Fasting or Calorie Counting – which weight loss technique yields better results? This age old question has been intriguing weight watchers since time immemorial. Even though traditionalists believe that intermittent fasting is a much better and trusted approach for weight loss than calorie counting, a recent survey has revealed that both methods are equally effective. Let us analyze both techniques and ascertain which one helps you in shedding those extra kilos off your body.
Intermittent fasting requires routinely alternating between eating a little food and then devouring your daily diet. This has become a progressive weight loss trend all around the world.
Intermittent fasting doesn’t modify “what” you eat; it just makes minor changes to “when” you eat. It’s a terrific way to get lean without starving yourself or cutting your calories down to nothing. Most gym fanatics swear by intermittent fasting because it is an excellent way to keep muscle mass on while getting lean.
The “plus point” of intermittent fasting is that it does not make any huge changes to your lifestyle and your daily diet, it is simple to follow and it does help you lose those extra inches off your waist. Let’s see how the process of intermittent fasting works:-
Your body takes about three to five hours to digest and absorb the food that you just ate. During this span of time, your body does not burn any fat because your insulin levels are high. After that timespan, your body goes into “post–absorptive state” that lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal. This is when your body burns fat because your insulin levels are low. Thus, intermittent fasting puts your body in a “fat burning state” that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule. Thus, it is highly effective in burning the extra fat in your body.
Fasting is not favorable for diabetics
Even though fasting is beneficial for those who want to lose some weight, not everyone can do it. This is because fasting can throw off the intricate balance of food, water, and blood glucose levels in potentially harmful ways. As any diabetic would know, blood sugar management is all about eating healthy meals at regularly spaced intervals. Medical doctors, dieticians or nutritionists – None of them will recommend you to undertake fasting if you suffer from diabetes. The reason behind this is that not eating anything when you are taking insulin or certain other diabetes medications can raise the risk of hypoglycemia or low blood glucose.
Not just low blood glucose, even high blood glucose can become a cause of concern during fasting. When the liver does not get food it releases stored glucose for energy. This leads to high blood glucose.
Not just diabetics, even people who are suffering from kidney or heart diseases should also refrain from fasts that require abstinence from water (such as Ramadan), because it can lead to dehydration which can further exacerbate problems or cause serious complications.
Calorie counting is another tried and tested technique for losing weight which has been hailed by dieticians and nutritionists the world over. The mantra of calorie counting comes down to a pretty basic equation: fewer calories + more exercise = weight loss! All you need to do is keep track of how many calories you consume and burn every day.
To know how this technique works, let us get down to the basics. Your body utilizes approximately two-thirds of the calories you consume every day in order to keep its basic systems functioning — your heart beating, respiring, your muscles moving and even sleeping. The rest of your calorie intake fuels day to day activities like walking around, lifting weights in the gym, typing an e-mail, solving a crossword puzzle, reading the newspaper etcetera. So, in order for this technique to work, you need to create a “calorie deficit”. What that means in layman terms is – you need to eat fewer calories than your body burns in a day. If your body burns 2000 calories a day but you end up eating only 1700 calories a day, you create a calorie deficit of 300 calories a day and you will easily lose weight. On the other hand, if your body burns 2000 calories a day and you consume 2300 calories a day, you are creating a calorie surplus of 300 calories, and you will end up gaining weight over time. Also, always keep in mind this general rule of thumb: ladies, don’t go below 1200 calories and, men, don’t go below 1800 calories a day.
Secondly, choosing what you eat for your meals is essentially important. Carbohydrates and proteins have 4 calories per gram, while fats contain more than twice as much – a whopping 9 calories per gram. A cup of raw broccoli contains only 31 calories, while an equal quantity of chocolate ice cream contains about 285 calories. So, if you plan on eating higher-fat foods like bacon, cheese and ice cream, you will surely consume over half of your day’s calorie allotment by the end of breakfast.
You also need to ensure that you are consuming the right kind of calories. Nutritious foods which are full of essential vitamins like fruits, green vegetables and whole grains can help prevent heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, while those lacking in nutrients, like soft drinks, white bread, junk food, alcohol can cause a number of fatal health problems.
What technique should you choose for shredding extra fat – Fasting or Calorie counting? We would say that this is a personal choice and varies from person to person. It’s up to you to decide what method suits and which method would you be able to pursue in the longer term. Whatever method you choose, just make sure you follow it religiously and work hard to realize all your fitness goals.