If you or a male in your life are struggling to lose excess body fat, you are not alone. Currently, more than 38% of men are overweight and 35% are battling obesity.
To begin shedding excess body weight and get yourself on the path to wellness, you’ll need to implement healthy lifestyle changes. This is why intermittent fasting can be so beneficial for weight loss in men.
The Basics of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a nutritional lifestyle that alternates between periods of eating and fasting. Though intermittent fasting has experienced a recent rise in popularity, various societies have utilized this eating method for religious and cultural reasons for thousands of years. In fact, many people are surprised to learn that they are somewhat fasting already.
While you sleep, you spend an average of eight hours per day fasting. Intermittent fasting essentially encourages you to extend that fasting period a bit longer, either by skipping breakfast and eating your first meal at noon or alternating and skipping food for entire days. This nutritional change allows your body time to regulate blood sugar, insulin and cholesterol levels between meals.
Intermittent fasting offers numerous benefits, including:
- Fighting inflammation
- Improving blood pressure
- Lowering cholesterol
- Reducing insulin resistance
- Reducing the chance of developing coronary heart disease
Though, perhaps the most notable benefit of intermittent fasting is weight loss for men, with one study reporting that fasting can help to lose 3 to 8% of body fat over a period of 3-12 months.
What Are the Implications of an Unhealthy Lifestyle?
While sex and genetics play a major role in weight loss, do not underestimate the influence of modern lifestyle on men’s weight. Researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA recently examined the link between an unhealthy lifestyle and long-term weight gain.
In a 20-year study, specific dietary factors such as the intake of starchy potato chips and potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages and unprocessed red meats and processed meat led to steady weight gain every four years.
Likewise, lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, limited physical activity, and poor sleeping habits all led to an increase in body fat. With a rise in accessibility for unhealthy fast foods and prevalence of sedentary office jobs, this study highlights the importance of making healthy nutritional choices. Diet and frequency of eating can drastically influence not just weight loss, but also male metabolism and testosterone.
What’s Unique About Men’s Metabolism?
In humans, metabolism is what breaks down food to absorb energy and nutrients. These substances keep the body fueled and are also essential to building, repairing and maintaining healthy body tissue and bodily functions. When we rest, metabolism burns calories.
However, metabolism is not the same for men as it is for women. While men tend to have a higher metabolism than women, male metabolism is geared toward developing lean muscle, which means male bodies burn through energy more quickly. As men begin to age, their metabolism slows, which leads to reduced muscle mass and a slower rate of burning calories.
When it comes to weight loss, men should be aiming to maintain a higher metabolism as well as combat quick energy burn. By implementing periods of fasting, not only can the body begin to improve metabolic processes, but also begin utilizing energy more effectively.
Does Intermittent Fasting Impact Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone found in both sexes but is present in much higher levels among men.
It is responsible for a plethora of traditionally male characteristics, including:
- Developing the penis and testes
- Producing sperm
- Maintaining libido (sex drive)
- Enhancing muscularity and bone strength
- Deepening the voice
- Thickening body and facial hair
When testosterone levels begin to deplete, it can cause loss of muscle tone, increased body fat and other unpleasant side effects such as inadequate erections and sleep problems. Low testosterone has also been linked to metabolic syndrome, a collection of health conditions that lead to an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
Introducing intermittent fasting can help increase luteinizing hormone (LH) levels, a chemical that stimulates the production of testosterone in the testes. As LH levels rise, so do overall testosterone levels. In fact, a study showed that intermittent fasting for weight loss in men increased LH by as much as 67% as well as boosted overall testosterone levels by 180%.
Will Men Lose Muscle Along With Fat?
In comparison to traditional weight loss methods, the chances to lose muscles on intermittent fasting are low. When you begin a habit of intermittent fasting, you can also begin body recomposition. This is an approach to weight loss that focuses on decreasing body fat while simultaneously maintaining or growing muscle mass. This lifestyle helps you lose weight while also improving your body’s ratio of fat to muscle.
To avoid losing muscle along with your fat, it’s important to increase your protein intake on non-fasting days. Experts at the Department of Health and Kinesiology at Texas A&M University recommend reducing calories by 30 to 40% while increasing your protein intake to 0.55 to 1.4 grams per pound of body weight. Distribute your protein sources evenly throughout the day by incorporating protein-rich foods such as poultry, eggs, leafy greens, and dairy products.
Why Men Should Choose Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
If you’ve been contemplating how to begin your weight loss journey, intermittent fasting is the first step to take. Not only will this lifestyle change help you shed unwanted body fat, but it will also help improve multiple areas of your health. Intermittent fasting has been scientifically proven to benefit male metabolism, helping men lose weight and ward against metabolic syndrome.
Fight high blood sugar, insulin resistance and the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and coronary heart disease when you begin intermittent fasting today.
To avoid mistakes and achieve better results please refer to our complete guide to Intermittent Fasting and weight loss.