The world of diets and nutrition can be a very confusing place! Every where you turn theres conflicting advice on what when and how we should be eating. So today im going to talk about two diets that are both popular, but very different!
Fasting vs regular eating- now both approaches have very strong support and both conflict with each other-so which one is right? Well- lets review them and see!
What is it?
Firstly- neither are an actual diet- but an eating pattern. Its not so much about what we eat, but when we eat.
Intermittent Fasting (IF)- As it says Intermittent fasting is basically periods of fasting. You switch from 'feeding' to 'fasting' periods. There are several protocols you can follow from the popular 5:2 diet where you fast on low calories - approx 600 cals for 2 non- consecutive days and eat freely the rest of the week. Theres the 8:16 where you fast 16 hours and eat for 8 - start time really is your preference but you only eat during that 8 hr window- popular times are 11-7pm or 12-8. There are also 24hr fasts from 1 a week or month, to alternating days - starting at 8pm after an evening meal and continuing til 8pm the following day starting 24 hrs eating with an evening meal and eating until the next day at 8pm, so you always get 1 meal on the fasted day and the day in between you eat freely.
Graze- Grazing means eating small portions at regular intervals throughout the day - every 2-3 hours. usually about 6 meals / snacks a day.
Whats the science behind it? What does it do and why should it work?
IF- Fasting works by regulating insulin- when insulin is low, fat burning can happen. When we eat- insulin increases, when we fast - it decreases, therefore its suggested fasting makes fat burning easier.
Graze- Grazing is believed to increase metabolism as digestion uses energy thereby burning calories, also eating regularly stops us getting over hungry and therefore overeating.
Health Benefits- this is what the Supporters of each diet say!
IF- research is showing fasting can reduce insulin sensitivity, improves symptoms of menopause, strengthen immune system, lengthen life, increase fat loss, reduce inflammation along with other health benefits. Growth hormone is said to increase, metabolic rate increase.
Graze- helps fat loss, decreases bad cholesterol, metabolic rate increases.
Potential side effects / Risks
IF - Lots of side effects have been reported- from hunger, feeling week, feeling like brain not functioning- all of which may be temporary while adjusting to the new way of eating. IF is not recommended for anyone with a history of eating disorders, or women with a history of amenorrhea. Most of the research has been done on men so its not known if the effects on women would be the same and is thought to be more beneficial to men. Anyone with the following are recommended not to try IF: diabetes, problems with blood sugar regulation, anyone trying to conceive, pregnant or breast feeding
Graze- there is a risk with grazing of bacterial overgrowth causing digestive discomfort in the small intestine (bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, constipation) called SIBO and requires antibiotics to treat. Its believed constipation can occur because meals are not large enough to stimulate bowel movement reflex.
How easy is it to stick to?
It really depends on your lifestyle whether you would be able to adhere to either diet. Both are easy to follow as they just stipulate rules on when to eat. The 8:16 protocol is the most popular IF method as its easy to fit into most people lifestyle and is flexible. Grazing is also flexible and most people can manage to adhere to it.
IF could interfere with social events and plans.
Grazing can be difficult as you may need to plan and prepare lots of meals in advance so you aren't cooking all the time!
So both plans have their pluses and minuses.
Conclusion? Which is best for fat loss?
Both the diets are basically feeding patterns. But when it comes down to it- we are still looking at calories in v out and the quality of food eaten. If you fast and follow that by binge eating and overcompensate on calories - your overall calories could still be too high. With grazing- portion control is important as you could easily eat too much at each meal and overeat across the day. Generally both can work as they essentially encourage fewer calories to be eaten.
The quality of the food eaten is also important - eating natural, healthy wholefoods, eating enough protein and complex carbs will help us stay full and not over eat, but if we are eating convenience foods and junk food on either plan could prevent it from working.
So which diet you chose to follow really depends on your lifestyle and health background, but ultimately its the food choices and calorie deficit that will help these diets work!
Im personally a fan of grazing- its always worked for me and it fits my lifestyle well- ive never tried IF - but if you follow my youtube im going to try it and vlog my experience with it so please hop over and subscribe for that coming soon! click HERE
*always consult a professional before trying a new diet