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How Long Should You Fast When Intermittent Fasting

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History Of Diabetes And Intermittent Fasting

How Long Should You Fast With Intermittent Fasting?

Fasting has been around for some time, particularly if you consider the historical role of fasting as part of many types of spiritual rituals. More recently, intermittent fasting has been used as part of a healthy diet for weight loss, as part of “detoxifying” the body, and more. But there has been much controversy surrounding the topic of fasting for those with diabetes.

Today, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that specific types of intermittent fasting diets may be beneficial for people with diabetes. In addition, scientists are beginning to speculate that when a person fasts may be just as important as the diet itself.

When Can I Eat On The 1: 8 Diet

You can pick an 8 hour window to suit your day. So, for example it could be between 10am 6pm or 11am 8pm and so on. Plus, you can still drink tea and coffee outside of those hours too, although because of the benefits of drinking water you are also encouraged to stay as hydrated as possible.

Most people choose to fast through the night, and opt to eat their first meal at about 11am or in the middle of the day.

Tom says, The most common hours adopted for the eating period is 12 till 8pm. The reason for this is because people arent normally that hungry in the morning, you dont want to be consuming too many calories during the evening and this allows us to eat our lunch and dinner as well as a healthy snack.

Is Fasting 16 Hours A Day Healthy

Forms of intermittent fasting like the 16:8 diet rely on the concept that fasting reduces oxidative stress on the body, which can decrease inflammation and the risk of chronic diseases.

Its also theorized that fasting gives your vital organs, digestive and absorptive hormones, and metabolic functions a break, according to a recent study published in Cell Metabolism. Since our bodies secrete insulin to help our cells absorb sugar, fasting is linked to reducing our susceptibility to insulin resistance over time.

However, research has also linked fasting to increases in LDL cholesterol . Intermittent fasting can make you feel dizzy and nauseated and cause periods of low-blood sugar and dehydration. Despite the fact that most 16:8 enthusiasts drink water during fasting periods, it may not be enough .

I also have a much deeper concern about the disordered eating behaviors that may arise from intermittent fasting. Research shows that fasting for a period of time followed by a limited window for eating primes you to overeat. It’s a cycle that can be difficult to get out of because it impairs our body’s natural hunger cues and metabolism. Restricted eating may also lead to an increased risk of depression and anxiety.

Read Also: What Is Allowed Intermittent Fasting

Options For Intermittent Fasting

There are several different intermittent fasting methods discussed online. Here are a few of the most popular ones.

  • Crescendo MethodThe Crescendo Method is one of the best ways to ease into intermittent fasting without shocking your body or aggravating your hormones. It doesnt require you to fast every day, only a few days per week, spaced throughout the week. For example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.Fasting Window: 12-16 hours
  • Have a previous history of eating disorders
  • Have difficulty sleeping

Additionally, intermittent fasting is meant to complement a healthy diet and lifestyle not act as a way to remedy five days of eating nutritionally-bankrupt foods, such as refined sugar, processed foods and fast foods.

Should I Eat 6 Small Meals A Day

Intermittent fasting (IF) and the 4 types of IF

There are a few main reasons why diet books recommend six small meals:

1) When you eat a meal, your body does have to burn extra calories just to process that meal. So, the theory is that if you eat all day long with small meals, your body is constantly burning extra calories and your metabolism is firing at optimal capacity, right? Well, thats not true.

Whether you eat 2000 calories spread out throughout the day, or 2000 calories in a small window, your body will burn the same number of calories processing the food .

So, the whole keep your metabolism firing at optimum capacity by always eating sounds good in principle, but reality tells a different story.

2) When you eat smaller meals, you might be less likely to overeat during your regular meals. I can definitely see some truth here, especially for people who struggle with portion control or dont know how much food they should be eating.

However, once you educate yourself and take control of your eating, some might find that eating six times a day is very prohibitive and requires a lot of effort. I know I do.

Also, because youre eating six small meals, Id argue that you probably never feel full, and you might be MORE likely to eat extra calories during each snack.

Although grounded in seemingly logical principles, the six meals a day doesnt work for the reason you think it would , and generally only works for people who struggle with portion control .

Thats why we made this:

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Intermittent Fasting Decreases Metabolism Less Than Continuous Calorie Restriction

When you lose weight, your metabolic rate goes down. Part of this is because losing weight causes muscle loss, and muscle tissue burns calories around the clock.

However, the decrease in metabolic rate seen with weight loss cant always be explained by the loss of muscle mass alone .

Severe calorie restriction over a long period can cause your metabolic rate to drop, as your body enters so-called starvation mode. The scientific term for this is adaptive thermogenesis.

Your body does this to conserve energy as a natural defense against starvation .

This has been demonstrated dramatically in a study of people who lost large amounts of weight while participating in The Biggest Loser, a reality show on TV.

Participants followed a calorie-restricted diet and intense exercise regimen to lose large amounts of weight .

The study found that 6 years later, most of them had regained nearly all of the weight they had lost. However, their metabolic rates had not gone back up and remained around 500 calories lower than you would expect for their body size.

Other studies investigating the effects of calorie restriction on weight loss have found similar results. The drop in metabolism due to weight loss can amount to hundreds of calories per day (

How Long Till You See Results From Intermittent Fasting

Now, most people who use Intermittent Fasting will see much better results in their first month compared to typical diets such as calorie restriction.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says you can only really lose 1-2 pounds a week . This means according to them you can only drop up to 8 pounds in a month.

But most people using Intermittent Fasting typically lose more weight than that. Plus itll feel less restrictive to use Intermittent Fasting compared to calorie counting since you can still eat outside your fasting window.

The first week youre using Intermittent Fasting youll also notice an increase in energy in the mornings. This is a great time to workout and hit the gym as your body burns off more fat for energy in a fasted state.

Plus youll feel better mentally and have decreased brain fog after a few days of Intermittent Fasting. Youll think clearer which will help to translate over to improvements in productivity in your work and school.

But the weekends can be the toughest for those getting started with Intermittent Fasting for their first month. It can be hard to stay fasted when your friends want to hang out or if you want to cut loose on the weekends.

Do your best to stick with your fasting window over the weekends if you want to keep getting results you can be proud of. I make a rule to live and die by the timer app on my phone to not eat until its finished no matter what.

Also Check: What Food Can I Eat During Intermittent Fasting

The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

Fat loss is great, but it isn’t the only benefit of fasting.

1. Intermittent fasting makes your day simpler.

I’m big on behavior change, simplicity, and reducing stress. Intermittent fasting provides additional simplicity to my life that I really enjoy. When I wake up, I don’t worry about breakfast. I just grab a glass of water and start my day.

I enjoy eating and I don’t mind cooking, so eating three meals a day was never a hassle for me. However, intermittent fasting allows me to eat one less meal, which also means planning one less meal, cooking one less meal, and stressing about one less meal. It makes life a bit simpler and I like that.

2. Intermittent fasting helps you live longer.

Scientists have long known that restricting calories is a way of lengthening life. From a logical standpoint, this makes sense. When youre starving, your body finds ways to extend your life.

Theres just one problem: who wants to starve themselves in the name of living longer?

I dont know about you, but Im interested in enjoying a long life. Starving myself doesnt sound that appetizing.

The good news is that intermittent fasting activates many of the same mechanisms for extending life as calorie restriction. In other words, you get the benefits of a longer life without the hassle of starving.

Way back in 1945 it was discovered that intermittent fasting extended life in mice. More recently, this study found that alternate day intermittent fasting led to longer lifespans.

And Some Of The Donts Of Intermittent Fasting:

How Long Should You Fast For Weight Loss? [OFFICE HOURS]
  • Do not do your exercises in the evenings on fast days. Exercise has been shown in a lot of people to trigger hunger. Meaning you might be tempted to eat when you shouldnt.
  • 2. Do not add a lot of milk to your coffee. Only use half or teaspoon of milk when having tea or coffee. Milk does contain lactose which is sugar. This could derail the plan. Only use a small amount.

    3. Use your fasting period to do stuff. Dont sit idle. Getting busy will stop you thinking about food.

    4. Dont keep changing your feeding window if you are on the plan that allows food at certain times. If your eating window is between 12 Noon and 8pm, try and maintain that consistency every time. Its all about teaching your body to adapt to a new way of eating and fasting.

    5. Do not go to social events where the place will be awash with food on your fast days. The temptation of having so many food choices and so much food around might be too much for you to resist.

    6. On your feed days or eating window as the case may be, you should exercise caution in how much food you consume. Theres no need to stuff your face with so much food in an attempt to compensate for the fast period.

    It is not a feast or famine ethos and you should refrain from seeing it as such. Eat sensibly!

    Above all, be resilient. Its not as hard as it appears. Start small and build up.

    If you like your coffee, you may be also interested in the answer to the question: does coffee break a fast?

    Suggested further reading:

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    Why Does My Blood Sugar Go Up During Fasting

    While this does not happen with everyone, it can occur due to hormonal changes that occur during intermittent fasting. Your body is producing sugar in order to provide energy for your system. This is a variation of the dawn phenomenon and in general is not a concern as long as blood sugars are not elevated the rest of the day.45

    Cons Of Intermittent Fasting For Women

    “Despite the benefits found in research, it’s important to consider the context and remember that it’s not appropriate for all people at all times,” says Greaves. “Women of reproductive age need to be particularly careful with intermittent fasting as their bodies are more sensitive to stressors like prolonged fasting and caloric restriction.”

    Greaves explains, “Intermittent fasting itself is a stressor on the body, and in the context of our modern day life that’s already filled with chronic emotional, physiological and environmental stressors, IF might do more harm than good. Fasting increases cortisol which can lead to blood sugar dysregulation, increased insulin resistance, lean muscle loss, fatigue and disruptions to thyroid function over time. In the short-term fasting may lower thyroid stimulating hormone, but elevated cortisol on a persistent basis can reduce the conversion of thyroid hormone.”

    “Fasting can also lead to undereating, which we know negatively influences female hormones in a variety of ways,” Greaves says. The caloric restriction caused by intermittent fasting could lead to loss of menstrual cycle and interfere with fertility .

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    Fasting May Improve Blood Sugar Control

    Some studies have found that intermittent fasting can improve blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes.

    A study in 10 people with type 2 diabetes found that a fasting goal of 1820 hours a day lead to a considerable decrease in body weight and significantly improved fasting and post-meal blood sugar control .

    However, another recent study showed that intermittent fasting increased the chances of hypoglycemia , even when taking lower doses of blood-sugar-reducing medications .

    Though lowering blood sugar levels in a safe way is beneficial, hypoglycemia can be dangerous and lead to serious complications .

    For this reason, people with diabetes who are interested in trying out intermittent fasting should consult with their doctor first.

    Summary

    Methods of intermittent fasting like the Warrior Diet may help reduce weight, improve brain health, lower blood sugar and reduce inflammation.

    Despite potential health benefits of the Warrior Diet, there are some downfalls to this way of eating.

    Potential Intermittent Fasting Side Effects

    How Long Should You Fast?

    Intermittent fasting is a term people use to describe patterns of eating that include regular periods of fasting in which they consume very few or no calories (

    • lower blood pressure
    • reduction in markers of oxidative stress
    • improved blood sugar control

    These findings have led to the increased popularity of intermittent fasting regimens like:

    • time-restricted feeding
    • alternate-day fasting
    • periodic fasting

    If youre interested in trying out intermittent fasting, youre probably curious to know whether it has side effects.

    The short answer: Intermittent fasting is safe for most people. However, studies have shown that intermittent fasting does have some minor side effects. Plus, its not the right choice for everyone (

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    A Sample Day Of A : 4 Fast

    7:00 am Wake and drink 500 mL of water with lemon

    9:00 am Eat 1 boiled egg white, a handful of berries or 1 cup of green tea

    1:00 pm Drink grapefruit juice, 1 cup of yoghurt or ½ cup of raw vegetables

    8:00 pm Eat dinner containing protein, healthy fats and complex carbs

    9:00 pm Drink 1 cup of warm milk with turmeric

    10:00 pm Eat desserts such as dark chocolate or fruit custard

    Tips To Start Your : 4 Fast

    As this is one of the more extreme methods of intermittent fasting, it is recommended you do your research before you start and even consult with a dietitian or a nutritionist to ensure it is right for you.

    The best resource for the original Warrior Diet is Hofmeklers own book The Warrior Diet: Switch on Your Biological Powerhouse for High Energy, Explosive Strength and a Leaner, Harder Body.

    To help you start your first 20:4 fast and successfully stick to it for the desired period of time, follow these tips.

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    Types Of Intermittent Fasting

    • 5:2: You eat normally five days a week. On the other two days, you fast by eating between 500 and 600 calories.
    • 16:8: You eat all of your daily calories within a shortened period and fast the rest of the time.
    • Alternate day fasting: You fast every other day, and eat normally on non-fasting days.
    • One meal a day : Also known as the Snake Diet, or just eating once a day. You eat all of your daily calories in just one meal each day, and fast the rest of the day.

    As with any diet or exercise plan, consult your healthcare provider to determine whats best for you.

    The biggest takeaway here is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to intermittent fasting. Take time to find the perfect fit, pay attention to how you feel and dont be afraid to experiment with different schedules.

    For example, if you cant stomach the thought of ditching breakfast, just switch your fasting period. Eat a full meal around 8 a.m., and stop eating around 4 p.m. The good news: This is still a 16-hour fast. The best news: You can change your fasting schedule to suit your needs .

    Switching Up Your Fasting Plan May Be Beneficial As Well

    Fasting How Often – How Long Should You Fast?

    Some experts find that people’s fasting results eventually stall, in which case it helps to switch things up. “Increase your fasting time to a few days a week or do a longer fast one day a week,” suggests Pedre. “In the end, what works best is mixing it up for your body and keeping it guessing when food is coming.”

    To learn more about what IF approach may be right for you, check out our other expert-powered articles about the different types of intermittent fasting plans, the ultra-popular 16:8 intermittent fasting schedule, and the fasting-mimicking diet. Also, be sure you know exactly what breaks a fast to ensure you’re getting the maximum possible benefit.

    Read Also: How To Lose Weight By Fasting In Three Days

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