What You Should Know About Intermittent Fasting


A fork, knife and spoon sit atop an empty white plate
Intermittent fasting is a weight-loss trend that relies on restricting the times or days when you eat rather than focusing on what and how much you eat. But does it work, and is it healthy?
Taylor Tran, registered dietitian and employee health program manager at The University of Texas at Dallas, offers some tips for intermittent fasting:

  • Fasting periods may vary by person; popular options are 16-hour fasts during each 24-hour period or 24-hour fasts twice per week.
  • Be mindful to consume adequate calories during “fed” periods, and avoid overeating when breaking each fast.
  • Plan physical activity according to fed periods to maintain performance levels.
  • Know that fasting can lead to lightheadedness and low energy, which can make it harder to concentrate or exercise.

“Fasting results in a reduction of calorie intake, so weight loss will occur. However, fasting is so hard to maintain that the weight loss may not be long term,” Tran said.
Intermittent fasting also does not address the importance of exercising and eating healthy foods to maintain a healthy weight, she added.
“Evidence suggests that a well-rounded diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and healthy fats, along with regular exercise, is the best way to maintain a healthy weight,” Tran said.
–Robin Russell