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Is Fasting an Effective Way to Lose Belly Fat?

Fasting is a great way to lose belly fat, the benefits of fasting have even been compared to that of aerobic exercise. There are different ways to fast, it can be when a person chooses to refrain from eating food for a few hours (time-restricted feeding), or it can be  when a person refrains from eating food for one or multiple days.

 

Studies have shown that triglyceride levels, inflammation, and cholesterol levels are usually too high in people who have excessive belly fat. And fasting directly affects those things. Some studies have shown a measurable decrease in waist size, and other studies didn’t measure waist size as a variable, but did measure variables that have been proven to affect the waist size and the overall amount of belly fat a person has. Fasting may actually be the perfect way to help reset a person’s digestive system. And this is very important because people with visceral belly fat more often have digestive systems that have a higher amount of unhealthy pathogenic flora, increased intestinal inflammation, and increased intestinal permeability.

 

Research-proven benefits of fasting:

  • Reduces gut inflammation, increases beneficial gut bacteria, helps starve out bad gut bacteria and decreases gut permeability
  • Reduces visceral fat and overall body fat %
  • Reduces waist/hip ratio
  • Reduces LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, resting heart rate
  • Increases HDL cholesterol, parasympathetic tone, heart rate variability, insulin sensitivity
  • Improves PCOS, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety, depression, sleep, and even productivity

 

 

Most humans can go more than 30 days without food, but malnutrition is a major consideration when choosing how to do a fast. Fasting doesn’t have to be extreme, it can be done safely without causing feelings of weakness, hunger, or actual malnutrition. There are different ways a person can do it: Ramadan fasting, Alternate Day fasting, Whole Day fasting, and Intermittent fasting.

 

Ramadan fasting is a religious fast that involves NOT eating (or drinking any liquids or smoking) from sunrise to sunset for 29-30 days. Research shows that fasting in the way that people do for Ramadan results in reductions in visceral belly fat.

 

Whole Day fasting is when a person doesn’t eat for 24 hours at a time. Alternate Day fasting is whole day fasting done every other day. Whole day and alternate day fasting have both been shown to cause significant reductions in body fat, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

 

Intermittent fasting includes multiple types of fasting methods like alternate day fasting as well as time-restricted feeding (eating within a window of time each day); it really depends on how you want to designate the time you eat vs the time you refrain from eating. Intermittent fasting has been proven to have the protective effects of lowering body fat percentage, IGF-1 production, oxidative stress, and inflammation in the body, and it also has the health promoting effect of enhancing insulin sensitivity in the muscles. Intermittent fasting may be the easiest way to fast because it can be as simple as eating between the hours of 8am and 6pm. Fasting doesn’t have to feel super restrictive.

 

 

Fasting is one very fast way to get rid of belly fat, with lots of health benefits when done safely and for a short period of time. It’s a nice practice to keep in your arsenal of belly fat burning activities, but remember that it shouldn’t be the only thing you do, because eating is an essential key to losing belly fat as well. Simply doing an occasional 24 hour fast will help you reap the health benefits and body shaping results. Fasting is to be done responsibly. The body runs on food, so fasting is only to be utilized when the body needs a break or a digestive reset.

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Sources:

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Influence of fasting on intestinal permeability and disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Taylor & Francis. (n.d.). Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/03009748209098111.

Khattak, M. M. A. K., Bakar, I. A., & Yeim, L. (2012, March 23). Does religious FASTING increase fat free Mass (FFM) and REDUCE abdominal obesity? Nutrition & Food Science. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/00346651211212042/full/html.

Liu, Z., Dai, X., Zhang, H., Shi, R., Hui, Y., Jin, X., Zhang, W., Wang, L., Wang, Q., Wang, D., Wang, J., Tan, X., Ren, B., Liu, X., Zhao, T., Wang, J., Pan, J., Yuan, T., Chu, C., … Liu, X. (2020, February 18). Gut microbiota mediates intermittent-fasting alleviation of diabetes-induced cognitive impairment. Nature News. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-14676-4?fbclid=IwAR2UNmTABWg1PDyy4OZ_wmke1N2bWpPXRqfCY4d51KYkutKnWQGVSQjEpJc.

Longo, V. D., & Mattson, M. P. (2014, January 16). Fasting: Molecular mechanisms and clinical applications. Cell Metabolism. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413113005032.

Mohr, A. E., Solutions, C. of H., Gumpricht, E., LLC, I. I., Sears, D. D., Sweazea, K. L., AN, C., JC, D. V., AM, P., DH, H., C, V.-B., RE, P., MP, M., J, R., JL, K., A, Z., H, D., RC, B., N, F., … A, E. (2021, May 13). Recent advances and health implications of dietary fasting regimens on the gut microbiome. American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://journals.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/ajpgi.00475.2020.

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Yucel, A., Degirmenci, B., Acar, M., Albayrak, R., & Haktanir, A. (2004, October 21). The effect of fasting month of Ramadan on the abdominal Fat DISTRIBUTION: Assessment by computed tomography. The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/tjem/204/3/204_3_179/_article/-char/ja/.

 

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