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How Long Can You Do Intermittent Fasting

It May Decrease Inflammation

Is intermittent fasting right for you?

Inflammation caused by oxidative stress is thought to be the cause of many diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers .

Studies have demonstrated that intermittent fasting may be an effective way to reduce inflammation in your body.

One study in 34 healthy men found that the 16:8 intermittent fasting method decreased levels of TNF- and interleukin 1 beta , substances that promote inflammation .

Another study in 50 people found that those fasting for the Muslim holiday of Ramadan had significantly lower levels of the inflammatory markers IL-6, C-reactive protein and homocysteine, compared to non-fasting individuals .

What Does The Science Say

The body of literature regarding intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating is growing, seemingly on a weekly basis. The problem is that different studies investigate different protocols.

For instance, one study showed that a 14:10 time-restricted eating pattern can promote weight loss and metabolic health.7 How do we know if these benefits occur with OMAD? If 14:10 is helpful, is 23:1 better? It might be. If lowering insulin levels and mobilizing fat stores for 14 hours is beneficial, it makes sense that doing it for 23 hours could be even more so. Yet this assumes that a longer time frame doesnt introduce any counterbalancing, negative effects.

Other studies suggest longer fasting windows have a net benefit, although none capture OMAD eating perfectly. For instance, a pilot study showed that, in obese patients with diabetes, two weeks of eating within a 7-hour window reduced fasting and postprandial blood glucose when compared with eating within the baseline 12-hour window .8

While the authors warned about the higher LDL, looking further we see that the total cholesterol-to-HDL ratio remained about the same , while the TG:HDL ratio was slightly better in the time-restricted eating group . Although we cant definitively state that the higher LDL is no cause for concern, there is evidence suggesting that high HDL and low triglycerides may predict lower cardiovascular risk, even in the setting of high LDL.10

The Best Intermittent Fasting Methods For Women

So, what exactly is a relaxed approach to intermittent fasting? Again, since theres little research done on intermittent fasting, were dealing with a bit of a gray area. The opinions also tend to vary depending on which site you visit, or which health expert you ask. From what weve found, the general guidelines to brief intermittent fasting for women are:

Do not fast for longer than 24 hours at a time Ideally fast for 12 to 16 hours Do not fast on consecutive days during your first two to three weeks of fasting Drink plenty of fluids during your fast Only do light exercise on fasting days, such as yoga, walking, jogging, and gentle stretching

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Intermittent Fasting Good For Reversing Insulin Resistance And Muscle Building

You may start intermittent fasting because you want to reverse your insulin resistance. That objective might take you a little longer to achieve, so you could be fasting intermittently for say 5 6 months.

If your objective is to build muscle with intermittent fasting, then it may take you as long as 4 6 months or even longer. With muscle building, you will want to consider adding a workout regime to the fasting.

You also should consider doing your workout routine which must include resistance training towards the last 2 hours of the fasting window to accelerate the process.

In essence, I am saying the workout should be the last activity you do before you resume eating. That has been shown to be very effective.

Intermittent Fasting Can Be Hard But Maybe It Doesnt Have To Be

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Initial human studies that compared fasting every other day to eating less every day showed that both worked about equally for weight loss, though people struggled with the fasting days. So, its very reasonable to choose a reduced calorie plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet. But research suggests that not all IF approaches are the same, and some IF diets are indeed effective and sustainable, especially when combined with a nutritious plant-based diet.

We have evolved to be in sync with the day/night cycle, i.e., a circadian rhythm. Our metabolism has adapted to daytime food, nighttime sleep. Nighttime eating is well associated with a higher risk of obesity, as well as diabetes.

Based on this, researchers from the University of Alabama conducted a study with a small group of obese men with prediabetes. They compared a form of intermittent fasting called “early time-restricted feeding,” where all meals were fit into an early eight-hour period of the day , or spread out over 12 hours . Both groups maintained their weight but after five weeks, the eight-hours group had dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity, as well as significantly lower blood pressure. The best part? The eight-hours group also had significantly decreased appetite. They werent starving.

Just changing the timing of meals, by eating earlier in the day and extending the overnight fast, significantly benefited metabolism even in people who didnt lose a single pound.

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Oral Rehydration Solution For Fasting Diarrhea

People who have severe diarrhea while fasting should break the fast and drink a full serving of oral rehydration solution.

Heres a simple, science-tested ORS recipe that saves lives around the world every day:

  • 1 liter or 1 quart of water
  • 6 level teaspoons of table sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Optional: lemon or lime juice to taste
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon of potassium chloride
  • Optional: one serving of zinc dietary mineral supplements

Heat the water, then add the sugar, salt, and potassium and stir. The zinc can be added to the solution or taken separately. Refrigerate if you arent drinking immediately.

If youre planning to drink the ORS immediately, heat just a few ounces of water, stir in the ingredients, and add the rest of the water to cool down the mixture.

If you experience diarrhea while fasting repeatedly, talk to a doctor.

Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

A few small human studies have shown evidence that intermittent fasting can have health benefits for those with diabetes. These include:

  • Weight loss
  • Lowering insulin requirements

A long-term study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that a fasting state can support several benefits including:

  • Lessening inflammation
  • Dehydration
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Low energy levels
  • A significantly increased risk of low blood sugar
  • High blood sugar resulting from a surge of stored glucose from the liver when low blood sugar levels result from fasting

Its important to note that more research is needed to definitively back up the claims of side effects from intermittent fasting and to confirm the severity of such untoward reactions.

Because of the likeliness of side effects from fasting when a person has diabetes, its important to consult with your healthcare provider before deciding to start any type of fasting diet.

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So Does It Matter How Long You Fast

Interestingly, the researchers report there are no differences between the two fasting groups in terms of weight loss or any other health markers. Without major differences, the UIC study suggests giving yourself a larger window to eat in may be a more convenient option.

Its also telling that there was no added weight loss benefit for people who sustained a longer fast until we have further studies that directly compare the two diets or seek to study the optimal time for fasting, these results suggest that the 6-hour fast might make sense for most people who want to pursue a daily fasting diet.

Fortunately, researchers also find no serious health problems or complaints among the study participants. Although mild adverse events such as dizziness and headaches were reported by some, these were limited primarily to the beginning of the study.

The study is published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Is Intermittent Fasting Safe

Is intermittent fasting right for you?

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.

Read Also: What Can I Eat When I M Fasting

Whats Your Intermittent Fasting Objective

You may start intermittent fasting because you want to lose some weight, let say 11 lbs. Choose a plan and go with it until you hit that target of 11 lbs.

Or you may want to lose a certain percentage of body fat.

Get yourself an electronic body fat estimator and latch on to a plan and off you go. Monitor what you are doing, to see if you have lost the percentage of body fat you plan to lose.

If it takes you 8 weeks to lose 11 lbs, then its up to you if you wish to continue or not.

It is difficult for anyone to prescribe how long you should or can do intermittent fasting for. Because I, for instance, do not know you personally. Only if someone is coaching you on a one-to-one basis can they tell you how long you should do intermittent fasting for.

How I Feel After 2 Years Of Intermittent Fasting

1. The biggest benefit of intermittent fasting is simplicity.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, President Obama described an interesting strategy he uses to make his life simpler. Youll see I wear only gray or blue suits, he said. Im trying to pare down decisions. I dont want to make decisions about what Im eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.

What President Obama is referring to is a concept called decision fatigue and it can drastically impact your ability to make decisions throughout the day. I explained the science of decision fatigue in this article.

For the President, simplifying his clothing choices is a way to make life simpler and improve his decision making abilities. For me, intermittent fasting provides the same benefit. Eliminating breakfast and not thinking about food until 12pm each day has allowed me to reduce the number of decisions I make in the morning, thus reducing decision fatigue and increasing the willpower I have for the rest of the day. That means I have more energy to put toward doing work that is important to me.

One of the best ways to find happiness and success in life is to strip away the unnecessary things and focus only on what is needed.

2. Intermittent fasting is an excellent travel strategy.

The solution? Treat your travel days as a fasting day and then eat twice as much good food the following day.

3. So far, intermittent fasting has not hurt my long-term health.

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Hormonal Changes And Menstrual Cycles

Some animal research suggests that intermittent fasting may lead to hormonal changes and undereating. In people with ovaries, these changes may negatively affect menstrual cycles and fertility .

However, most studies are old and have been conducted in animals. Human studies are needed to fully understand how intermittent fasting may affect reproductive health.

Furthermore, postmenopausal individuals may experience different effects from intermittent fasting. Menopause causes changes that can decrease insulin sensitivity and lead to weight gain, and intermittent fasting may help improve these outcomes .

Summary

Restricting daily food intake to a particular time window may cause increased food intake and weight gain, as well as short-term hunger and weakness. Older animal studies indicate that intermittent fasting may interfere with fertility.

Should I Try Intermittent Fasting

Get your free copy of One Meal A Day Intermittent Fasting ...

The most effective diet is the one you can stick to while still living your best life. Its hard to know which will work best before trying, but doctors and recent studies offer some guidance. Dr. Peterson said that complete, zero-calorie fasts generally prove to be too difficult to maintain. People stick with them maybe for the short-term, but they get quite hungry in the long-term, she said.

Time-restricted feeding fasting overnight and into the next morning is likely the easiest form of fasting to comply with. A longer than normal fasting period each night allows you to burn through some of your sugar stores, called glycogen. That does a couple things. It gives your body a little bit more time to burn fat. It also may help your body get rid of any extra salt in your diet, which would lower your blood pressure, Dr. Peterson said.

Also Check: What Can I Have While Fasting

Your Fasting Window Is Too Short

If you want to notice a difference in your body weight, your eating window during your intermittent fasting diet should be significantly less than normal.

If the difference between your eating window before and during intermittent fasting is only an hour or two, you might barely notice significant weight loss.

A 14-hour fasting window with a 10-hour eating window seems like a great place to start. However, if you find the 14 hours to be too long, you could start with a shorter fasting duration and work your way up.

How Often Should You Do 1: 8 Intermittent Fasting

Unlike other intermittent fasting diets, each day of the 16:8 works independently to the other days. This means that you can do anywhere from one day of intermittent 16:8 fasting to seven days a week, depending on your goals and the advice from your GP.

Evidence differs, however, on whether its healthy to do intermittent fasting all the time for a number of reasons. While one study suggests that fasting helps your vital organs by giving metabolic functions a break, other research suggests the fasting can lead to an increased level of cholesterol and can lead to feelings of nausea, along with causing spells of low-blood sugar and dehydration.

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Mayo Clinic Q And A: Long

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Is intermittent fasting for weight loss safe? What are the risks of short-term diets that are very low-calorie?

ANSWER: Recent research has found that using intermittent fasting for weight loss may have some benefits in the short term. But at this point, the long-term effects of this type of diet or other diets that severely restrict calories are not known. To lose weight and keep it off, the best strategy is to adopt healthy eating and exercise habits that you enjoy so you can stick with them over time.

Intermittent fasting currently is apopular trend in dieting. There are several fasting methods people employ forweight loss. Some dieters decrease theamount of time they eat each day to, for example, only six hours in a 24-hour period.Others fast every other day. Another approach is called the 5:2 diet, which involvesgradually decreasing daily calories to the point that you’re only consuming 500calories a day for two days each week.

A recently published article assessed a variety of research onintermittent fasting. It found that there are some benefits, at least in theshort term, to fasting as opposed to just decreasing calories overall.

It is crucial to note, however, that little long-term research has been doneon intermittent fasting to examine how it affects people over time. So at thispoint, it’s unclear if there are any long-term health benefits or risks relatedto this diet technique.

How Long Does Intermittent Fasting Take To Show Results

Intermittent Fasting: Transformational Technique | Cynthia Thurlow | TEDxGreenville

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.

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You Can Tweak Your Fasting Schedule For Weight Maintenance

Here is the thing.

Even if you have hit your goal, you shouldnt rest on your laurels just yet. How about considering maintenance intermittent fasting protocol to keep your goals sustained?

Lets say you were doing alternate day fasting where you may have fasted for 4 or 5 days a week and you have now hit your target weight loss objective. How about you reduce that to fasting 2 days a week for maintenance.

How about you adopt the 5:2 intermittent fasting method where you cut down on your calories requirement to 20 or 30% for 2 days a week. Feasible? I sure think so.

How about you start skipping breakfast say 5 days a week and have your first meal of the day at 1pm and have one more meal at 8pm. Nothing else to eat again until 1pm the following day. Feasible? Definitely.

You can adopt any method that suits your professional and social life and tweak it to fit your lifestyle and carry on doing intermittent fasting for as long as possible and reap the benefits for life.

I personally always skip breakfast and I dont have my first meal until about 1.30pm, if I am lucky. Sometimes 3pm on a busy day at work. Then my main meal of the day is usually around 8pm. Lately I go straight for the 24-hour fast. Even better. Works for me!

The book below explains the 5:2 fasting plan. Get a copy from or over here on

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