., Wróblewska P., Zwoliński J., Chmielewska-Badora J., Adamczuk P., Krasowska E., Zagórski J, Oniszczuk A., Piątek J., Silny W. Obesity and poverty paradox in developed countries. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2014;21(3):590-4. doi: 10.5604/12321966.1120608.
  10. Hession M et al. Systematic review of randomized controlled trials of low-carbohydrate vs. low-fat/low calorie diets in the management of obesity and its comorbidities. Obes Rev. 2009 Jan; 10(1):36–50. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2008.00518.x
  11. Fung J. M.D., The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss. 2015.
  12. Benton D, Young HA. Reducing Calorie Intake May Not Help You Lose Body Weight. Perspect Psychol Sci . 2017 Sep; 12(5): 703–714. doi: 10.1177/1745691617690878
  13. Patterson R. E., Laughlin G. A., Sears D. D., LaCroix A. Z., Marinac C., Gallo L. C., Hartman S. J., Natarajan L., Senger C. M., Martínez M. E., Villaseñor A. INTERMITTENT FASTING AND HUMAN METABOLIC HEALTH. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Aug; 115(8): 1203–1212. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.02.018

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