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Intermittent fasting has become a popular dietary approach for weight loss and body composition improvement. This method involves alternating periods of calorie restriction with periods of normal eating. In this article, we will explore the effects of intermittent fasting on weight loss and body composition and discuss recent research findings on this topic.

Weight Loss

Intermittent fasting has been shown to promote weight loss by reducing calorie intake and increasing fat burning. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that intermittent fasting resulted in significant weight loss compared to continuous calorie restriction diets (1). Another study reported that participants who followed an intermittent fasting diet lost more weight and fat mass than those who followed a continuous calorie restriction diet (2).

Body Composition

Intermittent fasting has also been found to have positive effects on body composition by reducing body fat while preserving lean muscle mass. A study in overweight and obese adults found that intermittent fasting resulted in a significant reduction in body fat and an increase in lean muscle mass compared to a continuous calorie restriction diet (3). Another study reported that intermittent fasting improved body composition by reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass in resistance-trained men (4).

Other Health Benefits

In addition to weight loss and body composition improvements, intermittent fasting has been associated with other health benefits, including improved blood sugar control, reduced inflammation, and improved cardiovascular health (5). However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and determine the optimal timing and duration of intermittent fasting for these health benefits.

Popular Intermittent Fasting Methods

There are several popular intermittent fasting methods, including the 16/8 method, the 5:2 method, and alternate day fasting. The 16/8 method involves restricting calorie intake to an 8-hour window each day, while allowing normal eating during the remaining 16 hours. The 5:2 method involves consuming normal calories for five days a week and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days. Alternate day fasting involves alternating days of unrestricted eating with days of complete or partial calorie restriction.


Intermittent fasting may not be suitable for everyone, and some people may experience negative effects such as hunger, fatigue, and irritability. Additionally, people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, may need to be cautious when practicing intermittent fasting (6). It is important to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new diet or lifestyle changes.


Intermittent fasting has been shown to be an effective approach for weight loss and body composition improvements. The 16/8 method, 5:2 method, and alternate day fasting are popular approaches to intermittent fasting. However, it is important to consider individual needs and consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new dietary approach.


  • Ganesan K, Habboush Y, Sultan S. Intermittent Fasting: The Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle. Cureus. 2018;10(7):e2947.
  • Moro T, Tinsley G, Bianco A, et al. Effects of eight weeks of time-restricted feeding (16/8) on basal metabolism, maximal strength, body composition, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors in resistance-trained males. J Transl Med. 2016;14(1):290.
  • Tinsley GM, Forsse JS, Butler NK, et al. Time-restricted feeding in young men performing resistance training: A randomized controlled trial. Eur J Sport Sci. 2017;17(2):200-207.
  • Varady KA, Bhutani S, Klempel MC, et al. Alternate day fasting for weight loss in normal weight and overweight subjects: a randomized controlled trial. Nutr J. 2013;12:146.