Isnt Fasting The Same As Reducing Calories
No, not necessarily. Fasting can reduce the time you spend eating and primarily addresses the question of when to eat.62 Calorie reduction addresses the question of what and how much to eat. They are separate issues and should not be confused with each other.
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You’re Probably Doing Intermittent Fasting The Wrong Wayhere’s Why
The concept of intermittent fasting seems fairly straightforward. You abstain from eating in intervalssomewhere between 16 or 20 hours a dayor heavily restrict your intake and eat a very low-calorie diet a couple days a week. There are also some IF followers who eat just one meal a day .
Theres quite a bit of research proving that IF works for weight lossand improves things like blood sugar control and cholesterol, which are markers for chronic diseases. Some studies have even found that IF may boost peoples energy and help them sleep better.
The Utter Simplicity Of Intermittent Fasting
Most of us eat throughout the day, starting with breakfast when we wake up and perhaps ending with a dessert or snack after dinner. If you have breakfast at 7 a.m. and a final snack at 8 p.m., you’re consuming food for 13 hours that’s your current “eating window.” The idea behind IF is simply to shorten that window — not necessarily to eat less , but to eat less often.
For example, most experts agree that you can start to experience IF benefits with an eight-hour eating window, meaning a 16-hour fast. So you could have lunch at noon and still finish your snack by 8 p.m. That’s it. If you can stick to that, it may be enough to produce results.
But, wait: Isn’t that just skipping breakfast? And haven’t we heard for years that skipping breakfast actually leads to weight gain? Yes and yes. However, IF requires a “clean” fast to be effective , and once you get accustomed to it, your appetite should correct so that you no longer overeat once your window opens.
Here’s what I love about this: It costs nothing. It requires nothing. You don’t have to buy books or gear or supplements or meals. You just adapt yourself to a slightly different way of eating and that’s it. The simplicity — and affordability — of IF is what drew me to it.
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How Much Weight Can You Lose On : 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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Safety And Side Effects
Hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting.
You may also feel weak and your brain may not perform as well as youre used to.
This may only be temporary, as it can take some time for your body to adapt to the new meal schedule.
If you have a medical condition, you should consult with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting.
This is particularly important if you:
- Have diabetes.
- Have a history of eating disorders.
- Are a woman who is trying to conceive.
- Are a woman with a history of amenorrhea.
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
All that being said, intermittent fasting has an outstanding safety profile. There is nothing dangerous about not eating for a while if youre healthy and well-nourished overall.
The most common side effect of intermittent fasting is hunger. People with certain medical conditions should not fast without consulting with a doctor first.
Here are answers to the most common questions about intermittent fasting.
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Main Rules Of The Intermittent Fasting 14/10
So, you may, or may have not heard about the 16:8 fasting. It is an eating pattern where you are allowed to eat during an 8-hour period and must only consume water for the rest of 16 hours each day. The intermittent fasting 14/10 is very similar to that type, only here you are allowed to eat whatever you want during a 10-hour window. If you get up early, you can start eating at 7 AM, and then your last meal this day will have to be at 5 PM, followed by a fasting period which will end by 7 AM the next day.
You can also have your first meal at 8 AM or 9 AM, and then your dinner will have to be no later than 6 PM and 7 PM respectively. You can eat your usual meals during the 10-hour window, but you cant consume any calories during a 14-hour fast. However, you are allowed to drink unsweetened tea or coffee and of course, water.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work
There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting, but they are all based on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast. For instance, you might try eating only during an eight-hour period each day and fast for the remainder. Or you might choose to eat only one meal a day two days a week. There are many different intermittent fasting schedules.
Mattson says that after hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat. He refers to this as metabolic switching.
Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours, Mattson says. If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and theyre not exercising, then every time they eat, theyre running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.
Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.
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What Is Intermittent Fasting
Before we talk about what you can eat during a fast, lets first briefly explain what intermittent fasting is.
Simply put, intermittent fasting is, essentially, an eating pattern which involves alternating periods of little or no energy intake with intervening periods of normal food intake, on a recurring basis.
There are, generally, three different types of intermittent fasting according to research:
- Alternate day fasting , which involves a 24-hour fasting or very low calorie period, alternated with a 24-hour ad libitum eating period.
- Whole day fasting , which usually involves 1-2 days of fasting or very low calorie periods per week, with the remaining days of the week eating at maintenance.
- Time-restricted feeding , which involves a fasting period of 1620 hours and a feeding period of 48 hours daily, and includes the Leangains protocol by Martin Berkhan. This is probably the most popular of the three types of intermittent fasting.
An example of a TRF protocol is as follows: you may set your fasting period to be from 10 pm on one day until 4 pm on the following day. This gives you 18 hours of fasting and an eating window of 6 hours . This is known as the 18:6 protocol among those practicing intermittent fasting.
Other protocols are 14:10 , 16:8 , 20:4 and so on.
Which leads us to our next question.
You Dont Ease Into It
Skip breakfast. Skip lunch. And by 3 p.m. youre willing to eat your arm. If you normally eat every 34 hours and then suddenly shrink your eating period to an 8-hour window, youll likely feel hungry all the time and discouraged, according to Libby Mills, RD, a dietitian at Villanova Universitys College of Nursing.
Deciding to limit your eating hours may be motivated by weight loss. However, this represents an opportunity to reacquaint yourself with what your body is really feeling. We often are eating every 3-4 hours and not always because we are hungry. Plus, you dont have to fast all week. In fact, people who follow the 5:2 diet eat regular amounts of healthy food for 5 days, then flip the switch on the other 2 days, by reducing caloric intake. A study involving 107 overweight or obese women found that women who restricted calories twice weekly lost the same amount as those who continuously cut calories.
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Diet Plan: What Can You Eat And What Are The Benefits
You may have heard wonders about the 5:2 diet, but have you heard of the 16:8 diet yet?
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The 16:8 diet plan is one of the most popular ways to get into intermittent fasting, with big names like Jennifer Aniston and Hugh Jackman swearing by it.
Similar to the 5:2 diet plan – but not as restrictive – the 16:8 has been praised as a diet that works fast . Weve spoken to the experts to find out how it works and how you can use the diet in a healthy way, without risking extreme weight loss .
Clinical nutritionist Suzie Sawyer says this style of eating is very different to most of the other diets out there, and that’s why it works. “Intermittent fasting works by increasing the period when your body has burned through the calories eaten during your last meal and begins burning fat,” she explains. “If you are someone who eats three meals a day, plus snacks, and you don’t exercise much, then every time you eat, you are running on those calories and not burning your fat stores.”
But Is It Really Healthy To Fast For 16 Hours
For starters, this diet might be hard to maintain. Say goodbye to dinner parties and late-night dates. And god forbid a friend is late to that 5 p.m. dinner you scheduled.
It may be sustainable if you stick to the strict regimen, Warren says. However, this is difficult to maintain in real-life scenarios like social functions.
Halle Berry uses intermittent fasting as part of her diet routine. Here’s how:
Beyond the downer of not being able to go out for a late-night fancy dinner, in rare cases the 16:8 diet could potentially lead to disordered eating, too, notes Hunnes. For example, if youre someone who doesnt do well with long periods of fasting, you might follow a 16-hour fast with a binge or even start to prolong fasting periods longer than you should. Both would be signs that the diets not working for you and that it could progress to something more serious like an eating disorder, she says.
If you eat too late, you could also potentially interfere with the quality of your sleepso its best to eat earlier in the day, suggests Hunnes.
That said, two recent studies in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolismshow obese adults can stick to the 16:8 diet without developing or exacerbating body image issues, disordered eating patterns, or sleeping problems.
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Types Of Intermittent Fasting
There are several different approaches to IF, but they all focus on when you eat rather than what you eat.
Time-restricted eating involves alternating between eating and fasting windows. This is the most common approach, since it simply extends the period of fasting that you already go through when you sleep.
With 16/8 time-restricted eating, you can eat what you choose during an 8-hour window and fast for the other 16 hours. For example, you could eat between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and then fast from 5 p.m. until 9 a.m. the next day.
You can repeat this cycle daily or as often as youd like throughout the week. There are also 18/6 and 20/4 versions of time-restricted eating.
In a survey of ZOE participants who also do IF:
46% said they practiced the 16/8 method
21% followed an 18/6 pattern
8% followed a 20/4 method, which involves a 20-hour fasting window
Drink Black Coffee During The Fasting Period
It is said that drinking black coffee when youre not allowed to eat or during your fasting window, may fasten fat burn and weight loss. However, were not sure of the scientific veracity of this claim it is believed that drinking the beverage makes up for the fasting slump and curbs appetite, making it easier for the dieter to prolong their fast.
Intermittent Fasting for weight loss: Drinking black coffee may fasten fat burn and weight loss.
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Healthy Foods To Enjoy During Your Eating Window
Calories still count, and you should get the most nutrition possible from every calorie you eat. Ideally, you should eat the same types of healthy foods during IF that you would eat on any healthy diet. That means eating lots of vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, seafood, whole grains, dairy, and legumes.
While these food groups hold the key to your intermittent fasting success, some choices are still better than others.
Veggies Incorporate a lot of cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts into your diet. They have more fiber to aid in digestion, and they also help you feel fuller.
Beans & Legumes Black beans, chickpeas, and peas are not only good for increasing your energy but are also a good source of protein.
Fruits & Berries You want to avoid overloading on fruit since they contain a lot of natural sugar that interferes with insulin levels. Berries are a better choice because of the high nutrient and antioxidant content. Adding berries and nuts to salads will help you get a diversity of nutrition in a single delicious serving.
Nuts Nuts contain good fat and a lot of antioxidants. Although nutritious, they are also high in calories. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews are a great choice.
Seafood Seafood is packed with nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids. People who normally eat more Omega-3 reduce their risk of heart disease, dementia, and depression. Salmon, shrimp, and trout are some perfect nutrient-dense choices.
What To Eat To Break Your 16 Hour Fast
When it is time to break your fast it is best to start with smaller portions of food that are easily digested so you dont overwhelm your digestive system.
Nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest that contain protein and some healthy fats can break your fast more gently.
We know that you will be hungry after 16 hours of not eating but the worst thing to do here is to break your fast with processed or junk food that is full of fat, carbs, sugar, etc.
Always prepare something that is easily digestible and nutritious. Here are some foods that will help you to break your 16 hour fasting period:
Soups You will know what time your fasting ends. Prepare a soup that contains protein and easily digestible carbs, such as lentils, tofu. Avoid soups with heavy creams or large amounts of raw vegetables.
Smoothies Great option to introduce nutrients to your body since smoothies contain less fiber, than whole raw vegetables and fruits.
Dried fruits Apricots, raisins, dates. Dates are often used to break a fast. They are healthy, nutritious, and very sweet. Learn more about the benefits of dates here!
Fermented foods Kefir or yogurt are also good drinks to break a fast.
Avocados This fruit can be the first choice to eat after fasting for 16 hours.
So when you are ready to break your 16 hour fasting time and start eating first focus on easily tolerated foods that can help replenish important nutrients and electrolytes.
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Should I Eat Morning Or Night
It doesnt matter whether you eat in the morning or at night when intermittent fasting. However, in my experience, it is much easier to skip breakfast for the following reasons:
- Morning hunger is learned and can be unlearned
- The hormone release in the morning gives you power for the day
- Without breakfast, your focus at work will increase noticeably
- Dinner is usually the most crucial social pivot of a family
- You save time and can sleep longer
Over the decades, we have learned to be hungry in the morning. But this is not natural.
The body increases adrenaline, glucagon, growth hormone, and cortisol in the morning. For this reason, we wake up. Furthermore, this potent hormonal cocktail nourishes us with enough energy for the upcoming day.
Hence, the morning hunger disappears in just one or two weeks with the forced breakfast in my experience.
Nevertheless, you can also successfully do intermittent fasting if you skip dinner.
For example, if you sleep earlier, work longer, or cannot have dinner with your loved ones because of your daily working routine.