You can forget counting calories and resisting treats: The new way to lose weight involves zero numbers or math equations. And no more eating the same bland dish for every meal either. All you have to do is alternate cycles of fasting and eating. It’s called intermittent fasting—here’s what you need to know about this revolutionary approach.
A recent study in the journal Cell Research, shows that up to 16 weeks of intermittent fasting not only helps fight obesity, but other metabolic disorders like heart disease and diabetes, too. The researchers exposed groups of mice to intermittent fasting for a 16-week period with two days of eating following by one day of no food, while the control group of mice ate the same volume of food every day.
After four months, the mice exposed to on-and-off again fasting lost more weight than those that ate the same amount of calories daily. The study also shows that the fasting mice had less fat build-up and more stable insulin and glucose levels. “Intermittent fasting without a reduction in calorie intake can be a preventative and therapeutic approach against obesity and metabolic disorders,” one of the study authors, Kyoung-Han Kim, PhD, told Science Daily.
According to the researchers, this is because intermittent fasting triggers an immune reaction in fat cells. White blood cells, known as anti-inflammatory macrophages, stimulate the fat cells to burn off their stores.
The authors found that the fat-burning changes began after just day of fasting. So even if you’re not sure about fasting every third day for 16 weeks, that’s OK: The researchers also found that intermittent fasting for just six weeks delivered similar benefits. And check out some of the other benefits of this dieting style.