No Long Term Commitments
Here’s the thing with intermittent fasting there are no commitments for staying on this type of eating for the long term. You can do it for a while and then quit when you start to feel the benefits. You may for instance have to travel or go to a new job and you can’t fit this approach to eating in.
Try starting with a fast and only doing it on alternate days. Or you may want to only apply it on a few or even one day a week. Then there are individuals who like it so much they want to follow this model for the long haul, as long as possible.
What kind of person are you? Pick something that suits you. No eating plan can last if you can’t do it regularly. The one that suits you is the best option for you. If you’re a harcore every day person do that.
If you are an every other day type of guy and gal, choose that. If not try it one to two days per week. If you like it you can always add more days. There is no right way!
Best Ways To Do Intermittent Fasting
While fasting has been around since ancient times, intermittent fasting, or IF, has relatively recently become a popular health trend, as more and more people are turning to IF to promote weight loss, metabolic health, and even longevity. Many people are familiar with the 16:8 form of IF, but there are several ways to do intermittent fasting, each of which can be effective and beneficial when appropriately and properly applied. Yet, some may work better than others specifically for you. Heres a breakdown of the popular ways to do intermittent fasting.
In todays article about the best ways to do intermittent fasting, we will cover the following:
Can I Exercise While Fasting And When Is The Best Timing
Yes! Its generally safe to exercise while fasted. However, talk to your physician if you have diabetes or have experienced hypoglycemia during or after fasted exercise.
People practicing alternate day fasting choose to exercise on fasted days as often as on their feeding days. However, when approaching the end of a long fast you may want to stick to light to moderate physical activity.
There arent necessarily best practices for exercise timing with fasting. However, theres evidence that fasted exercise can send you into deeper ketosis more quickly. Light exercise right before or after you eat can also help your body soak up glucose more quickly. High intensity exercise can even raise your blood glucose levels temporarily as your muscles release glycogen and your liver produces new glucose, which could leave you feeling uplifted during a prolonged fast. There are many ways to combine fasting with exercise. Learn more here.
Dont Fast On Active Days
It’s crucial to make sure you’re giving your body enough food to fuel upcoming activities. So if you’re going to fast Mondays and Wednesdays, don’t put more demands on your body with an intense spin class, or other serious workout. Make fasting days your rest days. Or at the very most, plan to do some stretching or light yoga.
In other words, timing matters. Think of your body like a car: You need to fill the gas tank before you go for a long drive, not the next day. The difference between a car and your body, however, is a car with no fuel will stop, while you can push your under-nourished body to keep moving. But slogging through workouts will only wear your body out, and up your risk of injury.
Who Should Not Try Intermittent Fasting
Not everyone should try IF. A few groups who shouldnt: women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant , those taking diabetes medication , or anyone who takes multiple medications , Kumar says. Also, if you have a history of eating disorders, introducing periods where youre not allowed to eat can put you on a dangerous path toward a relapse.
Know that IF has some side effects. You may be cranky hanger is real during fasting periods because low blood sugar can mess with your mood. You also still need to have a healthy diet when you do eat. One thought is that it would be difficult to make up a calorie deficit if you fasted for two days, but in our society with access to calorie-dense items, you could probably do it, Kumar says. Focus on balanced, nutrient-packed choices, like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, legumes, and whole grains . Expect that for the first couple of weeks you may deal with lower energy, bloating, and cravings until your body adjusts, Shemek says.
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Youre Trying To Avoid Jet Lag
Another reason I often fast when traveling is to establish a new circadian rhythm aligned with my destination. By waiting until the morning after my arrival to eat, I take advantage of one of the most powerful stimuli, or zeitgebers, for establishing a new circadian rhythm: food. Eat a big meal in the morning, and your body knows its morningbiologically speaking.
How this looks:
I arrive at noon in the new location, which feels like nighttime for me. Instead of eating a big lunch and collapsing into bed, I spend all day staying active and fasting. I skip dinner. I walk everywhere. Then, in the morning, I get a workout in, preferably outdoors to get natural light exposure, and follow up with a big breakfast. That combothe light, the workout, and the breakfast eaten at my desired breakfast time in the new placesets my internal clock and minimizes jet lag.
The Leangains Protocol Or Time
This fasting regimen involves restricting the daily eating periods to 8 hours or longer. One of the most popular examples of such a type of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method. This fasting pattern features a window of 8 hours of eating, followed by 16 hours of fasting. During the 8-hour eating period, one is allowed to fit in 2 or more meals as per choice.
The proponents of the 16/8 method often claim it to be the most sustainable, convenient, and easy way to burn calories, shed extra kilos, and significantly improve health. Moreover, it also assists in combating high blood pressure and efficiently controlling blood sugar levels. You can repeat this fasting cycle as per your preference. It can range from once or twice every week or even every day.
The 16/8 regimen is more accessible to follow than other intermittent fasting routines. Moreover, it provides comparatively better results with nominal disruption to your lifestyle. The growing popularity of 16/8 fasting is due to its flexibility, fewer restrictive protocols, and ease of adoption into varying lifestyles. However, a few factors are essential to negate this methods potential health risks. These include choosing a whole-food balanced diet and avoiding packaged food, sugary drinks, deep-fried items, & other ultra-processed foods.
Several studies have also associated drawbacks of this fasting technique which include:
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The Warrior Diet Allows You To Consume Certain Fruits And Vegetables During The Fasting Period
“With the warrior diet, a person may consume fruits, vegetables, and liquids with zero calories for 20 hours each day,” Yule explained.
Those observing this diet are allowed to eat a large meal in the evening, she said. And although she suggested that this diet puts a little more focus on diet quality, she did acknowledge that it is not sustainable for many people over time.
Scenarios When Fasting Might Be Your Best Approach
Theres a ton of talk about intermittent fasting in the ancestral heath sphere for general health and wellness as well as weight loss, but little indication of specific applications for the practice. Anytime you attempt a radical health practice like not eating, it helps to have a good reason to do it. That will not only give you something to aim for, but it will ensure you actually have a physiological justification for your experiment. Never go in blind.
What are some of the specific scenarios and conditions where fasting makes the most sense?
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Fast For 12 Hours A Day
The rules for this diet are simple. A person needs to decide on and adhere to a 12-hour fasting window every day.
According to some researchers, fasting for 1016 hours can cause the body to turn its fat stores into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream. This should encourage weight loss.
This type of intermittent fasting plan may be a good option for beginners. This is because the fasting window is relatively small, much of the fasting occurs during sleep, and the person can consume the same number of calories each day.
The easiest way to do the 12-hour fast is to include the period of sleep in the fasting window.
For example, a person could choose to fast between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. They would need to finish their dinner before 7 p.m. and wait until 7 a.m. to eat breakfast but would be asleep for much of the time in between.
Cardiologist Andrew Freeman Md On How To Make It Work For The Heart
The best approach to intermittent fasting for patients’ heart health may be a combination strategy, according to Andrew M. Freeman, MD, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver.
Freeman, who serves as co-chair of the American College of Cardiology’s nutrition and lifestyle workgroup, answered MedPage Today‘s questions about the popular diet. A lightly edited transcript follows.
What should healthcare professionals know about intermittent fasting?
First, I usually tell everybody that there are always going to be fad diets and changes to the status quo that sometimes really are quite beneficial and sometimes not. Fasting has been around for eons. Human beings did not always have food abundance like we have today. And so fasting is probably a natural thing, which is why we store fats.
In short, fasting is a great way to become more mindful about your food choices and when you eat and what you’re eating. When you’re only eating, say, 4 hours out of the day or 6 hours out of the day or even 8 hours out of the day, you really limit yourself. The goal then is to become mindful about what you’re doing and how much you’re doing rather than the so-called mindless eating which we find everywhere.
What are the cautions when thinking about intermittent fasting?
How does this interact with the data around eating versus skipping breakfast?
What is the worst thing you can do for your heart from a diet standpoint?
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What To Eat To Break Your Fast
By far, the most popular forms of intermittent fasting are the 18:6, 16:8, and 14:10 time-restricted eating plans, in which you abstain from food for 18, 16, and 14 hours per day, respectively.
While breaking these types of fasts doesn’t require quite as much planning as breaking an extended fast, there are still some general recommendations.
First and foremost, stick to whole foods and opt for a mix of macronutrients when you break a fastyou don’t want a straight shot of carbohydrates on an empty stomach.
“Definitely avoid carb-loaded meals and sugary drinks as they will cause a blood sugar roller coaster, raising your insulin levels and making you feel even more hungry,” says Amy Shah, M.D., who uses intermittent fasting in her practice. “Additionally, having lots of sugar will make fasting for the next day even harder because your hunger hormones will be raised.”
So what should you eat? “For a standard 16:8 plan, one could break a fast with a low-glycemic meal of choice,” says Ali Miller R.D., L.D., CDE, registered dietitian and functional medicine practitioner. “If you’re going to have carbs, ensure that they’re balanced with protein and fat. A salad with protein, eggs with avocado and vegetables, a homemade protein shake, or a leftover protein and roasted veggies could all work as meal number one.”
Portion size matters a bitparticularly when you get into the more intense time-restricted eating plans like 18:6 or 20:4.
Reduced Risk Of Chronic Diseases
Intermittent fasting improves metabolic flexibility, immunity, and lowers inflammation throughout the body. Additionally, it stimulates the production of more efficient mitochondria. These benefits combined lower your risk of many diseases that are prominent today.
There is a vast array of evidence showcasing that intermittent fasting strategies improve cardiovascular health, help to balance cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lower blood pressure, and may protect you from certain types of cancer by modulating the IGF-1 pathway .
Other conditions that have been identified to benefit from intermittent fasting include chronic inflammation, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and certain inflammatory skin conditions such as acne and eczema.
As if that wasnt enough, intermittent fasting has been shown in many cases to help with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. While not a treatment on its own, it may play a critical role in a holistic lifestyle geared around optimizing neurological function.
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Choosing The Appropriate Regimen According To Ones Lifestyle
A few of the most popular modules include The Leangains Protocol, the 5/2 approach, and Eat Stop Eat module, and others.
The Leangains Protocol is one of the most widely followed fasting schedules worldwide. This fasting form is subdivided into several other types depending on the duration of fasting & non-fasting periods. However, the 16/8 method is considered one of the most popular regimens among all other calorie-restricting diets.
Make Every Calorie Count
There isn’t one standard protocol for intermittent fasting. But many plans limit total calories to just 500 on fasting dayswhich is why it’s important to make food quality a priority, and squeeze the most nutrition possible out of your meals and snacks. That means nixing processed foods, and focusing on fresh, healthy fare. Yes, you can technically afford to eat a 100-calorie snack pack of mini-chocolate chips cookies. But spending those same 100 calories on veggies and an organic egg delivers a broad spectrum of nutrients your body needs for energy, immunity, and digestive health. Bottom line: A calorie isn’t just a calorie, and quality is king.
What Is The Best Intermittent Fasting Schedule What Is The Ideal Time You Should Be Fasting How Long Should You Fast
I keep getting these questions and I get it. You want to know what the best intermittent fasting schedule is. You want to make sure if you are fasting youre going about it right. We all have different reasons for fasting. Some fast for the incredible health benefits it offers, others are in it for the fat loss or both. When it comes to dropping fat intermittent fasting is a great tool to add to your arsenal.
One thing I usually recommend to those new to the intermittent fasting lifestyle is NOT announcing it to everyone. There is always that one person who is gonna tell you its unhealthy, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and starving yourself is not the answer to weight loss. The fact that youre reading this tells me already know this and there is a high probability youve started intermittent fasting already.
The 8 Different Methods Of Intermittent Fasting
There are multiple intermittent fasting methods, which mainly differ in fasting duration: from a 12-hour overnight fast to a whole-day fast. Methods with a short fasting period are well-suited for beginners. Longer fasting periods provide more benefits and are recommended for experienced fasters.
When you hear intermittent fasting, 16/8 or 18/6 fasting probably comes to mind.
The duration of the fast is the main differentiator: Some methods simply extend the overnight fast by a few hours, while with others, you abstain from food for a whole day.
Letâs have a closer look at different intermittent fasting methods.
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Should You Do Intermittent Fast Every Day
If you can follow a daily intermittent fasting schedule, your body gets used to the cycle, and you may not feel as hungry as you do when you start. Your body adapts to the change in eating patterns.
Lets face it we are used to eating several times a day. And if you gradually ease into intermittent fasting, you will find it gets easier.
However, suppose you feel that you simply cannot do this. In that case, you can try expanding your eating window to 12 or 14 hours and eating a lot of vegetables and fruits, which are filling and yet not very calorific. Do you find this very restricting? Then opt for skipping meals occasionally.
Whatever method you adopt, know that eating fewer calories and eating healthier will enable you to lose weight and improve your health.
Editorial Sources And Fact
- Fothergill E, Guo J, Howard L, et al. Persistent Metabolic Adaptation 6 Years After The Biggest Loser Competition. Obesity. August 2016.
- Varady KA, Cienfuegos S, Ezpeleta M, et al. Cardiometabolic Benefits of Intermittent Fasting. Annual Review of Nutrition. October 2021.
- Gabel K, Hoddy KK, Haggerty N, et al. Effects of 8-Hour Time Restricted Feeding on Body Weight and Metabolic Disease Risk Factors in Obese Adults: A Pilot Study. Nutrition and Healthy Aging. June 2018.
- Catterson JH, Khericha M, Dyson MC, et al. Short-Term, Intermittent Fasting Induces Long-Lasting Gut Health and TOR-Independent Lifespan Extension. Current Biology. June 2018.
- De Cabo R, Mattson MP. Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease. The New England Journal of Medicine. December 26, 2019.
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