Fasting is the practice of abstaining from food for a period of time, while caloric restriction is a dietary regimen that simply reduces caloric intake. The greatest caloric restriction is no calories at all. Fasting has been branded the “next big weight loss fad” but has a long history throughout various spiritual traditions, practiced by Moses, Jesus, Muhammed, and Buddha. Today, about one in seven American adults report using some sort of fasting as a means to control body weight.
Rather than cutting calories day in and day out, what if, instead, you just ate as much as you wanted every other day? Or for only a few hours a day? Or what if you fasted two days a week or five days a month? These are all examples of intermittent fasting regimens, which I cover in my book How Not to Diet, and they may even be the way we were built to eat. Three meals every day may be a relatively novel behavior for our species. For millennia, our ancestors often may have consumed only one large meal a day or went several days at a time without food.
Intermittent fasting is often presented as a means of stressing our bodies—in a good way—and some forms may be safe and effective (and it’s safe to say cost-effective when it comes to your grocery bills), but apparently no more so for weight loss than continuous caloric restriction. However, combining intermittent-fasting regimens, such as early or midday time-restricted feeding with a healthier diet during the feeding windows, may prove to be particularly powerful. The weight may be worth the wait.
The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.
Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Fasting
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Fasting for Autoimmune Diseases
Various fasting regimens have been attempted for inflammatory autoimmune diseases such as lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, chronic urticaria, mixed connective-tissue disease, glomerulonephritis, and multiple sclerosis, as well as osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.
Fasting for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Fasting, followed by a plant-based diet, is put to the test for autoimmune inflammatory joint disease.
The World’s Largest Fasting Study
Buchinger modified fasting is put to the test.
The Benefits of Fasting for Healing
Where did the idea of therapeutic fasting come from?
Fasting to Naturally Reverse High Blood Pressure
A whole food plant-based diet can be used to help lock in the benefits of fasting to kickstart the reversal of high blood pressure.
How to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally with Lifestyle Changes
The effect of fasting to lower blood pressure compared to medications, cutting down on alcohol, meat and salt, eating more fruits and vegetables, or eating completely plant-based.
What the New Blood Pressure Range Guidelines Mean
Natural approaches to lowering high blood pressure can work better than drugs because you’re treating the underlying cause, and can end up having only good side effects.
How Circadian Rhythms Affect Blood Sugar Levels
The same meal eaten at the wrong time of day can double blood sugars.
Chronobiology – How Circadian Rhythms Can Control Your Health & Weight
Given the power of chronotherapy—how the same dose of the same drugs taken at a different time of day can have such different effects—it’s no surprise that chronoprevention approaches, like meal timing, can also make a difference.
Is Skipping Breakfast Better for Weight Loss?
Breakthroughs in the field of chronobiology—the study of our circadian rhythms—help solve the mystery of the missing morning calories in breakfast studies.
Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal for Weight Loss?
Is the link between breakfast skipping and obesity cause-and-effect?
The Benefits of Early Time-Restricted Eating
Calories eaten in the morning count less and are healthier than calories eaten in the evening.