Not All Calories Are Made Equal
When fasting, what we mainly want to stay away from is triggering the insulin response significantly. We can first look at this from a macro-nutrient perspective:
- Sugar and carbohydrates: They will raise your blood sugar level and spike your insulin the most. At some point during the fast, our body switches from using glycogen as a source of energy to fat-burning mode. If you ingest sugar or carbs, the body will prefer that source of energy and inhibit the fat-burning process. It is best to stay away from sugar and carbohydrates during your fast.
- Protein and Amino acids: Although they raise blood sugar to a lower level than carbohydrates, it will still trigger an insulin response. It will also inhibit autophagy. Its best to keep those to a minimal amount and prioritize them later, during your eating window.
- Healthy fats: We are not talking about donuts, chips, or ice cream here, to be clear. Healthy fats can range from a bit of cream in your coffee, MCT oil, or some butter in a bulletproof coffee for example. And that is where it becomes interesting. Because fats are higher in calories, intuitively, if we abide by the 50-calorie rule it wont work. But because fats dont raise blood sugar and have a very minimal impact on insulin, they can actually stimulate ketosis, the fat-burning process.
Who Can Use Intermittent Fasting
Is fasting an option for children who need to lose weight?
Fasting is not an option for children. My advice is to severely restrict added sugars and snacking. Reducing down to 2 meals per day is also possible, but not longer duration fasting.
My daughter who is 31 and a healthy weight exercises four times a week. She wants to know if she can fast or is this not recommended for people who exercise?
Not only is it safe, but training in the fasted state has several theoretical benefits that many elite level athletes are using. So, yes, it is highly recommended.
Can women fast during pregnancy and after birth during breast feeding?
I dont advise fasting during pregnancy or breast feeding. There is a concern of nutrient deficiency which I think far outweighs any potential benefit.
How should intermittent fasting be used in conjunction with resistance training to maximize muscle growth and fat burning?
Should there be any differences between intermittent fasting on training days and non-training days? And during the fasting periods or days is it advisable to take supplements such as BCAAs to prevent muscle loss?
There are many different schedules. Most people fast for 24 hrs and then do their training this is called training in the fasted state. Since growth hormone is high, you theoretically will recover and build muscle faster in this state.
How appropriate is intermittent fasting for teenagers?
Not Drinking Enough When Intermittent Fasting
Staying hydrated is an important part of IF. Remember, your body is not taking in the water that would be consumed with food. Because of this, side effects can derail you if you are not careful. Headaches, muscle cramps, and intense feelings of hunger can quickly appear if you allow yourself to become dehydrated.
To avoid this mistake and ward off annoying symptoms like cramping and headaches, include the following in your day:
- Water and 1-2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
- Black coffee
- Black, herbal, oolong, or green tea
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Does Bone Broth Break A Fast Veggie Broth
Dr. Jason Fung is one of the biggest proponents of using broth during fasting. Why? He doesnt want you to have headaches and adverse effects from low sodium levels.
He also recommends full 36 hour fasts with no meals. That means skipping an entire day of eating. For instance, you eat dinner monday, skip all meals and food on Tuesday, then resume eating Wednesday for breakfast.
If you do that it may help to have some broth.
Will it stop autophagy and other benefits of fasting? Yes.
Will it stop weight loss if youre following Fungs plan? Absolutely not.
The goal of your fasting always gives your answer.
Could Leaving 12 Hours Between Dinner And Breakfast Benefit Health
Whether youre trying to lengthen your night-time break from eating by having an earlier dinner or later breakfast, or going a step further and following an intermittent fasting plan, some scientists believe there are benefits beyond weight-loss to giving your digestive system a break. They argue that for many people it can improve metabolic and overall health.
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Not Exercising When Intermittent Fasting
Some people think they cant exercise when in a period of IF, when in fact, its the ideal scenario. Exercise helps you use up stored fat. Additionally, the Human Growth Hormone is increased as you work out, helping you to build muscle. However, there are tips to follow to maximize your workouts.
To get the best results from your efforts, keep these points in mind:
- Time your workouts for during the eating periods and then eat healthy carbs and proteins within 30 minutes of the exercise
- If the type of exercise is intense, make sure you eat before so that your glycogen stores are available
- Base your exercise on the fasting method if you are doing a 24 hour fast, do not plan an intensive activity that day
- Stay hydrated during the fast and especially during the workout
- Listen to your bodys signals if you feel weak or light-headed, take a break or conclude the workout
Mistake #: Youre Eating Too Many Calories
“Does anyone else eat like crazy right when the fast is over and is it normal to have a huge appetite during the feeding period? It is hard for me to get full after a 20 hour fast and I just eat the whole 4 hours. LOL.”
Id venture to guess that this person is eating more calories than whats needed in that 4-hour window. So instead of laughing your way through a marathon all-you-can-eat session, plan for how youll break your fast. Stock up on high-protein foods and/or high-fiber foods . Theyll not only fill you up, but will keep you feeling full.
“If I do a 20:4 fast then I should consume 1500-2000 calories within four hours? Am I understanding this correctly?”
Technically, yes. But depending on a persons body size, eating 2,000 calories in a 4-hour window might not yield any weight loss. I dont know this persons size, though. Now, most people lose weight on 1,500 calories, but one of the pros of IF is that its hard to eat a ton of calories in a short window of time. For some, following IF is an easier way to cut calories and lose weight than simply following a traditional calorie-restricted diet. So if you cant hit the 1,500- or 2,000-calorie mark in 4 hours every day, its OK. If falling below 1,200 calories a day becomes a regular habit, though, reconsider your diet plan. If youre not sure how many calories youre consuming, track them in a free app like MyFitnessPal.
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Food And Drinks That Contain Calories
Strictly speaking, any amount of calories will break a fast.
If a person follows a strict fasting schedule, they should avoid any food or drinks containing calories.
Those following a modified fasting diet can often eat up to 25% of their daily calorie needs while fasting.
With this in mind, it is important to know how many calories a person needs while avoiding food and drinks that exceed their total daily limit.
Some certain supplements and foods are generally within the limits of several fasting methods, including the below.
Can You Drink Coffee While Fasting
Coffee has about 3 calories per cup. So technically, for all the purists out there, Im going to admit that coffee does break your fast because your body has to process it once it enters your stomach. But again, its not a big deal because coffee keeps your body in ketosis. Again, if youre trying to lose weight, thats what we want.
Theres actually a lot of studies that shows coffee increases the production of ketones. Plus, its delicious. Its the exact same thing with drinking green tea while fasting. Green tea is actually full of something called Catechins which is a very powerful antioxidant. Plus, people have been drinking tea for thousands of years. Long story short, tea is good for you whether youre fasting or not. Thats why you often hear that black coffee and tea are the recommended drinks whenever you fast.
The other thing that plays into this is drinking coffee and tea increases adherence when youre fasting. They make fasting easier. Your success when it comes to dieting and achieving a successful weight loss transformation is all about adherence. Adherence is everything. It doesnt matter to me that you have the best weight loss strategy on the planet. If its hard to adhere to, youre not going to stick to it. Youre going to quit because it sucks.
But this is where you draw the line in the sand when it comes to figuring out how many calories break a fast.
But then I saw an arbitrary number floating around.
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Added Ingredients Could Reduce Fasting Benefits
Although coffee alone isnt likely to break your fast, added ingredients could.
Loading up your cup with high-calorie additives like milk and sugar can disrupt intermittent fasting, limiting the benefits of this dietary pattern.
Many popular health and media outlets claim that you wont break your fast as long as you stay under 5075 calories during each fasting window. However, no scientific evidence backs these claims.
Instead, you should consume as few calories as possible while fasting.
For instance, lattés, cappuccinos, and other high-calorie or sweetened coffee drinks should be off-limits during your fasting windows.
While black coffee is the best choice, if you have to add something, 1 teaspoon of heavy cream or coconut oil would be good options, as theyre unlikely to significantly alter your blood sugar levels or total calorie intake.
You Are Unknowingly Breaking Your Fast
Foods that are close to zero calories, such as chewing gum or celery, can still trigger your digestive system and affect your appetite control. If you are asking yourself, how many calories break a fast? Well, the answer is any amount.
You may want to avoid products containing:
- Sugars or sugar alcohols: include maltodextrin and pectin, sugar coating on tablets, and alcoholic beverages.
- Artificial sweeteners: such as xylitol in chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, and diet sodas or zero-calorie drinks.
If you are struggling particularly in this aspect, you will be pleased to know that some food and beverages may contain small amounts of calories that may still effectively break your fast but still keep your body in ketosis.
Unknowingly taking in large amounts may affect your fat-burning ability, but small amounts of these food consumed will not stop ketosis:
- Coffee and tea: ideally black coffee or black tea with minimal sugar, or with a splash of milk, cream, or unsweetened almond milk .
- Healthy fats: some drink coffee with coconut oil or grass-fed butter while they are fasting.
- Diluted apple cider vinegar: some people take a few spoonfuls claiming it can prevent dehydration and curb cravings.
- Bone broth: is nutrient-dense and made by simmering animal connective tissues and bones with water and a little apple cider vinegar. Bone broth is rich in calcium and other minerals and high in vitamins.
How Much Weight Can You Lose On 1: 8 Diet
To lose weight on the 16:8 diet, its important to match the fasting with healthy eating and exercise. If done so correctly, theres a typical weight loss of around seven to 11 pounds over a ten week period. This is according to a review of 40 different studies published in Molecular and Cellular Endocrincology who found that on average, someone weighing just over 90kg would lose 5% of their total body weight in the ten week period.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Healthy Eating revealed that the 16:8 diet plan can help people lose weight, without having to count calories as the 8-hour fast produces the same kind of calorific restriction and weight loss.
However, whether theres a distinct weight loss advantage achieved on the 16:8 diet compared to other diets remains to be seen. Some studies have demonstrated that theres almost no difference between people who do intermittent fasting compared those who count calories and cut back on unhealthy food.
Using Bcaas With Exercise During Intermittent Fasting
Exercise and intermittent fasting make for a great combo to gain some lean muscle. And, this is where you need the BCAAs. Why?
Intermittent fasting implies an extended window period between fasting and eating times. And, exercising in the fasting period can mean more difficulty in retaining energy and stamina.
During exercise on an empty stomach in the fasting period, the body uses the fat stores and breaks down proteins too, for energy. While the burning of excess fat stores is healthy, protein losses can affect the entire functioning of the body.
Quick replenishing of proteins is easily accomplished with the use of BCAAs. BCAA fasted training may be more effective due to the timely nourishment of amino acids.
Taking BCAA both prior and after your workouts, ensures you retain the fasting window to the maximum benefit. BCAA fasted training may also ensure better endurance, lower muscle damage, and increased lean muscle content while retaining fat loss. ,
Summary: Exercise during intermittent fasting can lead to both weight loss and lean muscle growth. To avoid protein losses, BCAAs may be used to replenish protein stores and promote endurance in fasted-training periods.
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What Shouldnt Break A Fast
If youre going to be very strict about your fast, if youre the kind of rock-solid guy that doesnt move an inch on its principles and want the real thing, those foods arent for you. Either they contain a certain amount of calories or the science is not perfectly clear on their effect on a fasted body.
But if youre ready to experiment and think about the benefits of some of them , you could try and see if it fits you.
Insufficient Evidence Yet Say Some Scientists
Various studies, including The New England Journal of Medicine study, have suggested intermittent fasting might also be useful in treating some conditions, including Alzheimers disease and Parkinsons disease, slowing the growth of some types of cancer, improving tissue damage repair and enhancing athletic performance.
Krista Varady, Professor of Nutrition at the University of Illinois, Chicago and a world expert in intermittent fasting for weight-loss, says theres good evidence to show the every other day and 5:2 diets are the most effective fasting patterns for weight-loss and health benefits. With time-restricted feeding, the weight-loss seems to be a little less effective, about half as much as the other two. But she urges caution about the benefits. Many of the claims about the benefits of intermittent fasting are overblown, she says. A lot of the results of studies in animals just havent been replicated in humans.
Emerging evidence suggests that regular periods of fasting may have health benefits beyond weight-loss, but the science is not yet proven. Intermittent diets are not suitable for people at risk of, or with a history of, eating disorders. Diabetics and those other with a pre-existing medical condition should seek medical advice before going on any form of fasting.
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Will Lemon Water Break Your Fast
Is lemon water safe to drink while fasting? In strict terms, consuming any number of calories will break a fast. That said, human metabolism is complex and doesnt operate like an on-and-off switch . In reality, drinking plain lemon water, which contains minimal calories, is unlikely to affect your fast.
Does Bulletproof Coffee Break Your Fast
Technically speaking yes, bulletproof coffee prepared with oil and/ or butter can add up to 200 kcal and hence break your fast. Yet, if your goal with intermittent fasting is to sustain ketosis and burn fat, consuming MCT oil or other fats have shown not to interfere with this process. For this reason, it is allowed as part of Bulletproof fasting. Keep in mind, though, that fats are incredibly high in calories and could easily add up this is the main reason why we dont recommend it during our 21 Day Intermittent Fasting challenge.
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Does Intermittent Fasting Negatively Impact Your Metabolism
Siim Land mentions a good point in his video. Through skipping meals, such as during intermittent fasting, theres the belief that you could hurt your metabolism in the end, slowing it. As you may know, those with sluggish metabolisms often have a more difficult time losing weight compared to someone with a faster metabolism.
Is this what youre in for if you begin intermittent fasting? It could be. Siim Land says your total body expenditure can end up dropping if you also lessen non-exercise activity thermogenesis during your fast.
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis refers to anything you do thats not exercising. From going shopping to gardening, raking up the yard, walking your dog, mowing the lawn, or ascending a flight of stairs, these are all examples of non-exercise activity thermogenesis. There are countless other examples as well.
When you dont have as much energy because youre eating less, you may unintentionally do less in your life. This reduces your non-exercise activity thermogenesis. By continuing this behavior, yes, its possible you could end up slowing down your metabolism. However, being aware of what youre doing is half the battle here.
You wont have as much energy as usual while fasting, and you shouldnt ever force yourself, but do try to engage in more non-exercise activity thermogenesis.