Obesity And The Need For Intermittent Fasting
With the rise of obesity worldwide, the World Population review says countries like the USA, UK, and newcomers from the middle east like Kuwait and UAE are currently among the most overweight countries on earth. Many doctors and health experts blame this due to fast food, binge eating, lack of walking, and other exercises. With fast-food chains readily becoming available at every other corner and healthier alternatives lacking, people tend to look for quick high calories and high carbohydrate meal on a day-to-day basis.
Works Well With A Nutritious Whole Foods Diet
Because intermittent fasting is focused more on when rather than what you eat, its generally easy to implement in conjunction with your current diet.
You wont necessarily need to buy any special foods or diverge much from what you typically eat.
If youre already content with the state of your current diet but looking for other ways to continue boosting your overall health, fasting might be something you want to explore.
For example, intermittent fasting might work particularly well for someone who wants to pair it with a resistance training program and a high protein diet .
Still, this isnt meant to imply that what you eat doesnt matter. Theres no doubt that youll reap the most benefits from intermittent fasting by eating a variety of nutritious foods and limiting ultra-processed foods during your eating window.
Intermittent fasting is often used to manage weight and metabolic health. The eating routine might help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood fat levels. For some people, it also works as part of a healthy long-term diet pattern.
Your Intermittent Fasting Meal Structure
This is an important section and stumps a lot of people when first starting IF.
Dont spend too much time and energy on this part.
Test one method and stick with it for a week.
If it doesnt work, try something else for a week.
Keep doing this until something sticks.
That being said, lets go over it a bit more in detail.
How many meals do you want to eat per day?
The calculator shouldve already given you your macros and calories per meal and per day.
If you havent done that yet, go ahead and do that now.
That being said, the calculator doesnt give you EVERY option that is possible.
You could have 2 big meals and 2 smaller snacks if you wanted.
Heres what I like to do:
- 1 small snack before my workout that is anywhere from 200-400 calories
- This is usually a cliff bar for me.
A cliff bar is 260 calories.
My calories are around 2250 per day based on my body weight and that Im trying to lose body fat. Basically Im improving my body composition
So, 2250 cliff bar = 1990 calories left.
I divide the 1990 calories into 3 meals.
I hope that makes sense!
However, lets go over some general meal plans:
Recommended Reading: What Does Fasting Do Spiritually
What Are Macros How Do I Use Them And What Can I Eat While Intermittent Fasting
Ive mentioned macros a couple of times in this article and you may be wondering, What is a macro?
Its time to deep dive into macros and answer that very question because, if youre trying to lose weight, counting your macros is an essential tool to help you reach your goals.
Macros is short for macronutrients these are the basic components that make up all the food you eat and help you create energy. There are three macros:
Your body uses different macros for different purposes. Protein is primarily used to build muscle, while both fat and carbs can be used as energy sources.
To start counting macros, you need to have a basic understanding of your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE. This tells you the total number of calories you burn in a day, and it takes into account things like your age, gender, current weight, activity level, and exercise intensity.
If youre trying to lose weight, youll want to eat fewer calories than your current TDEE. For example, you may want to start with a 20% calorie deficit.
Once you calculate your TDEE, you then apply the ratios of fat, protein, and carbs you should be eating based on your goals. Typical macro recommendations are as follows:
- Carbs: 45-65% of total calories
- Fats: 20-35% of total calories
- Proteins: 10-35% of total calories
Not sure how to calculate your TDEE? Keep reading for more information on Eat This Much an easy tool that takes out all the guesswork.
Should I Be Counting Macros
Counting macros absolutely works for some people, providing structure in eating specific amounts of each macronutrient. It could be a helpful method when trying to understand portion sizes and the makeup of meals. However, proper nutrition also needs to embrace nourishment, and extends far beyond just macronutrient distribution. You can be hitting your macro numbers every single day, but that doesnt equate to health.
For optimal health both mentally and physically, it is best to look at the whole picture beyond just macros. Finding a balance that allows you to consume foods you enjoy while emphasizing healthy meal patterns. It is best to work with a dietitian who can guide you along your nutrition journey and develop the best plan together to meet your personal goals and nutrition needs.
Article by Nicole Legler RD, Eleat Nutrition Intern
You May Like: Does Intermittent Fasting Really Work For Weight Loss
Fasting & Your Metabolism
I know you must be thinking, But Zach, if I fast for 16-20 hours, what will happen to my metabolism! Shouldnt I be eating every 2-3 hours in order to keep my metabolism going!? Gotta fuel the fire!
The theory goes that if you eat small meals all day long, you are fueling your metabolism thus you will burn more calories that way! You Bro Science Alarm shouldnt going off right now! Let go into why this metabolism humbo jumbo is just not the case.
Whether you eat 2500 calories spread throughout the day or 2500 calories in a small eating window, your body will burn the same amount of calories processing that food. This is called the Thermic Effect of Food .
When we ingest a certain amount of calories, our bodies will burn about 10% of the size of the meal in calories digesting it.
- So if I eat a meal that is 500 calories, then my body will burn 50 calories processing that meal.
- And if I eat a meal that is 2000 calories, my body will burn 200 calories digesting that meal.
- So if I eat 4 individual meals of 500 calories each, I will burn 50 calories each meal. So that is 50 x 4 = 200 calories of TEF
- So your TEF is the same for the four smalls meals as it would be for the one huge meal of 2000 calories!
The Optimal Approach To Omad Macros And Calories
Though you dont necessarily count calories on OMAD, the type of calories is extremely important. Selecting fatty whole foods mostly from animal sources will provide the optimal fuel for your body, leave you satiated during the fasting period, and protect against consuming too few calories.
Lets explore more closely what OMAD calories and OMAD macros look like in practice.
Don’t Miss: Can I Drink Alcohol While Intermittent Fasting
Higher Amounts Of Energy
If you make sure that youre eating natural whole foods and hitting the correct ratio of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats during your feeding period, your body will have the correct type of fuel in it to provide the proper amount of energy during your fasting period.
A lot of people dont eat the correct food while intermittent fasting and have a hard time working out or staying focused while at work.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Affect Your Metabolism
Research has shown that the effect of intermittent fasting on your metabolism isnt as pronounced as we thought, but this doesnt mean it isnt working.
There is actually a higher percentage of actual fat loss while fasting and a higher preserve of lean muscle mass.
This means that when done correctly you have the opportunity to target excess fat reserves while keeping your muscle. That sounds like the perfect outcome to me.
You just have to be sure that youre eating the correct amount of calories, being in to much of a calorie deficit will tell your body to find energy in other ways which will lead it to absolve lean muscle.
Also Check: How To Implement Intermittent Fasting
If Its Causing Stress Or Anxiety
If youre experiencing higher levels of stress or anxiety since you started intermittent fasting then you may be fighting a losing battle.
When youre stressed your body will produce cortisol which will make your body store, and retain higher levels of fat.
The entire reason youre fasting is to lose weight not gain it, so if youre seeing yourself feeling more stressed then try different fasting periods to see if you can change it, if you cant then you may have to try something else.
Hair loss and missed periods
People have a hard time fitting all of their calories into a shorter feeding window, and sometimes this leads to a high-calorie deficit, that can cause hair loss or abnormal menstrual cycling.
This normally takes a while to happen, just make sure you know how many calories you should be eating daily, and that youre hitting that goal.
Should You Count Macros While Intermittent Fasting
Should you count macros while intermittent fasting?
Overall, yes you should count macros while intermittent fasting.
But dont worry it is not as daunting as it seems even if you are a beginner. And you definitely dont need to keep tracking macros everyday forever.
In fact no matter method of diet or eating plan you are following it is a good idea to count macros.
This way you can stay on track and pretty much ensure you are getting weight loss results consistently.
Counting macros while intermittent fasting can be extremely helpful.
But dont worry in this post we look more into the question of, should you count macros while intermittent fasting.
We look at why it is a good idea to count macros while intermittent fasting, especially when starting out.
But also we discuss why you dont need to become overly obsessed with macros.
You do not need to be weighing out your foods like a professional bodybuilder and prepping meals for the week and carrying them around in Tupperware containers.
But first lets look at what exactly Macros are and why they do matter for intermittent fasting or any other eating system for weight loss.
Recommended Reading: How To Make Intermittent Fasting Easier
Intermittent Fasting No Better For Weight Loss Than Just Counting Calories
In one of the longest trials of its type ever conducted researchers have found limiting food intake to a short period of time every day is no more effective a dietary strategy than simple calorie counting. The year-long experiment ultimately found calorie restriction to be the most important part of any weight loss plan.
Over the last decade fasting diets have increased in popularity, with advocates claiming they are the most effective way to lose weight and improve metabolic health. This dietary strategy can take a variety of forms, from alternate-day fasting to time-restricted feeding .
This new research focused specifically on a type of time-restricted feeding informally known as the 16:8 diet, which involves limiting all food intake to an eight-hour period every day. In this case the trial limited its fasting cohort to eating only between 8 am and 4 pm.
The trial recruited 139 subjects, all either overweight or obese but otherwise healthy. The cohort was randomly split into two groups: one group tasked with a time-restricted feeding strategy and another that could eat at any time. Both groups were required to limit their caloric intake each day: men no more than 1,800 calories and women no more than 1,500 calories. The trial lasted 12 months.
No More Going To Bed Hungry
I don’t know about you, but I love to watch Netflix before I go to bed. However, this would lead to me overeating every day. I would eat perfectly all day, then nighttime would come, and as I would binge watch something on Netflix, I’d consume an entire bag of chips, purely out of boredom. Every morning, I’d wake up, guilt-ridden that I blew my whole diet the day before because of the chips or pretzels. Intermittent fasting has been a lifesaver with this issue. I eat up until I go to bed, so as I’m watching Netflix, I’m still reaching my macros. No more munchies!
You May Like: Free Intermittent Fasting Diet App
Doesnt Account For Food Quality
As mentioned, this way of eating allows you to consume any food, as long as it fits within your macros. With that being said, you may consume foods that may be lower quality, highly processed, or contain empty calories that wont keep you feeling full and satisfied. Food choices shouldnt be just about their macronutrient content, and low quality foods may negatively impact your health over time.
The 3 Types Of Intermittent Fasting Compared
Fasting for five days with juice will just leave you cranky and hungry. But fasting for 16-24 hours throughout the week? Thatll leave you energized and leaner.
Intermittent fasting, as this diet method is known, is just as effective as daily calorie restriction for improving body composition, according to a 2017 study analysis from the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Unlike calorie restriction, though, intermittent fasting doesnt require you to count calories all the timeand its better at preventing hunger.
Furthermore, intermittent fasting is especially good at helping you lose fat while maintaining muscle, rather than losing both , says Krista Varady, Ph.D., an associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago and key researcher on intermittent fasting. According to a study analysis in Nutrition Reviews, intermittent fasting also helps improve total cholesterol and triglyceride levels in both overweight and normal-weight people. The best part: Theres virtually no downside.
There are three types of intermittent fasting: whole-day fasting, alternate-day fasting, and time-restricted feeding.
Youll see the same benefits from eachthat is, losing fat without losing musclebut, since each type incorporates a different fasting period and fasting frequency, some are better-suited to certain guys and fitness lifestyles.
Interested? Here are the three types of intermittent fasting, and whether each is right for you.
Don’t Miss: Does Intermittent Fasting Help Burn Fat
Is Macro Tracking Beneficial During Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting does not influence the ratio of macronutrients you eat. It just narrows the time window that allows you to do so.
If you are on a lean bulk macro tracking, intermittent fasting will not alter this process. You just have to do the eating in a shorter period of time.
On the other hand, if you are looking to cut, intermittent fasting might be helpful since it keeps you satiated for a longer time and suppresses feelings of hunger.
However, tracking your macro could be complicated. And doing so while starting the intermitting fasting diet may overwhelm you. Therefore, macro tracking is only recommended for individuals already comfortable with the whole thing.
If you have tracked your macros before and you feel comfortable with the concept, you could do that when following the intermittent fasting diet.
What Is The 1: 8 Diet
The 16:8 diet is a form of intermittent fasting where you break the day into two parts: a 16-hour fasting period and an 8-hour period where you consume all your calories.
The 16:8 stems from the 8-Hour Diet book by author David Zinczenko and Peter Moore , former editor-in-chief of Men’s Health. The two created the plan off the back of the popular 5:2 diet, with the main difference being the longer fasting time between eating sessions. This, they say, gives the body the time it needs to process food and burn away extra fat.
The 8-Hour Diet by David Zinczenko and Peter Moore –
Suzie Sawyer , founder of Nutrition Lifestyle, says, “There are no restrictions on the types or amounts of food that a person can eat during the 8-hour window. This flexibility makes the plan relatively easy to follow.”
Don’t Miss: How Long After Fasting Does Ketosis Start
What Is A Caloric Deficit Why Is It Important For Weight Loss
So if you are able to consume calories at a level below your BMR, or the rate at which your body burns up calories doing nothing at all you will lose weight.
Consuming calories at a level below your BRM is the definition of a caloric deficit.
You need to consume calories below your maintenance level consistently over weeks and months in order to see results.
But quite simply this is how you lose weight.
Whether you intermittent fast, do Keto, Carb cycling, Atkins, Mediterranean Diet or any other method you still need to consume calories at a level below your BMR in order to lose weight.
Exercise can also play a very useful role.
This because exercise burns up calories so you can get into a caloric deficit by also adding in regular exercise.
But even without exercise you can still lose weight by getting into a caloric deficit and staying in that deficit consistently.