The Best Part About Intermittent Fasting
No food is “off limits” with IF, you can eat whatever you want during your window.
Gin Stephens is the author of Delay, Don’t Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. Those first three words of the book are the key to what makes this WOE worthwhile: You’re not denying yourself anything, you’re merely delaying it. You don’t have to give up, say, pizza because of the carbs or ice cream because of the sugar. You just have to wait until your window opens then you can eat what you want to eat. No, not the entire pizza or a whole pint of ice cream you still have to be reasonable. But there are no exclusions. And that’s incredibly liberating.
Think about nearly every other diet in history: Atkins, South Beach, paleo, keto. They all require you to either cut out certain things entirely or eat an excess of something else . The reason these diets typically fail is they’re not sustainable.
Stephens is fond of this saying: “‘Diets are easy in contemplation and hard in execution. Fasting is hard in contemplation but easy in execution.’ I absolutely love that quote, because it’s so true,” she says. “We’ve all started a new diet and we’re all in. Then, as the days go by, the diet gets harder and harder to stick to. Intermittent fasting is the exact opposite. Instead of getting harder and harder, it gets easier and easier.”
You Can Eat Bigger Meals
One of the first things you’ll notice when you start IF is that you can make your meals a little bigger than they normally are. This is because your body has been in fasting mode for 16 hours straight, so it’s ready for a hefty serving of food. I can’t think of a better time to put this into effect than Thanksgiving or the winter holidays! You walk into a party or family gathering with a growling stomach, and your body really needs the sustenance. So soak up all that good food!
Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
Social channels are filled with reports of significant weight loss using intermittent fasting. Studies show efficacy, too, but the reported weight loss is frequently much smaller.
One difficulty with assessing the scientific support for intermittent fasting for weight loss involves comparing different fasting protocols. For instance, some studies evaluate time-restricted eating with daily fasting windows ranging from 14 to 20 hours. Others investigate alternate-day fasting, while others focus on severe caloric restriction to mimic fasting physiology.
Another issue is factoring in the baseline diet followed by study subjects. Are many of them eating a high-carb standard Western diet? Or are they eating a low-carb, high-protein diet? The difference may matter as those eating low carb and/or high protein may find fasting easier, and thereby stick with it longer to see greater healthy weight loss benefits.
Despite the discrepancies, most fasting interventions show benefits for weight loss.
One meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials looking at time-restricted eating found an average weight loss of 4.4 pounds in up to 12 months.2 While the absolute weight loss may not be much, thats still pretty impressive considering that participants didnt change what they ate. They only changed when they ate.
So its safe to say that intermittent fasting has the potential to help people lose a little weight.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Impact The Body
Like many, I was attracted to intermittent fasting not only for the weight management advantages, but also for several other healthful aspects. It makes sense to me that if I am relentlessly consuming food at regular intervals breakfast, lunch, dinner and evening snacks I am giving my body a message that digesting food is a priority. Since digestion, especially of dietary fat, takes several hours, the body is actively engaged in the digestion process from breakfast early in the morning through evening snacks and many hours beyond.
As a result, the body gets only a minimal reprieve from digestion and is fasting for just a few hours, at best, late in one’s sleep cycle that is short lived because breakfast soon arrives.
This is an important consideration because the gut contributes to health in many ways, especially when it comes to bolstering the immune system, which occurs during fasting. Going hand-in-hand with increased immune cell production is autophagy, the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells. A good analogy for autophagy is taking out the trash or cleaning up debris. The debris in this case is composed of parts of body cells that become damaged and need to be removed so that new cells can be developed.
Fasting Isnt One Size Fits All
There are several ways to do intermittent fasting, and they all yield similar benefits. So choose the one that seems easiest for you:
- Alternate-day fasting: You move back and forth between one complete fasting day and one day eating and drinking as you normally would. For example, if you eat on Monday, you fast on Tuesday and eat again Wednesday and continue this way through the week.
- Modified fasting: You severely restrict how many calories you eat and drink for two days a week . On the other days of the week, you eat and drink normally. You may have heard of the popular 5:2 diet, which follows this format. For example, on Monday and Thursday you would only eat 500 calories , while on the rest of the days of the week you would eat normally.
- Time-restricted eating: Each day you only eat and drink within a specific timeframe the rest of the time youre fasting. If you usually eat a late breakfast and early dinner, you are already close to this schedule. Try to restrict all of your calorie intake to an eight-hour period. For example, you might eat only between the hours of 12 noon and 8 p.m. every day.
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.
Whats The Best Protocol For Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, there is no best protocol the best protocol is one you can stick with. You might want to keep your fasting window to a minimum. Or, you may prefer fasting for the majority of your day.
Common intermittent fasting protocols are:
- The 16:8 Method: Fast for 16 hours and eat all of your days food within eight hours, seven days a week.
- The 23:1 or One Meal a Day Diet: Fast for 23 hours and eat one meal a day in a one-hour window.
- The 5:2 or Fast Diet: Eat as you typically would for five days and limit daily calories to 500-600 for two days in order to fast.
- Eat, Stop, Eat: Similar to the Alternate Day Fast, but you choose to fast for an entire day once or twice per week and return to your routine eating habits the other days.
For an in-depth look at the various types of intermittent fasting protocols, check out this guide to learn more about which regimen might fit for you.
Recommended Reading: Why Does Fasting Work For Weight Loss
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe
Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.
Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:
- Children and teens under age 18.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Those with a history of eating disorders.
But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.
What Are Other Health Benefits For Intermittent Fasting
There is still not enough research on whether intermittent fasting can help manage chronic conditions. If you’re thinking of intermittent fasting, check with your health care team first. Any type of fasting could be dangerous if youre on certain medicines or have certain conditions. A health care provider can review your health history and provide you with guidance.
It’s important to try methods that make you happy and dont cause your mind and body harm. If following a set of rules of when you eat seems stressful, then intermittent fasting may not be right for you.
For more advice on nutrition, reach out to a registered dietitian to create a plan to help achieve your health and well-being goals.
Melinda Gong, RD CDCES CSOWM, is a registered dietitian at UC Davis Health. She is certified as a diabetes care and education specialist and a weight management specialist. She conducts health classes that focus on empowering people to self-manage their health. If you’re interested in taking a class to learn more about nutrition or any other health condition, check out our Health Education Classes.
Will Fasting Help You Lose Weightcan They Help You
Tietou also checked the bag, and the money inside was lying there, so he was relieved.Xue Tian went to Duoduoya s house and told him what he wanted him to do in his thanks.Back Duohuoya agreed with one word, saying that it would be done as soon as possible.Xue Tian nodded and disappeared.The Metropolitan Police Department searched the headquarters, and Soichiro Yagami, who was appointed to be in what foods to eat to lose weight during menopause charge of the Kira incident, was taking his subordinates to connect with L using a computer.L s servant is an old man in his seventies named Du.Over the past few months, Kira has been committing crimes, and the people he killed have changed from simple criminals to dictators, embezzlers, corrupt elements and politicians of Western powers who are provoking wars.The American father in Japan was angry with Qiqiao, and the US President Bu Shi specially called the Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Ichilang and told him Will Fasting Help You Lose WeightCan They Help You? that if Kira was not caught and brought to justice within a month, then Hiroshima and Chang Saki s tragedy will be repeated in Tokyo, let him take care of himself.
There Is Interest In Whether Autophagy Can Increase The Lifespan Of Whole Organisms Though So Far This Has Only Been Replicated In Animals
There is interest in whether autophagy can increase the lifespan of whole organisms, too though so far this has only been replicated in animals, like 1mm-long nematode worms and mice, and not humans . Until there are longitudinal studies of human intermittent fasters, it is too soon to say that it will extend our lifespans.
But, other animal studies have linked autophagy to improvements in immune system memory. The fact that autophagy is essential to maintain cell health has also generated interest in its role in cancer suppression. There might be more reasons than increasing lifespan to take interest in autophagy.
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Unlike calorie-restrictive diets , the purpose of intermittent fasting is to increase the amount of time between the last meal of one day and the first of the next. This could help to promote autophagy, but to understand how we should look at what happens to us after we eat.
Eating even a small bite before bed extends the “fed state”, meaning you may never achieve ketosis before your next meal
When you stop eating at 19:00 you will still be in the fed state until 22:00 because you will still be digesting nutrients, says Clarkson. Any carbohydrates in your diet will give you a nice supply of glucose, our premium source of fuel, for a few hours.
What Can I Drink While Fasting
You can drink anything that doesnt have calories! Ideally, also avoid beverages sweetened with artificial sweeteners, as these can impact your metabolism through your gut microbes. Some artificial sweeteners raise your insulin levels more than others , but theres a connection between many artificial sweeteners and negative gut microbe changes, insulin resistance and metabolic disease. While a recent meta-analysis suggests we need further research, it may be best to avoid sucralose, aspartame and saccharin in general.
While fasting, you can drink things like black coffee, unsweetened hot and cold teas, water with added electrolytes, carbonated water, water with lemon, etc. Learn more about what you can drink while fasting here.
If you are feeling like you need a little pick-me-up during a longer fast, you can enjoy some bone broth, some kombucha tea or other beverages with very small amounts of natural flavorings or healthy fats added. For example, you might enjoy some coffee with a little bit of butter or coconut oil added.
Cut Way Back On Carbs
Start by eliminating foods high in carbs: sweets, bread, pasta, fruit, and similar foods. Going low carb can significantly speed up weight loss, for several reasons.
First, according to high-quality research, very-low-carb diets also known as keto diets reduce hunger.8This allows you to eat less and lose weight quickly without deliberately restricting calories and without feeling hungry or deprived.9
Several studies have shown that low-carb eating is more effective than other diets for losing fat quickly.10
This impressive fat loss may be partly due to the drop in insulin levels that occur during keto eating. When insulin levels are low, your body is primed to burn rather than store fat.11
Finally, some research suggests that continuing to eat low carb to maintain your new weight may help keep your metabolic rate up, increasing the likelihood that youll keep the weight off.12
How many carbs should you eat to lose weight quickly? Sticking to 20 or fewer grams of net carbs per day may produce the fastest results.13
But instead of counting every carb, you can simply choose foods from our ketogenic diet foods list below and avoid any foods that arent on it.
Note: Be sure to read our tips to avoid or minimize symptoms of the keto flubefore going low carb.
Read Also: How To Incorporate Intermittent Fasting
Choose Your Time Wisely
Fasting once a week to lose weight sounds simple in theory, but it can be a challenge if your fasting day falls on the day of your best friend’s wedding, a company picnic or a treasured holiday celebration that revolves around food.
Rather than torture yourself by sipping plain water while you inhale the smoke from your boss’s barbecue, give yourself a little breathing room by being flexible. Even the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says that it’s OK to have occasional treats.
Look at your schedule too. If you work double shifts, are switching from the day shift to the night shift or vice versa, have a new baby or puppy, or have any other reason for lack of sleep, this may not be the time to fast. Lack of sleep affects the hormones that control your hunger levels, reminds the Los Angeles County Department of Health, and can also cause your body to hold on to fat.
Stress can also affect your ability to lose weight, Los Angeles County says. So starting a weekly fast at the same time you start a new job, move to a new place, or are dealing with the effects of a breakup or other loss might not be the most effective choice you can make â both for your physical health and your mental and emotional health. The last thing you want to do is set yourself up for failure.
How Much Should You Eat During Non
When you do eat during IF, you dont have to worry about being super restrictive. Of course, eating like every day is Thanksgiving doesnt make a lot of sense if you are trying to lose weight, whether youre fasting intermittently or not. Instead, focus on eating enough that you dont feel physically hungry between meals.
Some researchers note that people generally dont overeat during the non-fasting hours, especially once it becomes part of a routine. You should always make sure you continue to drink plenty of water, which not only keeps your system hydrated but also helps you feel less hungry.
Before you get started, check with your healthcare practitioner to see if intermittent fasting is a good idea for you. This is especially important if youre severely underweight, taking blood sugar-lowering drugs, or are experiencing adrenal insufficiency. Right now, I know my adrenal health is not where it should be. If I go a long time without eating, my blood sugar drops too low and I can get spacey, shaky and irritable. Thats why, for now, Im holding off on more rigorous fasting than time-restricted eating.
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