What Is the Science Behind Intermittent Fasting?

You’ve probably heard the hype: Intermittent fasting has been hailed as the secret to weight loss. But what’s the reality?

While there is credible scientific evidence for intermittent fasting’s benefits, it’s neither a quick nor a guaranteed fix, according to leading researcher Satchin Panda. Panda, professor of circadian biology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, has spent his career studying the complex biochemical processes of the human body. His research — in mice and people — appears to suggest that intermittent fasting could benefit human health in a variety of different ways, including losing weight.

Before we dive into the science, let’s put one thing up front: There’s no one way to do intermittent fasting. If you google it, you’ll find a menu of options, each with their own proponents. There’s the 5: 2 diet, which involves eating very few calories (roughly 500-600) for two days of the week, followed by five days of normal eating. Or, there’s alternate-day fasting, which means eating normally one day and then eating either nothing or just 500 calories the next.

Excerpted from TED

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