Youre Not Changing What You Eat
One of the benefits of IF is that a greater focus on timing can include a pivot away from unhealthy foods you may have fallen into eating mindlessly as a late-night snack, for example. But if youre simply moving those not-so-healthy choices to earlier in the day, its likely that IF wont be much of a health booster.
Popular Ways To Do Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has recently become a health trend. Devotees claim it can cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, and maybe even extend life span.
Every method can be effective, but figuring out which one works best depends on the individual.
Several methods of this eating pattern exist. But before embarking on an intermittent fast or deciding how often to fast, you should speak with a healthcare professional.
Here are 6 popular ways to do intermittent fasting.
Its Inappropriate For Many People
The Warrior Diet is not a way of eating that everyone should follow.
This type of intermittent fasting is inappropriate for many people, including:
Some women may be able to fast intermittently without negative effects. However, some may experience unpleasant side effects like insomnia, anxiety, missed periods and reproductive health disturbances.
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Intermittent Fasting: Surprising Update
- By Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributor
Theres a ton of incredibly promising intermittent fasting research done on fat rats. They lose weight, their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars improve but theyre rats. Studies in humans, almost across the board, have shown that IF is safe and effective, but really no more effective than any other diet. In addition, many people find it difficult to fast.
But a growing body of research suggests that the timing of the fast is key, and can make IF a more realistic, sustainable, and effective approach for weight loss, as well as for diabetes prevention.
My Initial Fasting Experience
Knowing the potential health benefits of intermittent fasting for women, I was eager to give it a try. Unfortunately, I failed MISERABLY at my first attempt. Lets just say I did NOT experience increased energy and clear-mindedness.
The first day I under-ate and couldnt sleep for hunger pangs. The next day, tired and cranky, I overate with the veracity of a starved animal. Thats when my hunger and hormone roller coaster began. And after one full week of this, I had to quit.
As a physician I wondered if other women had experienced something similar. And when I searched the internet, I discovered that, across message boards, blogs and online communities, women were complaining about intermittent fasting and its effect on their hormones. In fact, there was scientific literature that supported all of our experiences.
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Women Intermittent Fasting What You Need To Know
As mentioned above, studies have started to show the benefits of women intermittent fasting may not be as strong as mens. This is because of our bodys different hormones.
To think about it in caveman ways, if you were to go into starvation mode your bodys reaction is going to be more radical than a mans because of the change of a potential pregnancy. So when you fast too long or too often, your hormones can get of whack.
Then the thing you were doing to feel better can make you feel worse. Going too extreme can mess with your endocrine system and other hormones.
Besides feeling HANGRY, you could also experience a hormonal imbalance if you keep on fasting.
Hormonal Imbalanced can cause:
- Irregular or loss of periods
- Slower Metabolism
- Fertility problems
- Sleep issues
Along with hormonal imbalances, extreme fasting can also worsen a womens ability to control blood sugar .
This is why we really focus on gentle intermittent fasting. Things are rarely ALL good or ALL bad its best to take them in moderation this included. You dont have to take an all or nothing approach.
Dont Set Out For Perfection Set Out With Determination
When starting something new and particularly difficult like fasting, leave perfectionism at the door. There is a huge chance that you may fail at first, so make peace with that possibility. Perfection is unattainable and therefore unrealistic. But determination the ability to pick yourself up and try again is a forgiving and encouraging mentality, and its one you need to have when trying IF!
When We Arrived We Went For A Hike In California’s Ao Nuevo State Park It Was Gorgeous And I Was Feeling Energized And Happy Despite The Fact That I’d Also Worked Out In The Morning And Had Hardly Eaten
Some of the intermittent fasters I spoke to told me that they prefer to workout in the middle of their fast since exercising in that state gives them more energy during heavy bouts of training.
The science doesn’t necessarily support this, however. In one large recent study, scientists reviewed several studies of Muslim athletes. They had been practicing one of the oldest forms of intermittent fasting abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan. The reviewers found that as long as the athletes ate the same number of calories and nutrients when they broke their fasts, their athletic performance didn’t suffer or improve during Ramadan.
Still, scientists agree that more research on fasting and athletes is needed.
Intermittent Fasting Can Be Hard But Maybe It Doesnt Have To Be
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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If You Want To Try Intermittent Fasting To Lose Weight Do These 7 Things
You’ve been hearing all about the reasons to try intermittent fasting . There are so many benefits, including weight loss, especially belly fat, reduced sugar cravings, more energy, and and you’re psyched to give it a try. Here’s what you need to know about how to start intermittent fasting so you can do it safely and have the best success.
What Are The Negative Effects Of Intermittent Fasting
In my own experimentation with Intermittent Fasting since 2014, I have found very few negative side effects with Intermittent Fasting.
The biggest concern most people have is that Intermittent Fasting will lead to lower energy, focus, and the holy crap I am hungry feeling during the fasting period and ruin them.
People are concerned that they will spend all morning being miserable because they havent consumed any food, and thus will be miserable at work and ineffective at whatever task it is they are working on.
The following are my thoughts and experiences, and your results may vary:
Yes, the initial transition from EATING ALL THE TIME, to intermittent fasting MIGHT be a bit of a jolt to your system it was for me.
However, once I got through the transition after a few days, my body quickly adapted and learned to function just as well only eating a few times a day.
Although I fast for 16 hours per day with no issues, the following might help assuage your fears that skipping breakfast will cause your body to eat itself and your brain to implode:
After 48-hours of fasting in a recent study , cognitive performance, activity, sleep, and mood are not adversely affected in healthy humans by two days of calorie-deprivation. Youll be fasting for far less time than that.
So why do I feel grouchy and lethargic when I skip breakfast?
If you eat breakfast every morning, your body expects to wake up and eat food.
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It Could Lead To Disordered Eating
The Warrior Diet places an emphasis on overeating, which could be problematic for many people.
Though Ori Hofmekler argues that one should know to stop eating when you feel pleasantly satisfied, this may not translate into healthy eating practices for everyone.
The Warrior Diet could lead to binging and purging behaviors, especially in those at risk of developing disordered eating.
Binging on large quantities of food may also lead to feelings of regret and shame, which can negatively impact mental health and body image.
What Happens To Your Body While Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting may be beneficial because of several chemical and hormonal reactions that happen when your body cant use food for fuel.
- Increased human growth hormone : With more HGH, your body may boost fat loss and muscle gain.
- Better insulin sensitivity: Research indicates that insulin levels are lower for people who fast, and low insulin levels allow your body to more easily access stored fat for energy. This can lead to weight loss.
- Cellular repair: During intermittent fasting, your cells enter a process called autophagy during which they remove protein build-up and dead or damaged cell components.
- Changes to gene expression: This process may impact how your body develops certain conditions and diseases by prolonging the health of the nervous system.
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What Is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a dietary approach that focuses on time-restricted eating – fluctuating between specific periods of fasting and allowed eating time. Fasting encourages our body to rely more on burning fat for fuel, releasing ketone bodies into our bloodstream.
At first glance, fasting may seem a bit odd, but in all reality, fasting has been around for a long time.
When you think about it we often fasted before the times of refrigeration and convenience food. Only in the past 50-60 years has it become more common to eat continually throughout the day, which isn’t always a good thing. Overeating and imbalanced diets play a large role in the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Intermittent fasting mainly focuses on when you eat but what you eat during your non-fasting period is just as important.
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 (
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Intermittent Fasting With Coffee And Tea
Cant start your day without coffee? Same. The good news is that when youre intermittent fasting, coffee and tea are finejust hold the milk and sugar.
Most experts agree that a cup of black coffee or tea wont dramatically impact your intermittent fasting results, even though youre technically breaking your fast by drinking a few calories. In fact, the caffeine can help suppress your appetite .
But if you want to maximize the benefits of autophagy, stay as close to zero calories as possible during your fasting window.
You also might have heard of Bulletproof intermittent fasting, or starting your day with a cup of Bulletproof Coffee: a creamy blend of grass-fed butter and Bulletproof Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil. This isnt a true fast. Its considered a fat fast, which means you wont spike your blood sugar. Youre only consuming quality fats, not carbs or tons of protein. The quality fats keep you full and energized, and the MCT oil kickstarts ketone production to help you stay in ketosis.
You might start your fast with strictly water to promote autophagy, then have a small cup of Bulletproof Coffee in the afternoon to get through the midday slump and burn fat for energy. Experiment to find what works for you.
What Is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
The practice of 16/8 intermittent fasting involves limiting your intake of foods and calorie-containing beverages to a set window of 8 hours per day. You abstain from food for the remaining 16 hours, though youre still allowed to drink water and other no-calorie beverages, like plain coffee or tea.
You can repeat this cycle as frequently as youd like from just once or twice per week to every day, depending on your preference.
The popularity of this fasting method has grown widely among those looking to lose weight and burn fat. 16/8 intermittent fasting is also believed to improve blood sugar control and enhance longevity.
While other diets often set strict rules, 16/8 intermittent fasting is easy to follow and may provide measurable results with minimal disruption to your diet. Its generally considered less restrictive and more flexible than many other diets and works with most lifestyles.
With 16/8 intermittent fasting, you restrict your food intake to an 8-hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours. This practice may support weight loss, improve blood sugar, and increase longevity.
It is simple, safe, and sustainable to do 16/8 intermittent fasting.
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Can I Exercise During Fasting
However, for long-duration aerobic exercise, eating before exercise may increase performance.39 Its also important to drink fluids and replenish sodium around exercise when fasting. This is good to know if youre competing. Learn more
What Is The Most Popular Way To Do Intermittent Fasting
The most popular way to intermittent fast is the 16/8 method also known as the Leangains Protocol. This involves counting your calories and limiting your food intake for 8 hours a day and fasting for the remaining 16. Within this 8-hour window, you should fill up on healthy nutrients and try to balance every meal with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and good sources of protein.
This method is popular because it is generally a lot less restrictive than other forms of dieting and requires minimal effort when considering the potential benefits. Because you will be fasting for long periods of time, you will have a lot less to think about. Counting calories during this method isn’t as pivotal as it is with other forms of dieting, either. If you are looking to do more extreme versions of fasting, this type would definitely be the best one to start with. As stated previously, however, please consult your doctor before embarking on this journey.
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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.
Does Intermittent Fasting Have Different Effects On Men And Women
The quick answer is: yes, Intermittent Fasting can affect men and women differently.
Anecdotally, we have many women in our online coaching program that swear by Intermittent Fasting, while others have had adverse effects.
Lets dig into the science and studies.
A recent PubMed summary concluded thatfasting can be prescribed as a safe medical intervention as well as a lifestyle regimen which can improve womens health in many folds .
Now, in that extract, many of the studies cited are focused on specifically calorie restriction , and they also say that future studies should address this gap by designing medically supervised fasting techniques to extract better evidence.
Digging into the PubMed Archives brought me to the following conclusions :
One small study resulted in the following: Glucose response to a meal was slightly impaired in women after 3 weeks of treatment, but insulin response was unchanged. Men had no change in glucose response and a significant reduction in insulin response.
Another small study studied the effects on their menstrual cycles after a 72 hour fast which is significantly longer than any fast recommended in this article: in spite of profound metabolic changes, a 72-hour fast during the follicular phase does not affect the menstrual cycle of normal cycling women..
Precision Nutrition a great resource recommends not attempting Intermittent Fasting as a woman if:
- youre pregnant
- you dont sleep well
- youre new to diet and exercise
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