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Intermittent Fasting Vs Low Carb Diet?

If you are looking for a way to reduce your body fat, going low carb is one of the popular diet choices. There a number of different versions of low carb diets , from the famous Atkins diet to The South Beach Diet. Low Carb Diets are not new, the concept was not invented by Dr Robert Atkins as many people seem to think. Low Carb diets even precede other US diet doctors such as Herman Tarnower and Herman Taller. Dieting Plans allowing you to eat meat, some dairy foods, salad and non-starchy vegetables,while restricting or banning foods containing sugar or starch were first promoted in the early 19th century by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. To this day the debate continues among Doctors and Nutritionists as to what is the best diet for us to follow and lose weight.

There is certainly evidence to show that initial weight loss while following a low carb diet does reduce body fat. In a recent study of popular diets ( Gardner CD, Kiazand A, Alhassan S, et al. Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets for change in weight and related risk factors among overweight premenopausal women: the A TO Z Weight Loss Study: a randomized trial. JAMA 2007;297:969-77) The Atkins diet showed the best weight loss results over both a 2 month and a 6 month period. This is the information you seen mentioned in the media on a regular basis. However over a 12 month period the Atkins diet results were not so impressive, and was no more effective than the other diets in the study.

Intermittent Fasting and Low Carb Diets

My own view based on my experience of trying low carb dieting is though effective in the short term, diets such as Atkins are not practical to follow in the long term. In my opinion, to lose body fat and control weight, the way we eat has to be possible to follow for the long term, not just for a few weeks. I have in the past done Atkins, The South Beach Diet, and Fat Flush. I have taken things from all of these diet plans, I use them as part of lifestyle today. I also have a greater understanding of the effect refined carbohydrates have on my body, but the simple fact remains I could not follow these plans as a long term lifestyle change.


Going The Intermittent Fasting Route – No More Diets.

In January 2009 I became a Retired Dieter. That means I no longer refuse to eat the foods I enjoy. I have stopped listening to the media talk about the latest new diet and fat loss craze. All diets have a hook, but at the end of the day it comes down to one thing, one way or another we have to eat less. So what is the solution?

For me the effective way to lose body fat, and control my weight , is by using intermittent fasting. Intermittent Fasting is simply taking times of fast (no food) and working them into your lifestyle. You still eat every day, but you will incorporate a period of up to 24hrs without food into your day. Using Intermittent Fasting once or twice a week reduces body fat, yet still allows you to enjoy the foods you enjoy. On the days you are not fasting, you eat normally. Following the I.F. lifestyle I am still cutting carbs from my diet. I am actually cutting carbs for the equivalent of 2 full days per week.

We could debate the theory, but I like to work on results. In my first 7 weeks of using Intermittent Fasting for weight loss, I reduced my body fat by 12% and lost 24lbs. In my 14 years of trying different diet plans, I have never had results that compare to these. The other main point is, unlike my experience of low carb diets, I have not felt restricted with Intermittent Fasting,I have not had any cravings for specific foods like I did with Low Carb dieting because no foods are off limits. Why do I feel that intermittent fasting is something I can use as long term ?  ( And we are talking over two years now )  The answer is because on any diet I have tried in the past, I would always have days where I felt i was restricted, so the diet became difficult, and that is on the diets that I managed to stick to for 7 weeks! The difference with Intermittent Fasting is, it isn’t a diet, because no foods are off limits. Once you have completed once fast, you know from that day forward, you can incorporate it into your lifestyle, how you do that, and how often you do it, is up to you, that is the great thing about Intermittent Fasting, it adapts to your lifestyle, in the past when you went on a diet, how often did it dominate your life? This again is a prime example why diets fail.

So my suggestion is if you are looking to reduce your body fat, and think you should reduce your carbs, try Intermittent Fasting. Become a Retired Dieter, and let me know how you get on.

Want to follow more about my own intermittent fasting success story ? then be sure to visit my retired dieter weight loss blog and learn how I lost over 70lbs.

2 Responses to Intermittent Fasting Vs Low Carb Diet?
  1. Elise
    April 6, 2012 | 1:08 pm

    Hi, I’m completely new to intermittent fasting but have been trying to read around the subject as much as possible. Most articles however discuss how you can use IF to get muscle gains, not lose weight.

    Your posts on IF have got me really excited to start and im now aproaching my 13th hour of my first ever try at IF. I think today however I am only going to do about a 17 hour one, just to break myself into it.

    I have a couple of questions. There are obviously numerous ways to fast but the most prominent ones are the 16/8 fast, and the one you talk about which is the 24 hour one a couple of times a week. Today it would seem I’m doing the 16/8 one more than the 24 hour, but I’m uncertain as to how many calories I will need to eat in that window. My calorie needs a day are around 2000 (I’m a young active female) so does that mean that in my feeding window I’ll need to eat around 1500? or do i eat until i feel full? or do i just eat the normal amount I would for that meal? (500-600 calories)

    i would be really grateful if you could clear this up for me!
    Thanks in advance

    • Dave
      April 6, 2012 | 2:10 pm

      Hi Elise,

      You calories still matter. I tend to look at my calories on a weekly basis rather than daily, I also use this RMR calculator as guide http://retireddieter.com/resting-metabolic-rate-what-is-your-rmr My RMR is around 1800 per day as a 5,10 mail. I am also active, but I still work around 1800 day calorie wise, and this gives me a bit more freedom the the weekends. I don’t work the exercise into my numbers.

      What you could do is work on the RMR figure ( The One In Yellow ) And then see if the activity is helping you lose. There is no exact way of doing this, it’s just a case of taking your best guess. So if the scales are showing you losing , then you know you are ok. If not, then cut back a little. Just be sure you have the right number to start with. I was surprised in my case as a Man how little calories I need . I was always so used to hearing the 2,500 per day for a Man quote. Thing is when I looked to work to a guessed 1800, I finally lost the weight and kept it off ever since !

      Hope that helps, and welcome to the world of I.F. !

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