Intermittent fasting has become one of the most popular weight loss methods, and no, it’s not a gimmick. The Authority Nutrition explains why this works in a YouTube video about the strategy. As the host explains, intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that incorporates regular, short-term fasts into your schedule.

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There are three methods, which the video explains in-depth. The first is called the 16-8, which requires skipping one meal a day. You are then free to eat during an eight-hour window. People typically choose to skip breakfast and then eat lunch and dinner.

The Eat, Stop, Eat method is another type of intermittent fasting. For this plan, you would incorporate two, 24-hour fasts a week. For example, you would skip dinner one night and break the fast at the following evening’s dinner, allowing a full 24 hours between meals.

In the 5:2 diet, you eat only 500-600 calories a day, for two days a week. All other meals can be a healthy, balanced option.

As the narrator says, eating normal, balanced meals are the key for this plan to work. If you binge or eat excessive amounts of unhealthy food when you're not fasting, then the plans likely won’t help you lose weight.

Dieters often have a lot of success on this plan, because skipping meals means you eat less food. The less food you eat, the less calories you consume overall, which creates a bigger deficit for you to lose weight. One pound is the equivalent of 3,500 calories.

Studies have shown that these diets are effective at decreasing body weight and fat mass, but more effective at retaining lean muscle. According to the video, in a regular calorie restriction diet, about 25 percent of muscle mass is lost. In intermittent fasting, only 10 percent of muscle tone is sacrificed.

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However, Authority Nutrition is quick to point out that the most important part of dieting is picking a plan that works for you. As long as you consistently reduce calorie intake, whether through reduced portion sizes, or fasting, you will lose weight. After all, no diet works if it doesn’t work for you.

For more on intermittent fasting, watch the video:

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