Health Benefits Of Fasting
The big benefit of picking intermittent fasting for your nutrition plan is its so sustainable. With other diets youre either constantly counting calories, can only eat certain foods, or always cutting macronutrients. For example, the keto diet is quite effective for weight loss but the fact that you have to cut out your carbs forever isnt a sustainable diet for the majority of people . I mean imagine never being able to eat pizza, pasta, cookies, cereal, beer, wine, etc. ever again.
With intermittent fasting the big thing you have to be mindful of is to not eat during your fast. This is so simple anybody can follow it long term. But that doesnt always mean its easy. There are times when youre going to get hungry and tempted to eat. And then there are other times when social situations put you in a sticky position that practically force you to eat.
But lets say you go out with friends for dinner and end up eating and drinking until midnight. The good part with intermittent fasting is you just restart your fasting clock and wait a little longer to eat the next day. Its not like every other diet where you mess up by eating the wrong kind of food and then all your results go out the window.
So with intermittent fasting, you can keep your motivation going even if you have a little slip-up. If you ever have trouble with the hunger pangs during your fast then you could drink some of my approved fasting drinks:
- zero cal sparkling water
1 day: 0.5 2 pounds
How To Fast For Weight Loss
Weight loss studies of intermittent fasting have typically investigated the 5:2 diet or alternate day fasting interventions lasting three to six months. For most people in such studies, it takes two to three months to lose 10 pounds.
The good news is that most studies of intermittent fasting using the 5:2 diet protocol or minimal calorie fasting days have reported statistically significant weight loss, approximately equivalent to what can be achieved through continuous calorie restriction. Reported weight loss outcomes of the 5:2 diet range from 3.2% weight loss in comparison to a control group over a 12-week period to 8.0% weight loss in an 8-week trial enrolling overweight adults with asthma.
Obese adults who participated on an alternate day fasting study for 6 months lost roughly 6% of their body weight during the first 3 months. They were allowed to consume up to 600 kcal on their fasting days and ate a low-carb diet on non-fasting days. In addition to losing weight, participants were also able to reduce their total cholesterol, blood pressure, and fasting insulin.
Shorter fasts are also effective at inducing weight loss in humans. Obese patients who restricted their eating windows to 8 hours lost significant weight and improved their blood pressure.
Why Counting Calories Is Not The Best Way To Lose Weight
In the sections above, I explained that lowering insulin is key to weight loss .
The problem with just reducing calories is that you may not lower your insulin very much.
And if you dont lower your insulin, you cant really burn off any body fat. Itll still be under lock-and-key.
Heres the thing-
Its entirely possible to reduce calories but still eat a lot of processed sugar / carbs throughout the day. Think of someone who lives on cereal, for example.
So your insulin level will never really come down to normal.
If insulin stays high, you cant burn much body fat. Thats why calorie restriction alone is not a great way to reduce body fat.
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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.
She Tweaked Her Plan For Special Occasions
Over the holidays, Etienne-Mesubi continued with intermittent fasting but gave herself an expanded eating window of six or eight hours. We were celebrating, and I have no regret and no guilt for extending my window, she says. Even though I allowed myself extended time to eat, I didnt go crazy. I still enjoyed myself and my time with my family and kids. It was so freeing to know if I want to eat longer I can, and if I dont feel like eating anymore Im going to stop, she says.
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What Should I Eat And Drink During A Fast
During a fast, you can drink water and other calorie-free beverages, such as tea or black coffee. Many people also drink bone broth, which contains nutrients that support your body during a fast. Drinking liquids also help counteract fatigue and curb hunger.
If youre following an intermittent fasting pattern that involves restricting your calories on fast days, you should focus on low-calorie, high-protein and high-fiber foods that will help you stay full.
What About Severe Calorie Restriction
What if you eat only 500 or 600 calories a day? Although drastically cutting calories can cause rapid weight loss, consuming far less than your body needs can be counterproductive.
Severe calorie restriction can make you feel extremely hungry, deprived, and fatigued. Whats more, it often leads to loss of muscle, or lean mass.2
Generally speaking, the more lean mass you have, the more calories your body burns at rest.3 Loss of muscle during very-low-calorie dieting can slow down metabolism, making future regain much more likely.4
So fast weight loss via severe calorie restriction may not be a good idea for many people.
Reduced Mtor Activity And Increased Autophagy
18 hours of fasting in humans has been shown to increase mTOR as well as cellular markers of autophagy. Autophagy is a recycling mechanism for cellular components that our cells use to deal with stress and prevent untimely cell death. mTOR, or the mechanistic target of rapamycin, is an enzyme that is the master regulator of protein synthesis and cell growth. Lowering of mTOR activity has been associated with autophagy and extended lifespan and healthspan in animals.
Recycle your body in 2021 with intermittent fasting!
Whether You Have Preexisting Medical Conditions
When you go to the doctor, do you get a clean bill of health? If so, then your body wont impede your weight loss efforts provided youre trying to slim down healthily. Should you have any preexisting medical conditions though, they can affect how easy it is for you to lose weight.
We mentioned before that those with type 2 diabetes might lose weight more slowly than non-diabetics. If you have polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS, keeping the weight off can be difficult. Thats also true of those with Cushings syndrome and hypothyroidism.
Living with chronic stress floods your body with cortisol that can cause you to retain abdominal fat. Your blood pressure can also go up and your immune system might be less effective.
Some medical conditions make you lose more weight than intended, such as endocarditis, depression, and rheumatoid arthritis. That said, this weight loss is often not healthy, so you should speak to your doctor before you start keto or intermittent fasting.
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How To Use Extended Fasting For Weight Loss
Once youve tried TRE, a ketogenic diet, and some medium-length fasts, if youre still trying to lose more weight consider this-
Option 1: Do a 3 day fast every other week.
Option 2: Alternatively, do a 5-7 day fast about once a month.
You can sprinkle in some 24 or 36 hour fasts as well. But dont do them right before or right after these longer fasts.
Instead, take some time to refeed.
For example, if you fast for 5 days, eat for at least the next 5 days before you start fasting again. This gives your body a chance to refuel and rebuild.
As always, eat plenty of high-quality food when youre not fasting!
Prepare Yourself For Success
Prolonged fasts are not a trivial matter, especially if youve never tried it before. So use the tips in my Easy Fasting Guide, and make sure you keep your electrolytes up.
As I mentioned earlier, the transition into fasting is significantly easier if you do a ketogenic diet for several days beforehand.
Ive done long fasts with and without this step, and its definitely worth it. Especially if youre a beginner.
Dont Go Completely Crazy
More is not always betterand there are some increased risks the longer you go . So no need to go hog wild.
Stage 5 Fasting : Stem Cells And Immune Function
The final stage of fasting begins after a full three days without food.
Before you read about the benefits, note that a 72-hour fast is a serious undertaking. If youre going to try it, make sure you drink plenty of water, get plenty of electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, and potassium, and stop fasting if you feel lightheaded or otherwise unwell.
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How Long Does Intermittent Fasting Take To Show Results
You might begin to first notice a difference in your body about 10 days after you begin intermittent fasting. It could take between 2-10 weeks for you to lose significant weight. You might lose up to a pound each week.
Usually, the first signs you will notice that scream that your intermittent fasting is working is less bloating. Your midsection might look trimmer just over your first week of intermittent fasting.
Observing weight loss will take a little longer as your body needs some time to adjust to this new diet.
At about the second week is when most people first notice that they have dropped their first few pounds. If you have still not lost any weight by week two, stay consistent for about four or five more weeks and your results should come in soon enough.
A Brief Guide To Fasting
Fasting is fairly simple. You just have to follow three rules:
- Choose a fasting window. As you read, the stages of intermittent fasting each come with different benefits. Pick a window of time fast and stick to it. for example, if youre doing an 18-hour fast, maybe you stop eating at 8 PM today and dont break your fast until 2 PM tomorrow.
- No calories. A true fast includes zero calories during the fasting period. Water, coffee, tea, and other zero-calorie beverages are fine during water fasting, but anything with calories will break your fast.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water during your fast. make sure you also get your electrolytes by adding sea salt to the water and/or taking an electrolyte supplement.
For more details about different fasting schedules and how to use fasting as part of a healthy lifestyle, you may want to take a more in-depth look at fasting.
What Laura Martin Md Says
Most of the intermittent fasting diets recommend cutting back to 500-600 calories on fasting days. In general, for many people this would be medically safer and easier than not eating at all on those days.
Remember to drink enough on fasting days to prevent dehydration. And youll need to eat a healthy diet on days that you dont fast.
What Can I Eat While Intermittent Fasting
During the times when youre not eating, water and zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee and tea are permitted.
And during your eating periods, eating normally does not mean going crazy. Youre not likely to lose weight or get healthier if you pack your feeding times with high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried items and treats.
But what Williams likes about intermittent fasting is that it allows for a range of different foods to be eaten and enjoyed. We want people to be mindful and take pleasure in eating good, nutritious food, she says. She adds that eating with others and sharing the mealtime experience adds satisfaction and supports good health.
Williams, like most nutrition experts, regards the Mediterranean diet as a good blueprint of what to eat, whether youre trying intermittent fasting or not. You can hardly go wrong when you pick complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats and lean protein.
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But Is Intermittent Fasting Good For You
While some researchhas shown the benefits of IF, such as weight loss, lowerblood pressure and improved metabolic health, more investigation isstill needed, especially regarding long-term outcomes of IF. There is also theaspect of sustainability. Severely restricting calories or not eating for longperiods at a time isnt for everyone. Some researcheven shows that those who do intermittent fasting dont usually stick with itas compared with those trying to lose weight on more traditional diets.
Still, IF has been shown to be an effective form of weight loss but so have other options like eating a well-balanced diet paired withexercise. One studysuggests that IF is not more effective at supporting weight loss or improvingblood sugars than other well-balanced approaches.
Weight loss is never a one-size-fits-all approach, saysTaylor. IF may be sustainable for some people, while others find that this approachjust isnt for them.
If you want to try IF, youll first need to figure out how you are going to incorporate this style of eating into your life, especially when it comes to things like social events and staying active, she advises.
Ready to explore your options? Here Taylor explains some of the most popular IF methods.
The Truth About Fasting
The bottom line: Nutrition experts agree that fasting is a potentially dangerous, and not particularly effective, way to lose weight.
Instead of a fast, opt for a healthy eating plan that you can stick with long-term Healthy diets provide a minimum of 1,200 calories and include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein, and healthy fats, along with regular physical activity.
If you are not convinced and want to go on a fast, be sure to consult your physician first.
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.
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Loss Of Lean Body Mass
In one study, scientists proved that it’s possible to destroy as much as 13 pounds of lean body mass during a 21-day water fast.
Now, maybe you’re the kind of person who doesn’t really care about how much muscle mass they lose during a water fast.
Maybe you just want to get rid of that annoying body fat as quickly as possible, and you’re willing to sacrifice some lean body mass as you do that.
But even if that’s you, you should know that the single most important muscle in your body that can suffer because of this is your heart.
And while a short water fast isn’t likely to cause any serious damage your heart, I’m telling you about this stuff to make sure you always stay on the safe side with fasting.
But still. If you ask me, losing even a single pound of muscle mass mass as you go after a quick drop of that number on your scale isn’t really worth it.
Especially since science has already discovered a better and more effective way of fasting.
So If Im *not* Losing Weight With If Whats The Problem
There could be a few reasons. Here are 12 intermittent fasting mistakes that you might be making, and how to fix them.
1. Youre eating too much during your eating window.
As mentioned, in general, Weight loss essentially boils down to calories in versus calories out, reminds Martin. If you end up consuming the same number of calories during your eating windows as before you started intermittent fasting, then you wont lose weight.
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In other words, if you just pack all of the calories you’d normally eat into your eating window, you’re not really changing your diet at all.
How to fix it: Try a calorie-counting app. “Although I dont typically recommend calorie counting, it may help to track your caloric intake for a few days using a calorie-tracking app,” says Martin. “These apps will usually tell you the approximate daily calorie amount you need to be at in order to lose weight. Although these estimations are usually off, they can be used as a good starting point.” The app can also reveal meals or specific foods that have more calories than you’d expect, and you can adjust your diet accordingly.
2. You are not consuming enough calories on non-fasting days.
When you dont consume an adequate amount of calories on non-fasting days, your body may conserve the energy you consume, rather than burning it, says Smith.
3. Youre eating less-nutritious foods.
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Is It Good For Certain Conditions
If you have medical conditions, talk with your doctor before you try intermittent fasting.