How Long Does Intermittent Fasting Take To Work
Updated on Medically reviewed byKimberly Langdon, MD
Picture this, you are new to intermittent fasting. Each day you climb the scale, looking for a difference in your body weight, yet the figures remain relatively the same.
Now, you are probably worrying. You might be wondering if you are doing it right. Knowing how soon to expect results with intermittent fasting might help you become more patient with this diet.
So, how long does it take?
The Intermittent Fasting Workout Plan
Heres what you should do as far as exercise workout is concerned when youre doing the 16/8 intermittent fasting. If you follow this training schedule, youll reap huge benefits.
==> Exercise about 2 or 3 times a week.
==> If you exercise on your fasting days, do your workout towards the end of the fast period. The last hour of the fast period is best for fat burning.
==> Now if you are exercising intensely, you may want to protect your muscle mass. So, Id say take branched-chain amino acids about 30 minutes before your workout. See my article on BCAAs and intermittent fasting here.
Its not mandatory to take BCAAs. So dont sweat it!
==> Take bcaa supplements if you have them. If you dont, you can easily compensate by having a high protein meal after your workout.
==> A good balanced meal of Protein with lots of veggies and starchy carb will suffice.
==> Have your main meal soon after your workout. Prepare your meal in advance, so you are not tempted to go for takeouts or some junk food.
==> Eat as normal on fasting days that you are not exercising. You dont need to exercise every fasting day, by the way.
Mix it up. You can do Paleo-style in your non-exercise days by having a meal of Veggies, Healthy fats and Protein .
When you mix it up, you will be carb cycling and that would be in keeping with what I refer to as the Depletion-Repletion way of eating.
A typical high carb meal will be:
A typical low carb meal will be:
So Will I Lose Weight On The 1: 8 Diet
In theory, yes. But its hard to really know how the diet might benefit a wide variety of people since most research on the topic involves people who are obese, not just those looking to shed a few pounds.
One potential benefit of the 16:8 diet? It can help if someone wants to lose weight because oftentimes overeating at night is a big factor in weight gain, says Warren. Fasting will take away that obstacle. In this sense, the timing of your eating window can impact how much weight you lose: Typically, time-restricted eating mimics the way we ate before 24-hour drive-thrus and fully-stocked refrigerators .
Sticking to an eight-hour eating window during daylight hours allows your metabolism to run as its supposed toyou fuel up for energy during the day , and stop eating for rest and recovery at night, per a 2017 article in the journal Nutrition Reviews.
Its also likely that fasting can put your body into a state of ketosis , which means your body starts burning fat for energy instead of carbs, says Warren. After your body runs through its glucose and glycogen stores , it then turns to the next-available fuel source: fat, explains Hunnes.
Recent studies indicate that you might lose weight on this diet because when you fast, you are burning more fat for energy than you are carbohydrates, she explains. This fat-burning and the metabolic shifts that come with might increase your chances of losing weight. .
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Foods To Avoid During Intermittent Fasting:
There are certain foods that you shouldnt consume as part of an intermittent fasting regimen. You should avoid foods that are calorie-dense and contain high amounts of fat, sugar, and salt.
They provide little to no nutrients, and they wont fill you up after a fast, or even worse can make you hungrier.
Here are some examples of foods that you should avoid to maintain a healthy intermittent eating regimen:
- Snack chips
- Fruit juice
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:
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Is The Intermittent Catheter A Single Use Device
The FDA considers intermittent catheters to be single-use medical devices. Additionally, many studies have shown that sterile use, which is using a sterile intermittent catheter one time and then throwing it away, may reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.
Is The 1: 8 Diet Good For You
Some advocates of the 16:8 diet claim it helps control blood sugar levels and boost brain function, but theres little scientific evidence to back these up. And if you dont stick to nutritious food during the eight-hour window, any positive effects are quickly negated. In other words, 16 hours of fasting doesnt compensate for eight hours of stuffing your face with junk food.
For the best results, you should be careful about your choice of eating window. According to Freirich, it should start early in the day, preferably no later than about 10 a.m., and finish early in the evening. This allows for the energy you consume during your eating window to serve your activities throughout the day, plus its in line with our natural circadian rhythms, presuming you wake up around 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., she explains. If you choose a much later eating window, say 4 p.m. to 12 a.m, you could actually see weight gain, she warns.
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Risk Of A 1: 8 Fasting Schedule
Its best to avoid intermittent fasting if youre pregnant or breastfeeding, have type 1 diabetes, or a history of eating disorders. You may also experience:
- Weight gain. You can gain weight if you overeat during your eating window. Carefully plan your fasting and eating windows so you dont feel overly hungry during your fast. Be mindful of what and how much you eat during your eating window.
- Hunger. Initially, you may feel starving. But, thoughtfully scheduling your fasting and eating times can help. Also, drink plenty of fluids, find ways to distract yourself, and try meditation.
- Feel cold. Fasting can make you chilly, but its less likely on the 16:8 protocol than more restrictive schedules like 5:2 or OMAD. If you feel cold, bundle up this effect will disappear when you adapt to your new fasting schedule.
- Mild dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of liquids during your fasting period just be sure that theyre non-caloric beverages like unsweetened tea or water.
Wait Is Celery Allowed During Fasting Doesnt It Have Some Calories
Aniston also told Radio Times that she likes to start her day with a celery juice around 9 a.m., which some fasting purists might not agree with. . There are no super specific rules to intermittent fasting, however, having anything with calories like celery juice is technically not fasting, confirms Harris-Pincus.
But hey, its not as if Anistons having soda for breakfast. And shes not the only one to extol the virtues of celery juiceit seems like every social media influencer is celebrating the green stuff right now.
Any magical health benefits of celery juice are exaggerated beyond the fact its a vegetable, says Harris-Pincus. Yet if it works for you, go for it. I always tell clients that if they like celery juice, then have some, she adds. Make half of your food volume fruits and veggies, and youre good to go.
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The Upshot: Is 16/8 Fasting Right For You
While far from being a required part of a healthy diet, 16/8 intermittent fasting is a safe and workable eating approach for many adults. Research on the possible health perks of time-restricted eating is still emerging, but early evidence hints at some benefit in areas such as weight loss, blood pressure, and cholesterol. If you want to give 16/8 fasting a try, experts recommend using your eating window to enjoy a wide variety of whole, nutritious foods.
Alice Oglethorpe is a freelance journalist in Chicago. Her writing has appeared in Real Simple, O The Oprah Magazine, Prevention, Mens Health, Self, Shape, Fitness, Better Homes and Gardens, and many other publications.
Potential Drawback: Fertility Problems
Some research in animals hints that intermittent fasting may impair female fertility. Its likely that this is caused by calorie deficiency, rather than by the practice of fasting itself, as pregnancy is a very energy-intensive practice.
Consider holding off on IF if youre pregnant or trying to become pregnant!
Men, on the other hand, can likely engage in IF without impairing their fertility rates.
There are also fasting strategies tailored specifically to female needs.
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When Should I Exercise
When Varady and her colleagues conducted a study that combined alternate day fasting and exercise, they allowed the participants to pick whether they wanted to exercise on a feasting or fasting day, and found there was no strong preference one way or the other. But the researchers were surprised the dieters actually reported feeling more energetic on fasting days.
Weight Loss And Fat Loss
Eating during a set period can help people reduce the number of calories that they consume. It may also help boost metabolism.
Research from 2016 reports that men who followed a 16:8 approach for 8 weeks while resistance training showed a decrease in fat mass. The participants maintained their muscle mass throughout.
In contrast, a 2017 study found very little difference in weight loss between participants who practiced intermittent fasting in the form of alternate-day fasting rather than 16:8 fasting and those who reduced their overall calorie intake. The dropout rate was also high among those in the intermittent fasting group.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Fasting
- What can you drink while fasting?
Generally, you can drink plain water, unsweetened coffee, and various teas. If youre not sure if you can make it, you can try dirty fasting and enjoy drinks that contain less than 50 calories during your fasting windows, such as water with lemon or bulletproof coffee.
- Should you mix intermittent fasting and exercise?
Combining fasting with exercise is generally a great way to boost your metabolism and improve your overall health. Everyone should increase their heart rate for 150180 minutes per week or about 30 minutes per day to stay healthy. However, if youre trying more strict fasting regimens such as the Warrior diet, you shouldnt train too hard.
- What is dry fasting?
Dry fasting is a dangerous practice that eliminates not only food but also water from your diet. It isnt recommended for most people, as dehydration raises multiple health issues.
- What can you eat or drink while on intermittent fasting?
Fasting works best if you follow a balanced, high-quality diet. You can achieve it by following a simple proportion. Half of your daily food intake should include non-starchy vegetables, a quarter of it lean protein, and the final bit should consist of whole grains or starchy vegetables. You can easily follow it if you visualize this proportion on your plate.
- Can you chew gum while fasting?
- Can you drink green tea while on intermittent fasting?
- How to gain muscle while intermittent fasting?
Are There Any Potential Problems
Getting the timings right is key. The easiest thing about this diet is that you are asleep for most of the fasting, says Rob. One problem is that, if you end up eating late, you could be waiting until mid afternoon to eat again. This is going to be tricky as hunger sets in. These diets also rely on a calorie deficit and you can still over eat in the space of eight hours. However, not all calories are created equal, so you need to focus on filling your diet with lots of highly nutritious foods.
Another issue may be preparation. You will need to be organised, says Olivier. Breakfast cam be prepared the evening before, so that you dont feel like eating out of the fridge while making breakfast. Snacks and meals must be planned, and timing is also very important. You may want to have smaller regular meals, rather than big meals. The last thing you need is to overwhelm your digestive system and bring with it a wide array of symptoms. By focusing on nutrient-dense and antioxidant-rich food, you can promote natural healing and repair. You can also reach a more optimal state of health and cognitive functions.
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Is 1: 8 Fasting Good For Weight Loss
A growing body of research demonstrates that a better strategy is optimizing the nutritional quality of what you already eat versus fasting or counting calories. Also, science suggests any potential benefit from fasting is quickly undone during the eating part of the cycle, in which appetite-suppressing hormones switch gears to make you feel even hungrierthan you felt at baseline.
But some dieters may benefit from daily fasting if they have trouble sticking to prescribed meal plans or restrictive diets a 2018 pilot study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Healthy Eating suggests that a 16:8 fasting plan can help obese dieters lose weight without having to count every single calorie they eat. This approach to fasting could also aid those battling other weight-related issues namely, high blood pressure. A new scholarly review published in the New England Journal of Medicinesuggests that a 16:8 fasting plan may help the body naturally improve blood sugar regulation, as well as decrease blood pressure overall in the long run.
/8 Fasting Benefits: Fact Or Fiction
The 16/8 intermittent fasting approach shows promise for supporting some aspects of health, but any splashy claims of effortless weight loss or disease prevention are premature at best, experts tell WW. Most studies thus far have been small or conducted on animals more research is needed to figure out the full effects of intermittent fasting, as well as optimal approaches. Heres what science has to say about some hot topics so far.
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/8 Intermittent Fasting Tips
Many people need an adjustment period to get used to fasting for 16 hours, Dr. Mattson notes, adding that you might feel irritable and hungry during that time. Such feelings often improve within four weeks or so, he says.
You may also need a little while to figure out how best to approach eating within your eight-hour window. It comes down to your appetite, Harbstreet says. A little trial and error with the approach is a good ideawhether you go with three meals in the eight hours, or two meals and a snack or two.
Your needs and preferences might vary somewhat from day to day, but having a general sense of your preferred approach will help you make a plan for what to eat when.
Hour Fast Benefit #: Better Gut Health
If we had to blame a single factor for the modern-days epidemic of chronic disease, wed single out inflammation.
The scientific literature is clear that chronic inflammation has devastating effects on ones health. Inflammation essentially causes poorer expression of your genes. If your mother has arthritis, for example, chronic inflammation may make you more susceptible to developing the same thing.
Thankfully fasting may help. It improves gut health enough to reduce many inflammatory markers. Its ability to promote ketosis means it can also help your body generate new, inflammation-fighting mitochondria. This process is called mitophagy.
In addition to reducing inflammation , increased mitophagy has been correlated with an increased lifespan.
Rodent studies show that IF extends lifespan by 36-8%. Its possible that a similar effect is seen in humans, though more research is needed before we can know for sure.
Fasting also reduces inflammation by relieving your digestive tract from the burden of non-stop digestion. It uses this time off to regenerate the gut lining, reducing your risk of leaky gut syndrome and preventing harmful endotoxins from escaping the digestive tract.
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