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?
Diabetics This Is For You Too
Zane works regularly with diabetic clients who believe intermittent fasting poses too much of a risk.
But as he explains, I dont know of a better way to control diabetes or reverse those symptoms than finding some way to introduce fasting.
Type 2 diabetes is a disease of elevated blood sugar, and intermittent fasting is an efficient way to lower and balance blood sugar levels through better eating strategies.
In my practice, I believe fasting might just be the greatest tool my patients have to improve their glycemic control. As long as its accomplished using a strategic, doctor-guided plan, diabetics may be able to use fasting to eliminate their reliance on medication and reduce the effects of diabetes.
Intermittent Fasting Increases Several Fat Burning Hormones
Hormones are chemicals that act as messengers. They travel through your body to coordinate complicated functions, such as growth and metabolism.
They also play an important role in the regulation of your weight. This is because they have a strong influence on your appetite, the number of calories you eat, and how much fat you store or burn .
Intermittent fasting has been linked to improvements in the balance of some fat burning hormones. This could make it a helpful tool for weight management.
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Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan 16/8
With standard 16/8 intermittent fasting, its really up to you which 16 out of 24 hours you decide not to eat.
The only crucial aspect, in my experience, is to fit the 8 hours of sleep into the fasting period. Because this way, you shorten the fast to 8 hours a day. And thats only half the effort.
For this reason, it makes little sense to skip lunch. Nevertheless, some people have successfully managed to do this because of their particular daily routine.
However, if you follow a regular 9-to-5 schedule at work, you will probably have more success skipping breakfast or dinner.
Since most people like to eat in the evening in the company of their loved ones, skipping breakfast has largely proven to be the best approach.
Moreover, according to countless experiences, this approach is the most sustainable and easiest way for beginners to start intermittent fasting.
Level Of Effort: Hard
Limitations: Its not easy to skip most of your calories a few days a week and rely mostly on water, coffee, and tea to keep you feeling full. Youll need a balanced meal plan to eat in moderation on your so-called “feast” days, despite their name. You can indulge in a treat occasionally, but that’s about it if you want to see results.
Cooking and shopping: You can continue your regular cooking and shopping, as long as you stick to mostly healthy foods.
Packaged food and meals? No.
In-person meetings: No.
Exercise: How much you exercise is up to you. But obviously, youre not going to have a lot of energy for that on your fasting days. The creators of the Every Other Day diet studied people doing cardiovascular exercise while on the alternate-day fasting plan and found that they were able to maintain muscle mass while fasting.
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Recommended Intermittent Fasting Schedule For Beginners
Here at 21 Day Hero we always recommend starting with the most popular and beginner-friendly method Intermittent Fasting 16/8.
For our 21-day Intermittent Fasting Challenge, we recommend easing into Intermittent Fasting by starting with 12h of fasting and 12h of eating and adding one fasting hour each day until you reach the desired 16/8 schedule.
See the image below with two examples of how your first week of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting and your Intermittent Fasting hours could look like.
Note: 16/8 also happens to be the most popular method among celebrities. If you are curious to know how they practice fasting and what are the main benefits , check out our blog post on How to do Intermittent Fasting According to 40 Famous People.
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
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Is Intermittent Fasting Safe
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.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe And Healthy
Yes, intermittent fasting does havea lot of benefits. We talk about them in our 21-Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge a lot.
In general, Intermittent Fasting is safe for most people, but you have to know the risks too.
It is also a good time to say that this article should and does not intend to replace advice from your doctor and you should always consult your physician before planning any fasting and especially extended fasting .
Now that we made it clear, here are some of the cases that does not go well with intermittent fasting:
- if you have a diabetes
- if you take medications for blood pressure or heart disease
- if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- if you have a history of disordered eating
- if you dont sleep well
- if you are under 18 years old
Also, you should be a lot more careful if you are practicing extended fasting, which depending on the source you follow will be continuous fasting for either anything more than 24, 48 or 72 hours. There is a general consensus that any fasts longer than 72 hours should be done under strict medical supervision.
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Intermittent Fasting Is Not A Magic Pill
Whether you are doing IF, keto, low carb, high protein, vegetarian, the Mediterranean diet you name it it all comes down to the quality of your calories and how much youre consuming.
The bottom line with IF? Although the jury is still out and long-term effects are still being studied, its crucial to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet while following IF.
You cant eat junk food and excessive calories on non-fasting days and expect to lose weight, says Taylor.
Overeating And Potential Weight Gain
Restricting your intake to just 8 hours per day may cause some people to eat more than usual during eating periods in an attempt to make up for hours spent fasting. This may lead to weight gain, digestive problems, and unhealthy eating habits.
Interestingly, current research doesnt suggest that intermittent fasting leads to any more weight loss than typical diets that recommend overall calorie restriction. Both eating patterns may lead to modest weight loss .
If weight loss is your primary goal, you may therefore prefer to lower your calorie intake instead of fasting intermittently to prevent the overeating that may occur when restricting intake to a certain time window.
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Intermittent Fasting Is Not For Everyone
While the practice is generally acceptable for most adults, there are some people who shouldnt fast for prolonged periods of time. Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding, for instance, require continuous nutrients and should be eating more continuously. Those with conditions like diabetes that requires them to be on insulin and the elderly who are at risk of getting dizzy and falling should also refrain. Check with your doctor before starting a fasting plan, says Weinandy.
Best Times For Intermittent Fasting
One of the first things I searched for when researching was how many hours Id have to actually go without food. There are several options, so it can get overwhelming rather quickly. You dont want to starve yourself, obviously, but you need to make sure youre eating during a specific window of time or its not going to give you the results youre after.
Here are a few of the most popular options for intermittent fasting:
16/8 Fast for 16 hours, eat for 8. If youre naturally one who skips breakfast, this is going to be pretty easy for you. Stop eating at 8pm, then start eating again at noon the next day. You can still eat 2 or 3 meals during this 8 hour window, and have enough energy to kill your workout!
20/4 Fast for 20 hours, eat for 4. Also known as the Warrior Diet, fasting for 20 hours and eating for 4 can be extremely effective once you get past the initial hunger stage. During the 20 hour fast, you are allowed to eat vegetables so you wont be starving by any means, but it can take some getting used to. Read more about the Warrior Diet.
5:2 Eat normally for 5 days, eat 500 calories for 2 days. For most people, the 5:2 intermittent fasting wont be too difficult. However, you may find yourself especially fatigued on your low calorie days.
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How Gender Impacts Your Fasting Routine
From a biological standpoint, gender can impact the success of intermittent fasting. Male and female body composition and metabolic systems are different from each other. Physical activity, hormone levels, caloric intake, and fasting impact each of us differently.
Due to these reasons, males tend to benefit from fasting more than females. Females also should not focus on long-term fasting or drastic reduction in caloric intake.
Over thousands of years, the genetic makeup of females benefits most from the constant intake of high-quality calories, which eliminates such fasting regimes as 20:4 fasting from a female routine. The optimal amount of fasting would be 14 hours per day.
For males, skipping breakfast or skipping a day of eating might be just what the doctor recommended.
In both cases, the most important thing is to avoid hangriness, a state when you become very upset while hungry. The key here is to balance out your meals and eat highly nutritious meals throughout the eating window.
Generally, try to eat high-protein and high-fiber dishes to stay satiated for longer.
Is It Good For Certain Conditions
Some research shows that this type of diet may curb symptoms of asthma. Also, some studies, but not all, show improvement in the bodys use of insulin.
If you have medical conditions, talk with your doctor before you try intermittent fasting.
This diet is not recommended for children, pregnant women, people with eating disorders, and some people with diabetes.
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Balancing The Meals No Snacks Between
So when you decide to start intermittent fasting first review your previous days. How many meals did you have? How many snacks did you have?
It’s okay if you have no idea, if you don’t remember or if it all seemed like just eating all the time. That’s the usual situation because people today have very busy lives.
For the beginning just spread 3 meals throughout your whole day and don’t have any snacks. Take 3 normal meals, like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t pay much attention to what you eat, although you should get the sweats and sugars out because they will make you crave and binge eat after you start fasting.
Make sure you drink a minimum of 8 cups of water every day. This phase should not last longer than 4 days, but if you need more time to adapt, that’s fine.
Cons Of Intermittent Fasting
Theres no way around it: starting regular fasting is hard. Its not for everyone either, especially if you have certain health conditions or predispositions. Explore some of the reasons why fasting may not be the best choice.
- Difficult hunger pangs. Depending on your body and needs, it may be more difficult to get past the initial hurdle of hunger and make this into a consistent habit.
- Not great for pregnant or nursing women. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not attempt to fast, as their bodies are under increased caloric and physical demands.
- Not great for the sick. As with any change in diet, you should consult your doctor to see if fasting is right for you. Fasting can interfere with various medical conditions, such as kidney and liver diseases.
- Affects disordered eating. Fasting is not recommended for those with a history of eating disorders. Extended fasting can lead to dangerous complications and health problems.
- Not too different from other calorie-cutting plans. A study found that of 100 overweight people assigned to one of three eating plans, those assigned a calorie-cutting diet and those who fasted fared about the same when it came to weight loss.
- High dropout rate. The same study found that 38 percent of those assigned to the fasting regimen gave up on the diet.
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Does It Have Benefits
The Warrior Diet does not have any research to back up its exact methods, but intermittent fasting does.
Though the Warrior Diet is a bit more extreme than other, more common types of intermittent fasting like the 16:8 method , its simply a stricter version of this method.
For this reason, one could argue that the benefits linked to intermittent fasting also apply to the Warrior Diet.
Safety And Side Effects
Hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting.
You may also feel weak and your brain may not perform as well as youre used to.
This may only be temporary, as it can take some time for your body to adapt to the new meal schedule.
If you have a medical condition, you should consult with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting.
This is particularly important if you:
- Have diabetes.
- Have a history of eating disorders.
- Are a woman who is trying to conceive.
- Are a woman with a history of amenorrhea.
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
All that being said, intermittent fasting has an outstanding safety profile. There is nothing dangerous about not eating for a while if youre healthy and well-nourished overall.
The most common side effect of intermittent fasting is hunger. People with certain medical conditions should not fast without consulting with a doctor first.
Here are answers to the most common questions about intermittent fasting.
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May Lead To More Fat Loss
Combining the diet and the fast may help you burn more fat than the diet alone.
Because intermittent fasting boosts metabolism by promoting thermogenesis, or heat production, your body may start utilizing stubborn fat stores .
Several studies reveal that intermittent fasting can powerfully and safely drop excess body fat.
In an eight-week study in 34 resistance-trained men, those who practiced the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting lost nearly 14% more body fat than those following a normal eating pattern .
Similarly, a review of 28 studies noted that people who used intermittent fasting lost an average of 7.3 pounds more fat mass than those following very low-calorie diets .
Plus, intermittent fasting may preserve muscle mass during weight loss and improve energy levels, which may be helpful for keto dieters looking to improve athletic performance and drop body fat .
Additionally, studies underscore that intermittent fasting can reduce hunger and promote feelings of fullness, which may aid weight loss .
Combining intermittent fasting with a keto diet may help you reach ketosis faster and drop more body fat than a keto diet alone.
Combining the ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting is likely safe for most people.
However, pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with a history of disordered eating should avoid intermittent fasting.
Though some people may find merging the practices helpful, its important to note that it may not work for everyone.