- Intermittent fasting is a popular diet trend that can help men to lose and maintain their weight.
- Some research has linked intermittent fasting to weight loss, fat loss, and improved metabolic health.
- Some people find it easier to stick to intermittent fasting than traditional diets based on caloric restriction.
- Intermittent fasting isn’t right for everyone, so you should speak with a provider before adopting this dietary routine.
- Find support for safe and effective weight loss methods, like Plenity®, with eDrugstore.
Intermittent fasting is a dietary routine that doesn’t focus on calorie restriction, but instead limits your window of time for eating. Many men swear by intermittent fasting for losing and maintaining weight, but this dietary routine isn’t right for everyone.
Intermittent Fasting for Men
Intermittent fasting has become a popular eating pattern to manage weight and metabolic health. Intermittent fasting describes abstaining from food for a specific period of time each day or each week. There are several popular routines to choose from for alternating between windows of fasting and eating.
Many people using intermittent fasting will choose to fast for a period between 12 and 40 hours. During intermittent fasting periods, you will not eat solid foods or drink calories. You can still drink water, coffee, or other zero-calorie beverages during your fasting period.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
There are several intermittent fasting routines to choose from. These routines rely on methods that vary in the number of days you fast and calories allowed per day. The routine you choose is largely up to personal preference and dietary needs.
The most popular methods of intermittent fasting include:
- Alternate-day fasting. With this method, you alternate between days with no food restriction and days where you eat one meal that only meets roughly 25 percent of your daily caloric needs. For example, you might choose to fast on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but eat without restriction on Tuesday, Thursday, and the weekend.
- Time-restricted feeding. With this method, you follow a meal plan each day of the week, using a specific window of time for eating and fasting. For example, you may choose to only eat meals from 7AM-2PM, then fast the rest of the day and until 7AM the next morning.
- Whole-day fasting. With this method, you will select one-to-two days per week to completely fast or only eat up to 25 percent of your daily caloric needs. You will not have a caloric restriction on the other days of the week. The 5:2 method is a popular example of whole-day fasting. With this method, you would eat as normal five days per week, then eat approximately 400-500 calories during your two designated fasting days.
What Does Research Say About Intermittent Fasting?
Research concerning intermittent fasting is not new. Some research suggests that fasting can support weight loss, fat loss, and improve management of metabolic conditions. However, it can take at least two-to-four weeks for your body to adjust to an intermittent fasting routine.
Research has established a link between calorie restriction and health benefits, such as an increased lifespan during animal studies. It has also shown that fasting can be an effective method of losing and maintaining weight—but research doesn’t show it to be superior to other methods of diet or calorie restriction.
Specific health benefits of intermittent fasting may include:
- Weight loss. A systematic review of 40 scientific studies showed that intermittent fasting can be an effective method for weight loss. The average weight loss was seven-to-10 pounds lost across 10 weeks. Dropout rates were not significantly lower than dropout rates for other dietary routines.
- Lower blood pressure. An observational study revealed that intermittent fasting can help to reduce weight and to lower blood pressure after a four-to-21 day fasting period.
- Protection against metabolic and chronic conditions. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed a variety of potential health benefits related to intermittent fasting. The study reviewed key evidence for intermittent fasting’s potential to improve heart and bowel health, as well as protect organs against type-2 diabetes, age-related neurodegenerative disorders, and certain cancers.
Research on Side Effects
Though intermittent fasting is linked to several potential health benefits, it isn’t right for everyone. Many people report feeling more hungry and having other negative side effects when first starting intermittent fasting. The majority of these side effects are temporary.
Research has shown that intermittent fasting may temporarily cause:
Considerations for Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is considered safe for most adults. However, it’s important to always consult with your medical provider prior to adopting any new diet or exercise regimen. You should consider potential side effects, health risks, and lifestyle preferences to determine if intermittent fasting is right for you.
Intermittent fasting isn’t right for everyone. Restricting caloric intake can be dangerous for:
- Children and adolescents
- People who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- People living with diabetes
- People taking certain medications
- People with a history of disordered eating
- People with other blood sugar challenges, like hypoglycemia
Other Weight Loss Methods
Sticking to a rigorous diet routine is easier said than done. Many people find success in losing and maintaining their weight by committing to holistic lifestyle changes. These may include:
- Adopting a well-balanced diet
- Engaging in regular physical activity
- Establishing a sleep routine
- Managing stress
Some people may benefit from additional support through a dietitian, nutritionist, or medical intervention. Your provider can help you to identify the right routines, professionals, or health products to get you—and keep you—on the right track.
Plenity Weight Loss Device
Plenity® is an FDA-approved weight loss aid. It’s specifically been studied for its use in helping overweight and obese adults to lose weight safely. Plenity® works best when paired with a well-balanced diet and exercise routine.
Plenity® is an oral capsule that works by promoting satiety. It’s made from two natural ingredients—cellulose and citric acid. These ingredients work directly in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to help you feel fuller longer.
Plenity® does not require a strict dietary routine like intermittent fasting. Some men may prefer to use this less-restrictive, yet effective, method of losing weight. Talk to a provider to see if Plenity® is right for you.
Find Support with eDrugstore
eDrugstore.com makes it easy for men to talk to healthcare professionals about a variety of topics, such as erectile dysfunction or sexual health. Take advantage of our free online consultation to order medications online or by calling 1-800-467-5146. Virtual health visits and shipping are always free.
Shelby is a public health professional with research and field experience in sexual and reproductive health. She holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) and is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).