If you're on a weight loss journey or have heard people around you talking like experts about weight loss, you've probably encountered two popular weight loss techniques: portion control and intermittent fasting. Both claim to work miracles and aid in weight loss. But if you're confused about which one works best for you or whether they actually work at all, let's figure it out.
But before we determine which one actually works, let's clarify what both of these methods mean.
In portion control, you either physically measure or visually estimate serving sizes to ensure you're not consuming excessive calories or nutrients.
This practice can be particularly useful for those trying to lose weight as it allows for better calorie management without necessarily restricting the types of foods you can eat.
Portion control can be achieved by adopting various strategies and practices while eating. Here are some tips on how to practice portion control effectively:
Intermittent fasting is another popular dietary approach that involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. Unlike traditional diets that focus on what foods to eat, intermittent fasting concentrates on when to eat.
There are several popular methods of intermittent fasting, with the most common being the 16:8 method. This means you finish dinner as early as possible and refrain from eating for 16 hours, ideally having dinner by 7-8 pm.
Intermittent fasting is known for its potential health benefits, including weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and better metabolic health.
Both of these dieting methods seem promising and effective on paper, with a host of potential benefits. However, it's essential to consider that both come with side effects.
Dr Darshini Bali, a dietician from Noida, notes that portion control diets come with their own set of challenges and side effects:
Constantly obsessing over portion sizes and calories can lead to stress and an unhealthy relationship with food, potentially leading to disordered eating habits for some individuals.
Intermittent fasting (IF) also has its share of side effects. Here's a list:
Difficulty concentrating or focusing during fasting periods may occur, especially for those accustomed to regular meals throughout the day.
If not practiced mindfully, intermittent fasting can sometimes lead to overeating or making less healthy food choices during eating windows, which can counteract the calorie deficit needed for weight loss.
Digestive discomfort, including stomachaches or irregular bowel movements, may occur for some individuals during fasting. Drinking enough water during fasting periods can help alleviate some of these issues.
Fasting, especially when done close to bedtime, may interfere with sleep patterns for some individuals.
Dr Darshini Bali says, "I believe that intermittent fasting is more effective than portion control. However, if you choose to do intermittent fasting and end up cheating on your diet, the risk of binge eating is higher."
Dr Reema Madhian, a dietician from Noida, suggests, "Both are good. You have to see what suits your body and how comfortable you are with intermittent fasting because, as I call it, it's not a diet; it's a lifestyle." She also notes that determining the right portion size can be challenging with intermittent fasting.
Now that you understand the meanings and side effects of both diet approaches, you can choose the one that works best for you.