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votes

Does Fasting cause weight loss or gain?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 21, 2011 at 5:56 PM

I always hear people say you need to eat 6 portioned meals a day in order to keep your metabolism up. But isn't that a myth because the less calories you put in your body the less you will weigh. That's why calorie restriction works. Why then do people have the argument that when you fast(15-18 hrs) a couple times a week that you are messing with your metabolism and your body thinks you're starving so it doesn't Burn fat. Does anyone know which argument is true?

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I've heard that prolonged low calorie intake can cause quite significant water retention (I can't remember where i read this, can anyone help me out or am I crazy?) so if you're constantly feeling bloated and puffy you might want to consider that too.

7e6644836cdbcbe2b06307ff7db92d31

(693)

on January 11, 2013
at 04:32 PM

If there was a "starvation mode", whatever that might entail, you could easily defeat it if you continued to eschew food. You intuitively know that if you don't eat food you will lose weight eventually. Furthermore, you are evolutionarily equipped to handle periods without food. The debate is about the best way to accomplish weight loss. The confusion is over the existence of some mystical property that prevents you from ever losing weight in spite of not eating any more food.

7e6644836cdbcbe2b06307ff7db92d31

(693)

on January 11, 2013
at 04:25 PM

"each cell has a set number of mitochondria, usually one" I don't think the votes from Broward County are in yet.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 21, 2011
at 06:30 PM

I was about to share this very same link, +1!

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8 Answers

5
6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on July 21, 2011
at 06:05 PM

I think that everyone is different. For me, intermittent fasting is definitely more effective for burning fat and for weight control. Check here for more information: link text

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on July 21, 2011
at 06:30 PM

I was about to share this very same link, +1!

2
8828d5922b47a0e2b82bde2232037746

(616)

on July 21, 2011
at 06:37 PM

What is called "Metabolism" can loosely be defined by how many mitochondria you have and how efficient they are. The efficiency of your mitochondria is largely genetic so that really doesn't change much. The only other way to "change metabolism" is to increase or decrease the number of cells you have in your body- each cell has a set number of mitochondria, usually one. So unless you lose muscle or bone mass (as we do when we age) your "metabolism" shouldn't slow down. Short term fasting won't cause that. Low fat/ low protein diets can cause some loss of muscle, especially if repeated over many years. They can actually "slow your metabolism" by reducing muscle cells, which reduces the total number of mitochondria in your body.

Brad Pillon (Eat Stop Eat) says that there are studies showing that you can fast for up to three days without losing any muscle at all. No muscle loss, no mitochondria loss, no slowing of metabolism.

7e6644836cdbcbe2b06307ff7db92d31

(693)

on January 11, 2013
at 04:25 PM

"each cell has a set number of mitochondria, usually one" I don't think the votes from Broward County are in yet.

1
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on July 21, 2011
at 06:25 PM

I have had great results w.r.t. weight loss and strength building by skipping the meal before I work out. The pounds really come off, and the muscle seems to be building much faster.

If I can swing it, I will fast the full day before a workout (i.e. skip breakfast before a workout at around lunch time) and then wait an hour before eating after the workout. I feel that this burns more fat, though I'm absolutely starving for the next two meals and have to be careful not to overeat.

Some folks here who have lost a lot of weight say that fasting helps, others say that they can't skip a meal or it halts the weight loss. I think it depends, and it's easy to try, just keep track of how you feel and what your body says.

Something I will point out is that skipping meals is a very normal thing that most anyone can do and our Paleo ancestors certainly did all the time, though most people freak out at the very concept. The Paleo diet decreased my appetite so that for most meals, I am a little hungry but in a "I can easily skip this meal" kind of way. This makes it a lot easier to make good food choices, because if I'm stuck somewhere with no good food, I just skip the meal and eat more later.

0
3b031bce7c181c10452ee202e2b54dc6

on January 11, 2013
at 09:22 PM

Chelsea,

How did you find out this was the case?

Were you hypothyroid?

I am suffering symptoms similar to hypothyroidism and have been intermittent fasting for a year now. The symptoms onset about a month ago after I cut down to under 10% bf naturally and was travelling a lot in Europe (lots of walking and exposure to all kinds of nasty germs)

I thought it could be a result of fasting and a large deficit of calories in vs energy expenditure.

I have recently stopped the intermittent fasting and increased my caloric intake, especially since Im back home in the states where everything revolves around sitting in a car, but I am not feeling much better.

How long did it take you to recover?

0
7c8e227dd8d5bdd77febfdebaa78dc13

on January 11, 2013
at 07:04 PM

You have to experiment. When I first tried fasting I would skip breakfast and lunch and eat a reasonable sized dinner. I gained 10 lbs, and it wasn't muscle. That was 6 months ago, now I'm trying it again but opposite. I'm eating a small breakfast and lunch, no dinner. The weight is just falling off, I've lost 10 lbs in 3 weeks. I've been strength training while doing this and I haven't noticed any loss in muscle.

0
2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

on January 11, 2013
at 02:42 PM

I find for me, fasting results in cortisol and stress. But your mile may vary. And I don't agree with the 6 meals a day to keep your metabolism running. My thyroid seriously suffered when not eating (eating 1 meal a day and not getting sufficient calories because I was so full). I eat when hungry, stop when full. Whether that be 1 meal or 10. I listen to my body because everything is dialed in.

0
9a367b1944e39c29bb9722c237670dce

on January 11, 2013
at 10:12 AM

people inadvertantly fast everday to a certain extent. if you eat dinner at 6p and wake up at 800a and eat breakfast at 900a, you have just fasted for 15 hours.. are these people at risk of your dreaded diseases too??

Herbsonline

0
Medium avatar

on July 22, 2011
at 07:52 PM

This question has been driving me NUTS! I've asked it on here before but I don't believe there's actually an answer, except that it doesn't affect everyone in the same way.

IF does nothing for my weight loss. Interval training fasted does nothing for my weight loss. I think my body is more starvation mode prone. I noticed I began gaining weight after I downsized my food intake from constant paleo grazing to two 600-calorie meals a day (not because I'm trying to restrict calories but because that's all I need to eat to feel full). I'm eating less now than I ever had in my life, and that's the only change I've made to my routine, and yet I've gotten bigger. I'm beginning to believe my body is thinking a famine is coming and holding on to its fat stores. So I guess you have to experiment and see what works for you.

7d0c3ea9bf8be00b93e6433d8f125ac3

(7540)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I've heard that prolonged low calorie intake can cause quite significant water retention (I can't remember where i read this, can anyone help me out or am I crazy?) so if you're constantly feeling bloated and puffy you might want to consider that too.

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