What Do People Mean By Intermittent Fasting
Most often, intermittent fasting refers to short-term, daily fasting.
In other words, its shortening your eating window on a daily basis. That means youd be fasting less than 24 hours.
While I think thats the most common usage, some people use it differently.
For example, IF can also refer to fasting in the 24-48 hour range, or occasionally even longer.
Unfortunately, theres really no consistency, so you just have to pay attention to the context.
Frequently Asked Questions Concerns And Complaints
Im a woman. Should I do anything differently?
I havent worked with women on implementing an intermittent fasting schedule, so I cant speak from experience on this one.
That said, I have heard that women may find a wider window of eating to be more favorable when doing daily intermittent fasting. While men will typically fast for 16 hours and then eat for 8 hours, women may find better results by eating for 10 hours and fasting for 14 hours. The best advice I can give anyone, not just women, is to experiment and see what works best for you. Your body will give you signals. Follow what your body responds favorably to.
Also, if youre a female, there is an allfemale page on Facebook that discusses intermittent fasting. Im sure you could find a ton of great answers and support there.
I could never skip breakfast. How do you do it?
I dont. Breakfast foods are my favorite, so I just eat them at 1pm each day.
Also, if you eat a big dinner the night before, I think youll be surprised by how much energy you have in the morning. Most of the worries or concerns that people have about intermittent fasting are due to the fact that they have had it pounded into them by companies that they need to eat breakfast or they need to eat every three hours and so on. The science doesnt support it and neither do my personal experiences.
I thought you were supposed to eat every 3 hours?
Here’s why this was a popular idea for a brief period of time:
Here’s the problem:
Other Names For Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting can also be called time-restricted eating . This refers to the fact that you eat all your food for the day in a shorter window of time. I prefer this term.
Occasionally youll also hear time-restricted feeding . This means the same thing as TRE, but usually in the context of animal studies.
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Is There Anyone That Should Not Do Intermittent Fasting
Maybe, maybe not.
Keep in mind, were talking about daily time-restricted eating . Were not talking about fasting for a week, or even a whole day in most cases.
That means you can eat just as much as you normally would. But in a shorter window of time.
When you look at it through that lens, even some of the people who would typically be advised not to fast, would probably be fine doing TRE.
For example, if somebody is skinny and kind of underweight, most people would probably tell them not to fast. But if they make sure to eat plenty of food during their eating window, theyd probably be fine doing TRE .
How about Pregnant Women?
Typically, pregnant women are told not to do even short-term daily fasting. But thats not because it would necessarily be bad for them, its just because we dont have enough research to say one way or the other.
At a conference earlier this year, I met a pregnant woman who was doing TRE every day. And it was working great for her.
Keep in mind that many pregnant women have high blood sugar, and can easily develop diabetes during and after pregnancy. High blood sugar is definitely not good for the fetus! So something like TRE that helps control blood sugar could be helpful.
Im certainly not saying every pregnant woman needs to do time-restricted eating. But theres a good chance that if we thoroughly researched it, we would find that gentle TRE is beneficial for pregnant women.
Thats probably not a bad thing, even for kids.
The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Fat loss is great, but it isn’t the only benefit of fasting.
1. Intermittent fasting makes your day simpler.
I’m big on behavior change, simplicity, and reducing stress. Intermittent fasting provides additional simplicity to my life that I really enjoy. When I wake up, I don’t worry about breakfast. I just grab a glass of water and start my day.
I enjoy eating and I don’t mind cooking, so eating three meals a day was never a hassle for me. However, intermittent fasting allows me to eat one less meal, which also means planning one less meal, cooking one less meal, and stressing about one less meal. It makes life a bit simpler and I like that.
2. Intermittent fasting helps you live longer.
Scientists have long known that restricting calories is a way of lengthening life. From a logical standpoint, this makes sense. When youre starving, your body finds ways to extend your life.
Theres just one problem: who wants to starve themselves in the name of living longer?
I dont know about you, but Im interested in enjoying a long life. Starving myself doesnt sound that appetizing.
The good news is that intermittent fasting activates many of the same mechanisms for extending life as calorie restriction. In other words, you get the benefits of a longer life without the hassle of starving.
Way back in 1945 it was discovered that intermittent fasting extended life in mice. More recently, this study found that alternate day intermittent fasting led to longer lifespans.
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Fasting For Weight Loss
If youre trying to lose weight, fasting can be an effective tool. Its an easy way to control the amount of food you eat, and youll have more time to be active. Plus, combining fasting with a high fat, low-carb diet can further enhance your efforts to reduce your body fat levels and reach your body composition goal.
How I Define Intermittent Fasting
For simplicity, I usually define intermittent fasting as anything less than 24 hours.
I think thats the easiest to remember, and fits the way most people use the phrase. It also makes it easy to contrast with longer, multi-day fasts.
Youll run into other definitions elsewhere, so be alert.
But for the purposes of this article , Ill try to stick with the 24-hour definition.
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Have I Noticed Any Downside To Intermittent Fasting
Honestly, not really.
I guess if your friend wants to go out for breakfast and you usually dont start eating till 10 a.m., that could be a little bit inconvenient. And stuff like that happens now and then.
But I can be flexible. I dont adhere to a daily fasting schedule religiously I can take a break now and then, and still get plenty of benefits .
So if theres something social going on, I dont mind adjusting my schedule a little bit.
Other than minor scheduling issues like that, I dont really know of any disadvantages.
Basically intermittent fasting is a convenient, easy, and inexpensive way to keep my health generally moving in the right direction.
A Low Carb Diet May Cause Irregular Menstrual Cycles Or Amenorrhea In Some Women
If your diet is very restrictive, you may experience irregular menstrual cycles or amenorrhea.
Amenorrhea is defined as the absence of a menstrual cycle for 3 months or more.
The most common cause of amenorrhea is functional hypothalamic amenorrhea, which can result from a very low calorie diet, disordered eating, losing weight, experiencing stress, or getting too much exercise. Restricting carbs could contribute to some of these causes .
Amenorrhea occurs as a result of the drop in levels of many hormones, such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which starts the menstrual cycle .
This results in a domino effect, causing a drop in the levels of other hormones such as luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone .
These changes can slow some functions in the hypothalamus, the region of the brain responsible for hormone release.
A low level of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells, is another potential cause of amenorrhea and irregular menstruation. Research suggests that women need a certain level of leptin to maintain normal menstrual function .
If your carb or calorie consumption is too low, it may suppress your leptin levels and interfere with leptins ability to regulate your reproductive hormones. This is particularly true for underweight or lean women on a low carb diet.
Following a very low carb diet over a long period of time may cause irregular menstrual cycles or amenorrhea.
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Complete Guide To Intermittent Fasting
- 16 Jun, 2020
If you are looking for a weight loss diet plan for rapid results, intermittent fasting has been proven to be the most effective and popular fitness and weight loss procedures. There are many celebrities who have incorporated intermittent in their daily lives to maintain a goal weight.
The concept of fasting is not new it is just the modern generation that has given it a fancy name. In older times fasting was actually a method to keep you healthy. It helps your body to remove the toxic substances from the stomach and prevents any digestion related problem.
Research has also been done on intermittent fasting it has shown very strong results that it can have very positive effects on your brain. It will also help you live a longer and peaceful life.
There are certain things which differ from keto diet but it also has the same objective, to take the body to ketosis.So lets begin with the basic knowledge of the intermittent fasting.
This is most likely considered to be the dieting pattern just like any other diet plan but basically it is about how your eating pattern must be. It defines you the cycles between the periods of fasting and eating. Unlike keto diet it will not restrict your eating habit.
It will help you to reduce your belly weight in a hustle free manner. You wont have to completely change your eating habits. Little limitations can make your intermittent fasting successful.
METHODS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
HOW TO BEGIN WITH
It May Help You Eat Less
Switching to intermittent fasting may naturally help you eat less.
One study found that young men ate 650 fewer calories per day when their food intake was restricted to a four-hour window .
Another study in 24 healthy men and women looked at the effects of a long, 36-hour fast on eating habits. Despite consuming extra calories on the post-fast day, participants dropped their total calorie balance by 1,900 calories, a significant reduction .
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What Does Intermittent Fasting Do
There are different mechanisms to account for the success of intermittent fasting.
First, skipping meals and cutting out snacking naturally reduces the amount of calories one eats during the day. Thats why it is important to try not to eat more during your eating window to make up for the missed meal. That would negate one of the main benefits of fasting!
The second potential reason for IFs success is its ability to lower insulin levels. Studies show that fasting tends to lower insulin levels, although it is not scientifically clear the extent to which lower insulin levels can directly explain better weight loss.
However, a 2020 study from Dr. Ethan Weiss and colleagues created some doubt about whether short fasts of 16 hours, in the absence of any other dietary modification, can lead to improved weight loss and metabolic health. The studys authors concluded that time restricted eating was no better than eating throughout the day for weight loss.
We wrote about this study, noting that the fasting group did not reduce caloric intake, which puts it at odds with other studies that have suggested at least part of the benefit of fasting comes from reduced caloric intake.
But even though human data on longevity are lacking, the other benefits of IF and its ease of use likely make it worth a try.
Intermittent Fasting Is Not Enough To Keep You In Ketosis
The 16/8 fasting window may not be enough to get you into or keep you in ketosis. Even if you do end up in ketosis, if you continue to eat a diet with even a moderate amount of carbs itll probably kick you out of ketosis each time.
This can result in unpleasant side effects such as the keto flu and being overly hungry each time you start fasting again.
What Is Intermittent Fasting 16/8
Intermittent fasting , also known as time-restricted feeding, means eating within a specific daily window of time and fasting outside of that window .
There are several different types of intermittent fasting, but the 16/8 method is the most popular because its the easiest.
Doing an 16/8 intermittent fast means that you fast for 16 hours and eat only within an eight-hour window throughout the day, such as from noon to 8 p.m.
The easiest approach is to skip breakfast and have your first meal later in the day. For example, if you finish dinner by 8 p.m., you wouldnt eat again until midday the next day.
Keep in mind 16/8 intermittent fasting is only one approach. The windows can vary based on what works for you. While some people might only eat within the same eight hours a day, others might only eat within a six-hour window or four-hour window .
Other Plans Besides Intermittent Fasting : 4 For Beginners
If youre new to intermittent fasting, it involves eating during a window of time and fasting the other part of the day. Quite oftenbecause it makes the most senseparticipants schedule their fasting window while sleeping. After all, its hard to be tempted by food while you are snoozing for six to eight hours.
If youre curious about the numbers, 20 4 intermittent fasting means fasting for 20 hours while eating for four hours. Please note that doesnt mean that you eat the entire four-hour time period. It simply involves being able to eat within that time frame.
That being said, there are recommended plans for those who are just starting with intermittent fasting. We suggest starting from the top and working your endurance down to the bottom for time-centric intermittent fasting.
- 14/10 – This plan involves 10 hours of eating with a 14-hour fasting window.
- 16/8 – This is one of the most popular methods for beginners, where participants fast for 16 hours and consume for eight.
- 18/6 – Another popular plan, this schedule has a six-hour window for eating.
When you are building endurance, you can do intermediate steps. For example, when considering intermittent fasting 16/8 vs 20/4 fasting, you can build up your tolerance over time. Start with 16/8, move to 17/7, then to 18/6, and go hour by hour until you build up to an intermittent fasting 20/4 schedule.
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How The 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Diet Works
Like exercise, restricting calories is a helpful metabolic stressor. Eating within a certain time frame pushes your body in a different metabolic direction than if you were eating all the time.
Intermittent fasting can cause autophagy, which is a crucial defense mechanism against malignancy, infection, and neurodegenerative diseases. Its basically your bodys way of cleaning out cells that arent performing at their best.
Research finds short-term fasting is an effective way of starting neuronal autophagy , therefore protecting your brain against neurodegenerative diseases.
Intermittent fasting also triggers a beneficial metabolic reaction that includes:
- A decrease in inflammatory markers
- Reduced blood glucose levels and insulin
- An increase in the neurotrophin BDNF
These are powerful changes that can lead to several health improvements.
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Intermittent Fasting May Affect Men And Women Differently
There is some evidence that intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for some women as it is for men.
One study showed that blood sugar control actually worsened in women after three weeks of intermittent fasting, which was not the case in men .
There are also many anecdotal stories of women who have experienced changes to their menstrual cycles after starting intermittent fasting.
Such shifts occur because female bodies are extremely sensitive to calorie restriction.
When calorie intake is low such as from fasting for too long or too frequently a small part of the brain called the hypothalamus is affected.
This can disrupt the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone , a hormone that helps release two reproductive hormones: luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone (
For these reasons, women should consider a modified approach to intermittent fasting, such as shorter fasting periods and fewer fasting days.
Intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for women as it is for men. To reduce any adverse effects, women should take a mild approach to fasting: shorter fasts and fewer fasting days.
Intermittent fasting not only benefits your waistline but may also lower your risk of developing a number of chronic diseases.
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Does Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight
Short answer: probably. While there are many benefits of intermittent fasting, one of the most strongly established perks for a variety of IF plans is weight loss.
In fact, alternate-day fasting has been shown to be as effective as traditional calorie restriction diets, while being better at preserving muscle mass and a systematic review of 40 studies on IF for weight loss reported an impressive average weight loss of 7-11 pounds over 10 weeks.
There are a variety of possible reasons for this weight loss benefit. For one, periods of fasting have been shown to reduce insulin levels, which may push you into a ketogenic state where you start to burn stored fat for fuel.
This can help stabilize blood sugar and have an appetite suppressing effect. Tapping into your fat stores while fasting can also make your metabolism more flexible, says Eva Shelub, M.D., meaning, you can more easily switch between burning glucose and fat for fuel. The longer the fasting period, the more the body will eventually revert to lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat to fatty acids to use for fuel, she says.
Additionally, intermittent fasting may simply help you eat fewer calories.
Studies show that people who intermittent fast unintentionally decrease total daily caloric intake by 300-400 calories, depending on how big the fasting window.
But, as youll learn in the next section, the health benefits of intermittent fasting extend well beyond weight loss.