Can Intermittent Fasting Cause Weight Gain?
Can intermittent fasting cause weight gain? Is this your problem too?? Don’t worry; we will scientifically address the details of fasting, intermittent fasting and how to deal with weight gain due to intermittent fasting.
Fasting is an ancient and modern tradition to maintain health and belief
As we all know, fasting is a well-known religious tradition of various religions like Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Parallel to this, it is a popular tool for weight management too. With the increase in awareness of wellness and healthy living, many natural and ancient ways are now in practice to maintain human health. Though there are various forms and tradition of fasting, the famous one is Ramadan fasting.
For Muslim, it is the most important ritual and part of Islamic belief. Ramadan fasting is part of intermittent fasting, and it brings various physical and spiritual health benefits and weight loss. Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and refrain from any drinking and eating. Besides, they also follow different other traditions during Ramadan. It is part of their belief and makes them self-discipline and obedient. Contrary to this, anyone can follow intermittent fasting in any month to maintain his health and fitness.
Difference between intermittent fasting and dieting
Intermittent fasting focuses on the time of eating rather than what to eat. It is good news for people who have difficulty in changing their choice of meal. Through intermittent fasting, they can control the eating timings at first. Later, slowly and gradually, they can turn towards health meal choices too. Usually, people practice intermittent fasting for 12-16 hrs and 24 – 48 hours for religious and spiritual needs. The best timings are 12-16 hrs fasting with proper diet. But some people also complain about weight gaining instead of losing it. Let’s first address this question about fasting.
Does Intermittent fasting cause weight gain?
The answer is no. When we start fasting, it reduces insulin level and profoundly burns fats as an energy source. Therefore, you must lose weight while following intermittent fasting. But do you also feel the same while doing fasting? If yes, then you must be doing it in the wrong way. Let see how it works on your body function.
Are you getting Weight due to Intermittent Fasting?
If your answer is yes, then hold on and try to understand the effect of intermittent fasting on your body functions.
Here is the scientific explanation of changes going on in your body during fasting. During fasting, the body converts to use other energy sources due to the usual supply of sugar’s unavailability. In normal conditions, the body uses regular glucose resources from grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, etc. But during fasting, if the usual supply of glucose stops, then it shifts to other sources. Therefore, the body starts making its glucose supply with the help of the process of gluconeogenesis. After 8 hours of fasting liver make use of all reserves of glucose. Then it helps to convert other materials like amino acid, fats and lactose to produce its glucose energy. This process is called ketosis. After12 hours of fasting, the body releases glucagon to balance blood sugar levels. . Through intermittent fasting, the body gets used to fat-centric metabolism.
Thirdly, after some days of fasting, the body becomes used to using fats as a primary energy source, and this is the stage where we are at the perfect stage of weight loss and balancing sugar levels. As a whole, intermittent fasting contributes to adjust blood sugar level, heart risk factors and weight loss goals of your body.
Now here comes the question of why intermittent fasting cause weight gain? There may be various reasons, and we will address them one by one. You should pick up your reason and work on that to make a smooth weight loss journey.
12 Intermittent Fasting Mistakes that lead you to Weight Gain
1- One size does not fit for all
It is true that for fasting, you should reply to your body needs and wants. Don’t follow diets that are not suitable for your body needs. Also, keep in mind your goals. If you are fasting for fat loss, then you must follow an intermittent fasting weight loss diet. Through an intermittent fasting weight loss diet plan, you can plan your meals and avoid any cravings. Therefore, select an appropriate diet for your body and stick to that. But also be easy on you and select a slow and steady method of weight loss for better and long term results.
2- Dehydration in intermittent fasting
If you try to look at it scientifically, during intermittent fasting times, the body insulin level drops down, and the body releases the excess water. This can lead to dehydration. The state of dehydration is signalled with headaches and fatigues. Therefore, you must drink plenty of water after intermittent fasting hours. This water consumption will keep your body hydrated and will deal with other related issues and fatigue.
3- Foods to be eaten in non-fasting hours
Though an intermittent fasting plan is the best way to lose weight fast, the reverse can happen if you do not plan your meals wisely. When we break our fast and select sugary, salty, spicy foods to eat, it mingles with our body functions. Those who have successfully used fasting for weight loss have planned a balanced diet, including healthy ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and protein drinks.
4- Overeating in non-fasting slots
Intermittent fasting for weight loss requires you to take foods that help in weight loss. But if you break the fast and take too many calories full of carb and sugar, you will undoubtedly gain weight instead of losing it. Some people might overeat since they will fast ahead for 16 hours, but that does not make sense. Through intermittent fasting, you are activating the weight loss mechanism of your body. Therefore, you must take diets to lose fat fast. I can recommend you taking lean meat like fish and fibre foods in moderate quantity. Overeating cannot go hand in hand with fasting and weight loss.
5- Eating too less in a non-fasting slot
The best intermittent fasting plan requires a healthy fasting diet plan and moderate eating. If you eat less in the first few days, the body will reach the point of starvation. This eating pattern might lead you to do binge in non-fasting hours. Also, when you eat less, your body gets the message of protecting and storing food. Therefore, the body stores food as fat instead of lean muscle. Also, your metabolism slows down, and you won’t get the benefits of intermittent fasting.
6- Electrolyte Imbalance
Our body uses electrically charged minerals for the heartbeat, brain communication and muscles movement. These are called an electrolyte. Due to a fall in insulin levels during fasting, the body flushes out more water and falls into electrolytes’ deprivation. Therefore, it is recommended to take supplements of electrolyte to keep them balanced. You can suffer from fatigue, headaches, stress and discomfort due to unbalanced electrolyte levels in the body. According to research, our body needs 5g of sodium, 1 g of potassium and 3 gm of magnesium daily. Besides salt, nuts, legumes, tofu, seeds, whole grains, fatty fish, beans, potatoes are rich in sodium, potassium and magnesium. Therefore, you must develop the best intermittent fasting eating plan containing all the above ingredients to ensure healthy weight loss.
7- Taking a high carb diet
Intermittent fasting for weight loss needs a proper diet plan. If you are not taking adequate protein and fat supply, it will slow down your metabolism and gain weight instead of losing it. Because choosing an improper diet will lead to extreme starvation and greater craving for sugars. If you take more sugars, then the whole plan of intermittent fasting for weight loss reverses itself. Therefore, choose the right carbs for the intermittent fasting meal plans. Let us see some of the examples of healthy carbs. Whole grains, split peas, lentils and different type of beans are healthy carbs. Similarly, you can take milk and fruits and vegetables like potatoes, corn, root vegetable as healthy carbs.
8- Missing the protein balance
Intermittent fasting weight loss results will be better when you use lean protein with enough carbs on your plate. You may use protein powder, protein shakes, fish, chicken, and meat as a protein source. It will not only fill you up but also participate in keeping your sugar level regular. Otherwise, high carb and high sugar consumption will make the body digest food for a more extended period resulting in bloating and indigestion. This will lead to weight gain instead of weight loss.
9- Irregularities in the fasting window
Fasting abstains you from eating, but intermittent fasting leaves room for some intake like tea, coffee and water etc. Some experts recommend bone broth and oils, too, but that will break your fast. But if you are extending this favour to drinking alcohol during fasting and taking over supplementations and fruit juices, fasting is not beneficial. First of all, keep in mind that the best way to lose fat fast is by triggering the process of ketosis. And any calorie intake will affect ketosis. It is one of the most important reasons for weight gain during fasting.
10- Choosing high fat and high sugar meal for breaking the fast
If you choose meals like soda and cheeseburger while breaking the fast, it will lead to poor digestion and indigestion. The excellent meal choice for breaking the fast is digestible carbs, nuts, fruits, vegetables, soups, dates, kimchi, yoghurt and smoothies. But if you have chosen heavy and indigestible meals, then the effort of intermittent fasting for long hours will go in vain. It will lead to weight gain instead of weight loss.
11- Intense workouts
Intermittent fasting can go well with a soft workout like a walk. But intense workout will leave you exhausted, and your fasting will be counterproductive. Remember, your body works on scientific principles, and you cannot let it reduce weight instantly. You have to work on it slowly and gradually and give it time to adjust to the new routine. Otherwise, injury, cravings and dehydration will reverse the game of weight management.
12- Sleep routine
Last but not least, is your sleep routine. Let’s see why sleep is essential for us.
- Poor sleep will affect your stress and anxiety levels.
- The body needs proper sleep for cellular repair.
- Sleep also promotes the activation and secretion of growth hormone
Sleep, therefore, supports the goals of intermittent fasting too. When we fast, the body works more on cellular growth. It also promotes growth hormones secretion. Since fasting and sleep together support many functions.
But in the absence of proper sleep, the body will lose its ability to follow effective weight management. In some cases, results will be the opposite, like weight gain and increased stress. Also, it will ultimately affect your cravings, and your body won’t support your goals. Take a good 7-9 hrs. of sleep for best intermittent fasting results.
Hopefully, you have got an answer to your question, “Can intermittent fasting cause weight gain?”. Let’s quickly review all points through this infographic given below.
Life in the Fasting Lane
For more information about “Can intermittent fasting cause weight gain?” and intermittent fasting weight loss diet, you can read the book “Life in the Fasting Lane” by Dr Jason Fung, Eve Mayer Ramos. It covers the basic science of fasting, taboos, and questions about fasting and getting real benefits. Interestingly one of the authors, Mayer, shared her perspective of fasting as her success story. Therefore, you must read the book to make a workable plan for your better body and brain health.
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Furthermore, you can also read about why fasting is so important for Muslims to refrain from fasting irregularities.