Trend Tracker: Intermittent Fasting in the Media
Keto. Paleo. Atkins. Volumetrics. Over the years there’s been an abundance of diet trends that swept the world.
One dieting trend that’s become hugely popular recently is intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting, also known as intermittent energy restriction or ‘IF’, is exactly what the name implies. It’s a practice during which you only eat during a certain window of time each day.
A Quick Look at Intermittent Fasting Stats
- The hashtag intermittent fasting has over 100 million TikTok views
- Intermittent fasting was the most-searched diet-related topic online in 2019
- Men and women both benefit from intermittent fasting
- The most popular intermittent fasting app has over 10 million downloads
- Studies show that intermittent fasting can reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer
- Kourtney Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston, and Jimmy Kimmel are intermittent fasting fans
There are many different approaches to intermittent fasting. The most popular include alternate day fasting, 5:2 fasting (in which fasting only occurs on two days per week), and daily time-restricted fasting. These and all other methods potentially offer a wide range of health benefits that are increasingly supported by the latest research.
According to Manpreet Mundi, MD at Mayo Clinic, there are many studies to suggest that intermittent fasting is as effective as a standard low-calorie diet for weight loss. Plus, eating this way may lower your risk of obesity and related conditions such as type II diabetes, sleep apnea, and even certain types of cancer.
Research also suggests that this practice may outperform other diets in reducing inflammation and improving inflammation-driven conditions, including arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.
If you want to find out more about healthy fasting, join us as we explore the latest statistics and facts. We’ve also delved deeper into promising research that suggests that intermittent fasting could offer a broad spectrum of benefits for your mental and physical health.
In 2019, the keyword ‘intermittent fasting’ was the most-searched diet-related topic online on a global scale. While it has been outstripped by ‘keto’ in 2020 and 2021, intermittent fasting is still one of the leading diet-related search topics today.
Data also suggests that adults of all ages and demographics are partaking in intermittent fasting—including seniors. The majority of studies on intermittent fasting have been conducted on young and middle-aged adults, offering solid evidence for its safety in these age groups. But many experts, including those at Harvard Medical School, believe that seniors can benefit too. Provided that they don’t lose excessive amounts of weight, which can affect their bones, energy levels and immune systems.
Associate chief of gerontology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr Suzanne Salamon, notes that people who need to take medications with food to avoid stomach irritation or nausea may struggle to adhere to fasting in the long term. Those who take blood pressure and heart medications may need to be cautious, as imbalances in sodium and potassium can occur during fasting.
However, most people who don’t have any of the above conditions or requirements can practice intermittent fasting safely and successfully, with the exception of pregnant women and those with excluding chronic health conditions.
Research suggests that men and women alike stand to benefit similarly from intermittent fasting. One study found no significant differences between the weight loss, fasting glucose and triglyceride results of men and women who tried an alternate-day fast for 12 weeks. Although LDL cholesterol decreased slightly more in pre-menopausal women than in post-menopausal women.
The Latest Fasting Research
A 2022 study by Sek Ying et al published in the Journal of Nursing Research examined the effects of alternate-day fasting and 16:8 time-restricted fasting on blood glucose levels, lipid profiles and weight loss in overweight and obese adults with prediabetes.
The results of the study suggest that alternate-day fasting showed more significant body weight loss reduction effects than 16:8 fasting. It also showed that this form of fasting could successfully reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in prediabetic patients.
Another study from 2022 noted the potential benefits of intermittent fasting in decreasing androgen markers among both genders. This decrease helps to improve the symptoms of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, a common female endocrine disorder.
In a new study review led by the University of Illinois Chicago researchers focused on 25 research studies involving three types of intermittent fasting:
- Alternate day fasting
- 5:2 fasting
- Time-restricted eating
The review found that alternate-day fasting produced weight loss of between 3-8% of total body weight over three to eight weeks, with results peaking at around 12 weeks.
The 5:2 fasting method showed similar results, and the review found that individuals on both fasting diets were able to maintain a 7% average weight loss over the course of a year.
Fasting for Weight Loss Studies
If the science hasn’t yet convinced you that intermittent fasting has major benefits, take a look at the following studies:
The study Clinical application of intermittent fasting for weight loss: progress and future directions published in the journal Nature Review Endocrinology in May 2022 found that the three main forms of intermittent fasting—alternate day fasting, 5:2 fasting and time-restricted eating—produced “mild to moderate” weight loss over durations of 8-12 weeks.
The review noted that the weight loss achieved with intermittent fasting is similar to that produced by traditional calorie-restriction diets. It stated that intermittent fasting is generally safe and produces few adverse effects on metabolic, gastrointestinal, hormonal and neurological function.
Another 2022 study, “Is Intermittent Fasting Better Than Continuous Energy Restriction for Adults with Overweight and Obesity?“, suggests that intermittent fasting is as effective as continuous energy restriction at promoting weight loss. This makes it an effective and viable approach to weight control and the treatment of overweight and obesity.
A group of researchers reviewed 11 analyses and 130 randomised clinical trials on intermittent fasting in 2021. They found persuasive evidence to suggest that intermittent fasting does assist obese and overweight adults to lose weight. At the same time, it improves certain risk measures of cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
The Rise of Fasting Apps
Intermittent fasting’s widespread popularity has led to a significant rise in the development and use of fasting apps. These apps simplify the complexities and timelines of intermittent fasting. Forgetting to eat at the right time is no longer an issue. Intermittent fasting apps send users notifications when they should begin fasting and when to break it, and they track your progress too. This is a huge motivator as we all like to see how far we’ve come.
Two of the most popular fasting apps on the market today are Zero Fasting and Noom.
Zero Fasting has over 1 million downloads on Google Play to date and a 4.5-star rating. The paid app provides access to step-by-step instructional videos, fast-tracking timers, and a panel of intermittent fasting experts who will respond to users’ questions on intermittent fasting directly.
Noom, boasting over 10 million downloads and a 4.3-star rating, offers a customisable intermittent fasting program. It enables users to understand their eating windows and food choices using psychology, food logging features, and personalised progress insights.
Tech has been a game changer in so many sectors, and its influence on the growth of the health and wellness sector is undeniable. Zero and Noom are just two of the apps that target this market, and there are plenty more free and paid options available. BodyFast, Vora, Ate Food Diary, and Fastient are just a few other top contenders with ever-growing downloads.
Who’s famous and fasting?
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reportedly only eats one meal per day. This helps him to stay focused and perform at a consistently high level.
Jennifer Aniston revealed that she only eats within an 8-hour time window.
Chris Pratt notes that he has used intermittent fasting to prepare himself for various superhero film roles.
Kourtney Kardashian is a proponent of intermittent fasting and has noted on her lifestyle website that she does not eat past 7 pm, and only eats after 10:30 or 11 am. She also does a 24-hour fast once per week, drinking only water, green tea, and bone broth.
Even talk show host Jimmy Kimmel follows the 5:2 method, eating normally five days a week and consuming only 500-600 calories on the remaining two days.
So, whether you want a body like Jennifer Aniston’s or Chris Pratt’s superhero silhouette, or you simply want to lose a few kilos and feel healthier, intermittent fasting may be the answer. Not all diet trends are flops. Science shows that intermittent fasting works, and with the right diet, and the help of a fasting booster or two you’ll be well on your way to maintaining the weight you want while benefiting your health.