Whats The Best Protocol For Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, there is no best protocol the best protocol is one you can stick with. You might want to keep your fasting window to a minimum. Or, you may prefer fasting for the majority of your day.
Common intermittent fasting protocols are:
- The 16:8 Method: Fast for 16 hours and eat all of your days food within eight hours, seven days a week.
- The 23:1 or One Meal a Day Diet: Fast for 23 hours and eat one meal a day in a one-hour window.
- The 5:2 or Fast Diet: Eat as you typically would for five days and limit daily calories to 500-600 for two days in order to fast.
- Eat, Stop, Eat: Similar to the Alternate Day Fast, but you choose to fast for an entire day once or twice per week and return to your routine eating habits the other days.
For an in-depth look at the various types of intermittent fasting protocols, check out this guide to learn more about which regimen might fit for you.
What Is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has become the most popular form of fasting worldwide due to its scientifically proven benefits.
It involves eating within a certain period and fasting for the rest of the day.
There are various forms of intermittent fasting, but the most popular is fasting within a time window of around 16 hours.
Thereby, you eat only between noon and 8 PM. This way, your body can fast for 16 hours out of 24 hours with an 8-hour eating period in between.
The fasting period ensures that your whole digestive tract rests for another 8 hours a day after 8 hours of sleep .
To start classic 16/8 intermittent fasting, all you need to do is skip breakfast.
Contrary to popular belief, breakfast is the most important meal of the day only for the food industry due to the energy boost from hormone release in the morning.
However, those who have exceptional work schedules can just as easily skip dinner or lunch and be successful. This flexibility is one of the main advantages of intermittent fasting.
Unlike other diet trends, intermittent fasting is all about less, not more. As soon as you skip a meal, youre already practicing it. Health can be that simple!
In addition to 16/8 intermittent fasting, the following intermittent fasting protocols are widely used:
Intermittent Fasting May Affect Men And Women Differently
There is some evidence that intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for some women as it is for men.
One study showed that blood sugar control actually worsened in women after three weeks of intermittent fasting, which was not the case in men .
There are also many anecdotal stories of women who have experienced changes to their menstrual cycles after starting intermittent fasting.
Such shifts occur because female bodies are extremely sensitive to calorie restriction.
When calorie intake is low such as from fasting for too long or too frequently a small part of the brain called the hypothalamus is affected.
This can disrupt the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone , a hormone that helps release two reproductive hormones: luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone (
For these reasons, women should consider a modified approach to intermittent fasting, such as shorter fasting periods and fewer fasting days.
Intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for women as it is for men. To reduce any adverse effects, women should take a mild approach to fasting: shorter fasts and fewer fasting days.
Intermittent fasting not only benefits your waistline but may also lower your risk of developing a number of chronic diseases.
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Fasting May Improve Brain Health
The Warrior Diet is promoted as a way to improve brain health.
There may be some truth to that based on scientific studies on intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting has been found to benefit the regulation of inflammatory pathways that affect your brain function.
For example, animal studies have shown that intermittent fasting reduced inflammatory markers like interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha , which may negatively impact memory and learning (
However, research in this area is ongoing and more human studies are needed to determine the benefits of intermittent fasting on brain health.
What Should You Eat
Most diets focus on eating healthy foods, and intermittent fasting is no exception.
Do keep in mind that your body needs nutrients to function optimally. When you eat junk and processed foods that are not nutritious, you wont be able to lose weight.
During your eating period, you should eat and drink:
- Probiotics like yogurt
- Fermented foods and drinks such as sauerkraut
If you follow an intermittent fasting routine, avoid eating a lot of red meat and alcohol. If you must, restrict your meat intake to once in a while and drink wine instead of other alcohol. Also, avoid eating sweet foods and desserts as much as possible for the best results. In case your nutritional needs are not met by your diet, do take some vitamin and mineral supplements.
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Can I Do Intermittent Fasting And Lose Weight Without Exercise
Also, exercise is by no means a must for losing weight with intermittent fasting. As long as insulin levels are not lowered by fasting or diet, exercise cannot immediately help burn fat.
Finally, insulin blocks the enzyme that breaks down body fat .
Exercise gives you one thing above all: Appetite. Therefore, people who base their diets on refined carbohydrates will gain rather than lose weight through excessive exercise.
In addition, constant eating and high insulin levels can cause muscle mass to be lost instead of body fat. This way, people reduce their basal metabolic rate.
We also know this negative spiral as yo-yo dieting.
A study involving the weight-loss TV show The Biggest Loser participants demonstrated this very fact.
In this study, the weak metabolic rate persisted longest in those who lost the most weight during calorie restriction.
Consequently, these participants rapidly regained weight after conventional caloric restriction .
The longer your fasting periods, the less exercise you need to do to lose weight. Ultimately, the increased growth hormone release preserves muscle mass and stimulates muscle growth .
Therefore, experienced intermittent fasting enthusiasts can gain partial muscle mass with One Meal a Day by doing a few minutes of weight training weekly.
May Smooth Your Path To Ketosis
Intermittent fasting may help your body reach ketosis quicker than the keto diet alone.
Thats because your body, when fasting, maintains its energy balance by shifting its fuel source from carbs to fats the exact premise of the keto diet .
For anyone who struggles to reach ketosis while on a keto diet, adding intermittent fasting may effectively jumpstart your process.
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So Is Intermittent Fasting As Good As It Sounds
I was very curious about this, so I asked the opinion of metabolic expert Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Here is what she told me. “There is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period of the daytime, is effective,” she confirmed, though generally she recommends that people “use an eating approach that works for them and is sustainable to them.”
So, heres the deal. There is some good scientific evidence suggesting that circadian rhythm fasting, when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be a particularly effective approach to weight loss, especially for people at risk for diabetes.
Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss: How To Get Best Results
Youve seen countless before and after photos and read success stories and wonder if intermittent fasting is that good for weight loss? Then youve come to the right place!
Properly applied, intermittent fasting can bring about extraordinary weight loss success. Here you can find out exactly how it works and which health benefits you may unleash, based on current studies.
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Intermittent Fasting Plans That Work For Weight Loss
There are many different styles of intermittent fasting, from the fairly extreme to the relatively effortless but all have one basic thing in common: you abstain from food for a certain number of hours out of the day and fit all of your eating into the remaining time. Its really that simple.
Which protocol you choose is a matter of personal choice. Heres what each fasting protocol is in a nutshell:
- 16:8 schedule: For 16 hours of the day you fast, then fit all of your eating into an 8-hour window. For most people, this simply means doing without breakfast and not snacking after dinner. This is one of the most popular forms of intermittent fasting.
- 14:10 schedule: You fast for 14 hours, and eat during the remaining 10. May be more suitable than other schedules for women or for people who are new to intermittent fasting.
- 5:2 diet: For five days of the week, you eat as you normally would. On the other two, you consume no more than 500 calories if youre a woman or 600 if youre a man.
- OMAD: An acronym for One Meal A Day, this is just what it sounds like you limit yourself to one meal per day. This is one of the most restrictive forms of intermittent fasting. Not recommended for those who are new to fasting.
- Alternate day fasting: Again, this is just what it sounds like you alternate days of normal eating with days of complete fasting or extreme calorie restriction. Also not recommended for those new to fasting or for women.
Should You Do Intermittent Fast Every Day
If you can follow a daily intermittent fasting schedule, your body gets used to the cycle, and you may not feel as hungry as you do when you start. Your body adapts to the change in eating patterns.
Lets face it we are used to eating several times a day. And if you gradually ease into intermittent fasting, you will find it gets easier.
However, suppose you feel that you simply cannot do this. In that case, you can try expanding your eating window to 12 or 14 hours and eating a lot of vegetables and fruits, which are filling and yet not very calorific.
Do you find this very restricting? Then opt for skipping meals occasionally. Whatever method you adopt, know that eating fewer calories and eating healthier will enable you to lose weight and improve your health.
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Slim Down Your Supper
Most Americans consume almost 45 percent of their total daily calories at dinner and in an after-dinner snack. A healthier goal, Sears says, is 30 percent. Thats 600 calories for someone who usually eats 2,000 calories a day. For example, in 2013, Israeli researchers looked at the effects of eating a small dinner and a large breakfast vs. a large dinner and a small breakfast in a study involving 93 overweight women. Both groups ate the same lunch and the same overall number of calories. After 12 weeks, those who ate the lighter dinners lost more weight, had a smaller waist, and had better metabolic profiles than the women in the other group.
One way to downsize the dinners that you prepare is to make them the healthiest meal of the day. Try eating lots of vegetables, which are naturally low in calories, suggests Courtney M. Peterson, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. That means you can eat a large portion so that youre not hungry afterward and still consume fewer than 600 calories. The fiber from those foods will also help you feel fuller.
And if you dont overdo it on calories in the evening, Peterson says, you can afford to have a bigger breakfast and lunch, when your body is primed for food processing.
Frequently Asked Questions Concerns And Complaints
Im a woman. Should I do anything differently?
I havent worked with women on implementing an intermittent fasting schedule, so I cant speak from experience on this one.
That said, I have heard that women may find a wider window of eating to be more favorable when doing daily intermittent fasting. While men will typically fast for 16 hours and then eat for 8 hours, women may find better results by eating for 10 hours and fasting for 14 hours. The best advice I can give anyone, not just women, is to experiment and see what works best for you. Your body will give you signals. Follow what your body responds favorably to.
Also, if youre a female, there is an allfemale page on Facebook that discusses intermittent fasting. Im sure you could find a ton of great answers and support there.
I could never skip breakfast. How do you do it?
I dont. Breakfast foods are my favorite, so I just eat them at 1pm each day.
Also, if you eat a big dinner the night before, I think youll be surprised by how much energy you have in the morning. Most of the worries or concerns that people have about intermittent fasting are due to the fact that they have had it pounded into them by companies that they need to eat breakfast or they need to eat every three hours and so on. The science doesnt support it and neither do my personal experiences.
I thought you were supposed to eat every 3 hours?
Here’s why this was a popular idea for a brief period of time:
Here’s the problem:
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Isnt It Important To Have Breakfast Every Morning
Not necessarily. This appears to be an old misconception, based on speculation and statistics, and it does not hold up when its tested.57 Skipping your morning meal gives your body more time to burn fat for energy. Since hunger is lowest in the morning, it may be easiest to skip it and break your fast later in the day.58
Goals Should Be Documented
The second of our Intermittent Fasting Tips is to use a planner. It could be your computer, phone, or notebook. Committing thoughts to words is freeing and immediately makes you accountable to yourself. Theres no point in just leaving ideas bouncing around in your head.
Its wonderful to cross things off your list. Seeing your accomplishments is gratifying and motivating.
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How Long Is Long Enough When Fasting For Weight Loss
CHICAGO There are plenty of diets focusing on what you should and shouldnt eat. Fasting diets however, are all about not eating at all. The big question is: how long should you go without food to lose weight? A new clinical trial by researchers in Chicago reveals that longer bouts of fasting are not necessarily better than shorter ones.
Fasting diets, also known as time-restricted feeding diets, have proven effective in previous weight loss studies. During their experiment, the University of Illinois at Chicago instructed participants to follow a four-hour or six-hour fasting schedule. Those in the four-hour group only ate between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Those in the six-hour group could only eat between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Participants in both groups were allowed to eat whatever they wanted during their respective feeding windows. During the rest of the day, the dieters consumed only water and other calorie-free beverages. The researchers also monitored a control group, who maintained their normal diet and physical activity levels.
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.
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Intermittent Fasting Best Practices
Its vital to remember that intermittent fasting is ultimately only a tool, and its success as a weight loss diet is contingent upon how you use the strategy and your food and lifestyle choices. Gorging or overeating the second your eating window opens should be avoided, cautions Girgen. To reap the most benefits from intermittent fasting, you have to be mindful of diet quality. Focus on minimally processed whole foods such as high-quality meats and animal products, vegetables, and healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts, etc. Not sure what that looks like practically? Girgen has some advice: I like to recommend my clients follow the 80/20 rule: Eighty percent of what goes in your mouth is healthy, mostly whole food, and the remaining 20% is fun food. These proportions may be adjusted to 70/30 or 90/10, for example, depending on your metabolism and health goals, but the same principles apply.
As with any of the best diets, in order for intermittent fasting to be successful, you have to make it work for you in a sustainable way. Its key to listen to your body to determine if youre feeling better or worse as you play with your eating and fasting windows, and adjust accordingly. Remember, your metabolism, physiology, lifestyle, and preferences are unique, so what may work best for you may be different than what works best for someone else.