What Can You Eat Or Drink While Intermittent Fasting
Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, RD
- There are certain things you can eat and drink while intermittent fasting, but you should be mindful of the portion size and calorie content.
- After 12 hours of fasting, your body will switch from burning glucose to fat for fuel this is known as fasting ketosis.1
- Its important to make healthy choices once you break your fast to reap the health benefits of intermittent fasting.
New year, new eating routine? If youre an intermittent fasting beginner, you might be wondering what you can eat or drink while intermittent fasting. Good news: Youve got options! We spoke with Briana Rodriquez, Jenny Craigs Registered Dietitian, to find out what you can eat and drink during your fast without breaking it and reap all the amazing health benefits.
Always consult your physician before beginning a new weight loss program.
What Can I Eat While Intermittent Fasting
During the times when youre not eating, water and zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee and tea are permitted.
And during your eating periods, eating normally does not mean going crazy. Youre not likely to lose weight or get healthier if you pack your feeding times with high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried items and treats.
But what Williams likes about intermittent fasting is that it allows for a range of different foods to be eaten and enjoyed. We want people to be mindful and take pleasure in eating good, nutritious food, she says. She adds that eating with others and sharing the mealtime experience adds satisfaction and supports good health.
Williams, like most nutrition experts, regards the Mediterranean diet as a good blueprint of what to eat, whether youre trying intermittent fasting or not. You can hardly go wrong when you pick complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats and lean protein.
What Foods Are Best For Achieving Your Fasting Goal
Below is a list of foods suitable for the attainment of the goals and purpose of an intermittent fast .
Other foods allowed during fasting are vegetables, whether fermented or unfermented, sauerkraut, tempeh, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, strawberries, cucumber, skimmed milk, and plain yoghurts. You should also make sure to drink lots of water during this period. In fact, it would be best if you made it your rule not to consume refined grains, processed foods and meats, and soft drinks, among others.
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Mistakes To Avoid When Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting can do wonders for your health, but you want to make sure that youre doing it safely.
If youre someone looking to lose some weight, you may have heard of intermittent fasting, one of the latest trends in health and fitness. Done correctly, intermittent fasting can help with weight loss, reduce inflammation, reduce insulin, and more.
But, intermittent fasting involves more than just skipping a meal or two. If you want positive results, you have to do it the correct way.
If youre only eating for certain hours of the day, you want to make sure you get nutritious foods during those hours to give you plenty of energy and vital nutrients, says Registered Dietitian Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD. By not eating a proper diet, you could end up feeling weak, fatigued, and even hungrier than when you started.
Its also important to note that intermittent fasting isnt always for everyone. Specifically, I wouldnt recommend it for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, those who have a history of an eating disorder, or athletes, says Rizzo. These populations need to eat frequently and shouldnt limit their intake to certain hours of the day.
If you do decide to participate in intermittent fasting, youll want to pay attention to your habits to ensure that you stay as healthy as possible while still reaping its benefits. Here are six mistakes to avoid when trying intermittent fasting.
Eat Big And Lose Weight With Intermittent Fasting
I love to eat. To me, food is one of the greatest pleasures in life.
You see, I grew up in a big Italian family, and every Sunday we would get together for a massive feast. Wed start with a nearly endless array of appetizers which included fresh mozzarella and tomato, stuffed breads, olives, reggiano cheese, mini quiches, roasted peppers, prosciutto, meat pie, rice balls, and a whole lot more.
Then wed move on to the pasta course, stuffing ourselves with whatever colossal bowl of pasta that my mother or grandmother prepared for us. Now for most normal families, this would be the conclusion of an already gluttonous meal, with perhaps some fruit or a slice of cake to finish it off.
But not for us. Oh no. We were just getting started.
After the pasta course was over, wed take about an hour to relax, enjoy each others company, and sometimes pass out on the couch for a little while. The first two courses were just a warm-up, and this hour reprieve from eating was essential in order for us to fully appreciate the feast to come.
When it was time for the main course, despite how many times I had already been through this weekly feasting ritual, I could not help but be amazed by the sheer amount of food on the table.
Rack of lamb persillade. Lobster macaroni and cheese. Lemon roasted chicken. Stuffed artichokes. Mashed potatoes. Roasted asparagus. The list goes on and on.
What’s Your Strength Score?
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Enter Intermittent Fasting Lose Weight Eating Massive Meals
Intermittent fasting is a concept that has been around for a while, but really gained popularity in the bodybuilding community over the last few years because of a man named Martin Berkhan and his website LeanGains.
The basic idea is that you fast for a set period of time before you eat again, and in doing so, it makes it easier to put your body into a caloric deficit and lose weight.
There are many different types of intermittent fasting protocols. Some people choose to fast for one entire day each week. Others choose a set schedule for fasting on a daily basis. In Martin Berkhans LeanGains, you fast for 16 hours, say from 9pm 1pm, and then eat within the 8-hour window from 1pm 9pm.
So basically, with a LeanGains-style approach, youre just skipping breakfast and any snacks you may have in the morning, choosing to eat only in the afternoon and evening. For many people, this means eating only 2-3 meals per day.
Lets go back to our example of the guy who needs to eat 2200 calories per day to lose weight, but now, instead of having him eat 6 small meals per day, hes going to be eating only lunch, dinner, and a small snack. Because hes fasting in the mornings and splitting up the majority of his calories between 2 meals, he can now eat 1000 calories for lunch and 1000 calories for dinner, along with a 200 calorie snack mid-afternoon.
This meal consists of:
- 2 cups of penne pasta with tomato sauce
- 2 large pieces of Italian bread
How Much Weight Can You Lose On 1: 8 Diet
To lose weight on the 16:8 diet, its important to match the fasting with healthy eating and exercise. If done so correctly, theres a typical weight loss of around seven to 11 pounds over a ten week period. This is according to a review of 40 different studies published in Molecular and Cellular Endocrincology who found that on average, someone weighing just over 90kg would lose 5% of their total body weight in the ten week period.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Healthy Eating revealed that the 16:8 diet plan can help people lose weight, without having to count calories as the 8-hour fast produces the same kind of calorific restriction and weight loss.
However, whether theres a distinct weight loss advantage achieved on the 16:8 diet compared to other diets remains to be seen. Some studies have demonstrated that theres almost no difference between people who do intermittent fasting compared those who count calories and cut back on unhealthy food.
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What Breaks A Fast
When most people hear the word fasting, it is not uncommon to quickly assume that it is for religious purposes even though there are scientifically proven benefits of fasting outside spiritual gains. Whether for religious purposes or not, it is simply the controlled consumption of food. For anyone intending to embark on one, what breaks a fast is one of the first things they want to be sure of. Although answers to this can be confusing for someone who does not have adequate information, it is important to note that the answer to this will vary depending on the type of fasting you are following and for what purpose .
Apart from religious purposes, people engage in fasting for various reasons. Weight loss, a possible cure for diabetes, fitness, mental alertness are just a few of the plenty of claimed benefits of intermittent fasting. When people dont eat, a lot of things are involved from burning of excess fat stored in the body to an intense feeling of weakness when the whole energy has been depleted to the barest. Among several misconceptions, some people think that taking anything like water during a fast signifies the end of it. This is, however, not totally true as there are substances you can consume without breaking it .
Intermittent Fasting: What Breaks A Fast On Keto
A keto diet is a kind of fasting that aims at achieving some of the weight loss goals as the intermittent fasting. The keto diet involves the consumption of low-calorie food and drinks. While you depend mostly on calories from fat, others are sourced from a moderate intake of protein and partial or total abstinence from carbs . By implication, when you are on this diet, you are expected to abstain from high-calorie food and drinks such as high carb proteins, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, and soda. While keto diet aims at reducing the total intake of calories in meals, intermittent fasting focuses more on structuring how much you can eat at a time.
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Ive Made The Decision To Fast So How Long Should I Fast For
There arent any studies right now that state exactly how long one should fast. Researchers, like Dr. Peterson, are working on that. The minimum amount of time it takes to make fasting efficacious hasnt been proven via study, but the prevailing notion is its somewhere between 12 and 18 hours. But it can take a few days sometimes weeks of fasting regularly for your body to start burning fat for fuel. Brooke Alpert, nutritionist and author of The Diet Detox, suggests starting by moving your last meal to around 7 p.m. She said the reason for this is our bodies are better at doing some things at certain times. Our bodies are better at processing sugar in the morning than at night, said Dr. Varady. So eat bigger meals in the morning, for example.
And how often do you have to do daily intermittent fasting to see the benefit? Again, there hasnt been a study thats shown exactly how many days you need to fast, but a recent study in rodents showed they get about the same benefits fasting five days per week as they did fasting every day. The great thing is that were learning is that this type of fasting isnt all or nothing, said Dr. Peterson.
The Unexpected Benefit No One Talks About
Lost amid the talk of IF’s various health benefits is a very real secondary perk: saving money. When you cut your diet down to one or two meals per day, your food costs drop accordingly. It’s impossible to say exactly how much you stand to save, because it depends on how often you dine out, what you buy at the grocery store and so on.
But even if your total food expenses drop by just 25%, that’s a huge difference. Suppose you typically spend, say, $100 per week on food. If you subtract the cost of seven meals per week, that might realistically lower your expense to $70. Over the course of one month, you’d save $120. Over one year, $1,440.
That’s a vacation. A down payment on a new car. And there’s a bigger-picture benefit as well: You’re lowering your impact on the planet. Imagine if entire populations switched to two meals a day from three. We could get by on fewer crops and animals, which in turn would reduce overall water consumption. Maybe that’s a bit of pie-in-the-sky thinking, but there’s truth to it.
I mention all this because after I started IF, I noticed I was spending less on food. And then I started thinking about the external benefits of less food consumption, and that made me feel even better about it. Eat less, help the planet. Win-win!
More recently, I realized it also means fewer trips to the grocery store and carry-out restaurants, meaning less chance of exposure to the coronavirus.
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Coffee Was My Best Friend
I’ve been a coffee drinker since high school. It’s always helped curb my hunger in the mornings, but only until my 10:30 a.m. snack time rolls around. I sip the stuff pretty slowly , so when morning food was off limits, I poured myself an extra dose and kept sipping until I could eat. Coffee is allowed during fasting periods as long as it’s zero-calorie, but I’m not a fan of black coffee because it’s so bitter, so I added a splash of vanilla almond milk to my cuppa. Some call that cheating, but I call it a modification.
How To Get Started With Intermittent Fasting
There are two schools of thought with regard to how to structure your fasts. The first is fairly different from what’s described above it’s commonly known as 5:2, meaning you eat normally for five days of the week and fast for two. That may work for some, but two days of virtual starvation doesn’t sound very appealing.
I prefer the daily method: Fast for at least 16 hours per day. The aforementioned New England Journal of Medicine study was based on an 18:6 structure: 18-hour fast, six-hour window.
“16:8 is a great place to start,” Stephens says, “but it may not be a weight-loss window for many people. That’s because fat-burning ramps up between hours 18 and 24 of the fast. 19:5 was a great weight-loss sweet spot for me, and I lost at about a pound per week when doing it. With 19:5, you fast for 19 hours a day and have an eating window of five hours. Your sweet spot may be different from mine, of course. Maybe it will be 18:6 or 20:4.” Experimentation is key, she adds.
Before you embark on this journey, I recommend reading CNET writer Caroline Roberts’ guide to doing intermittent fasting safely.
If your eating window doesn’t include breakfast, you can still drink coffee as long as it’s black and unsweetened.
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Final Thoughts About The Foods To Eat And Avoid On 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
As you can see from all mentioned above there are many foods to eat on 16/8 intermittent fasting.
You can eat fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats. Also, from the drinks, you can choose water, tea, coffee, herbal teas, mineral water, bone broth.
Always avoid processed foods, junk food, and drinks with sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Be prepared when your 16 hour fasting period ends, make yourself a smoothie, or pick dried fruits to break your fast. Always go for easily digestible foods to break your fast.
Healthy eating during intermittent fasting is the key to preventing nutritional deficiencies. As with any other eating pattern you should be aware of the possible side effects of IF.
Learn more about the intermittent fasting side effects here!
If you are new to intermittent fasting and never tried it before it is always good to consult with your doctor or nutritionist before starting.
They know what is best for you and is the intermittent fasting right choice for you!
Best Time To Eat Intermittent Fasting
As stressed out in the previous points, your daily routine will determine the best time to eat when intermittent fasting.
For the following reasons, in my opinion, the evening is the best time to eat when intermittent fasting:
- Work is over
- There is time to prepare quality food
- You can dine with your family
- You could exercise in a fasted state
- Now your body wants to rest and grow
- And you can finish off the day relaxed
Improved mental focus is one of the main practical benefits of intermittent fasting. With the largest meal of the day, focus fades away, and the body relaxes. Therefore it only makes sense not to have planned any mental or physical exertion afterward.
When I want to exploit the mental clarity of fasting to get things done, I often extend the fasting period.
As a result, I am on one meal a day schedule. So I get more things done while only cooking once and finishing earlier.
Since a single meal per day is larger, the evening or late afternoon is the best time to eat during intermittent fasting when leveraging its flexibility.
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