Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Can intermittent fasting improve your health? Recent research has found that using intermittent fasting for weight loss may have some benefits in the short term.
It appears that fasting for a short time can produce ketosis, which is a process that occurs when the body doesn’t have enough glucose for energy, so it breaks down stored fat instead. This causes an increase in substances called ketones. This, coupled with fewer calories consumed overall, can lead to weight loss. Research suggests that alternate-day fasting is about as effective as a typical low-calorie diet for weight loss.
Fasting also affects metabolic processes in the body that may work to decrease inflammation, as well as improve blood sugar regulation and physical stress response. Some research shows this may improve conditions associated with inflammation like arthritis, asthma and multiple sclerosis.
Little long-term research has been done on intermittent fasting to examine how it affects people over time. As a result, long-term health benefits or risks are unknown.
What Exercises Should You Choose When Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
You’re likely wondering what exercises are best paired with your intermittent fasting routine, and which ones you should avoid. Dr. Bohl reveals that when intermittent fasting for weight loss, opt for cardio and other low-intensity activities. “These are exercises that primarily rely on burning fat for energy, so they can help with your goals,” he reveals. However, be careful when lifting weights while fasting. If you don’t “replenish your protein stores” after performing a weight lifting session, your body can break down proteins for fuel, and you can lose muscle mass.
Pros Of Intermittent Fasting
Researchers have already linked numerous health benefits with intermittent fasting and continue to examine them.
Plus, for some people, intermittent fasting fits well into their model of a healthy and sustainable long-term diet.
If youre wondering if intermittent fasting could be right for you, here are a few benefits that might pique your interest.
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Eat Often Or Intermittent Fasting
The main difference between eating less but more often and strict periods without meals is a hormonal change.
Accordingly, intermittent fasting shows a more potent reduction of insulin levels as well as insulin resistance, which enables better fat burning .
In addition to the growth hormone, which protects muscle mass, the hormone noradrenaline increases to boost metabolism during fasting .
In contrast to intermittent fasting, conventional calorie restriction leads to a loss of muscle mass. Also, the basal metabolic rate decreases if you eat less but frequently.
Consequently, a study with the participants of the weight-loss TV show The Biggest Loser revealed that those participants who lost the most weight through calorie restriction suffered the longest from a weak metabolism.
Since it was precisely these participants who were again rapidly gaining weight, scientists observed a severe yo-yo effect in them .
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But What If I Get Hangry
Hunger is normal during a fast, especially when you first start fasting. However, if you keep a set fasting schedule daily, youll probably find that you begin to not even feel hungry until near the end of your typical fasting window. You might also begin to relate to your hunger differently, recognizing true hunger from cravings.
But dont worry even on fasting days you get to eat some calories! Clinical trials of intermittent fasting typically involve having people eat up to 500 calories on fasting days of 24 hours. There are still scientifically validated benefits of having regular 500-calorie fasting days.
If you ever feel very hungry, hangry, irritable or light-headed during a fast, try the following:
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Intermittent Fasting And Diarrhea After Eating
If you have just started intermittent fasting, it is often quite natural to excrete excess water and electrolytes through the gastrointestinal tract as soon as you break the fast.
Therefore, diarrhea on intermittent fasting is only an issue if it persists.
Against this background, a poor diet can cause diarrhea when fasting. The following food often contributes to diarrhea on intermittent fasting:
- Refined carbohydrates
If you do still suffer from diarrhea when excluding these foods, make sure you drink enough water. Moreover, broth, pickle juice, or sea salt can help to reabsorb the electrolytes you excreted.
Will I Lose Muscle Mass With Intermittent Fasting
A common misperception about fasting is that the body quickly starts to break down muscle during periods without food. This would actually be pretty dumb on the part of our bodies to tear down valuable muscles and other proteins when another source of energy, fat, is so plentiful. In reality, we see very little muscle loss during fasts of short duration. In fact, those who lose weight with intermittent fasting lose less muscle mass compared to those who lose weight with continuous calorie restriction.
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Why Does Fasting Work For Weight Loss
Intermittent fasting naturally makes you cut your daily energy intake without the work of counting calories or measuring what you eat. Those who practice alternate-day fasting, the 5:2 diet, or time-restricted eating reduce their daily calorie intake by 10-30%. Intermittent fasting also induces a metabolic switch around 12 hours into a fast: Your body switches from burning sugar to burning fat to generate energy, which leads to weight loss.
How To End Your Fast
One of the most important aspects of a fast is how you end it. The worst thing you can do is give your digestive tract a great cleanse and then eat a large amount of unhealthy, hard-to-digest foods immediately afterward. When ending this nutritious liquids fast, always resume eating by slowly adding small amounts of easy-to-digest foods back into your diet while continuing to follow the Ten Days to Optimal Health diet as closely as you are able to.
For more information on this fasting program, please consult my book, Ten Days to Optimal Health.
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Changing The 16/8 Eating Window
The 16/8 diet seems to be one of the most popular forms of intermittent fasting. However, if you are changing times of your 16/8 eating window by too much and too frequently, you could be minimizing the benefits this dietary pattern can offer you.
The 16/8 diet is probably the most popular version of intermittent fasting because itâs easy to do and it can be extremely effective.
However, because so many people have busy schedules or schedules that change frequently, being consistent with the eating window can prove to be a challenge.
So what does this mean? Does it matter if you are consistent with the eating window or is changing times acceptable?
Read on to find out!
It May Help You Eat Less
Many people eat from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed.
Switching from this style of eating to time-restricted eating may cause you to naturally eat less.
In fact, some research has shown that time-restricted eating can reduce the number of calories you eat in a day .
One study found that when healthy adult men limited their eating to about a 10-hour window, it reduced the number of calories they ate each day by about 20% .
Another study reported that young men ate about 650 fewer calories per day when they limited their food intake to a 4-hour period .
However, other studies have shown that some people do not actually eat fewer calories during time-restricted eating .
If you choose high-calorie foods during your feeding period, you may end up eating a normal days worth of food even though you are eating for a shorter period of time.
Whats more, most studies on time-restricted eating have used diet records to measure calorie intake. Diet records rely on participants to write down what and how much they eat.
Unfortunately, diet records are not very accurate .
Because of this, researchers dont know just how much time-restricted eating really changes calorie intake. Whether or not it actually decreases the amount of food eaten probably varies by individual.
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Optimal Intermittent Fasting Windows
This so-called time-restricted eating is a form of intermittent fasting. Instead of fasting on alternate days or several 24-hour periods per week, time-restricted eating encourages dieters to limit their meals to certain windows of time.
Eating and drinking during a 10-hour window allows your body to rest and restore for 14 hours while drinking water, coffee or tea. According to study co-author Satchin Panda, PhD, Your body can also anticipate when you will eat, so it can prepare the body to optimize metabolism.
Other studies on time-restricted eating have found similar results. Researchers from the University of Alabama split obese men with prediabetes into two groups: One group ate all of its meals within an 8-hour window between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. and the other spread its meals out over 12 hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The study showed both groups maintained their weight but those who restricted their eating to an 8-hour window had lower insulin levels, reduced insulin sensitivity and lower blood pressure their appetites decreased, too.
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What To Eat During Intermittent Fasting: A Full Guide
Intermittent fasting is all about when to eat and not what to eat. But does that mean you can binge on ice cream, chocolates, and chips? Certainly not If, during intermittent fasting, what to eat is your biggest concern, you are at the right place. This article will discuss intermittent fasting and how the right food choice can help you reap more benefits from this diet regime.
While practicing intermittent fasting, planning a balanced meal is essential to maintain optimal health. During your periods of fasting, making healthy food choices to meet your daily nutritional requirements is vital. You need to focus more on eating protein-rich foods, low-carb food from whole grains, and healthy fats.
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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.
There Is Interest In Whether Autophagy Can Increase The Lifespan Of Whole Organisms Though So Far This Has Only Been Replicated In Animals
There is interest in whether autophagy can increase the lifespan of whole organisms, too though so far this has only been replicated in animals, like 1mm-long nematode worms and mice, and not humans . Until there are longitudinal studies of human intermittent fasters, it is too soon to say that it will extend our lifespans.
But, other animal studies have linked autophagy to improvements in immune system memory. The fact that autophagy is essential to maintain cell health has also generated interest in its role in cancer suppression. There might be more reasons than increasing lifespan to take interest in autophagy.
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Unlike calorie-restrictive diets , the purpose of intermittent fasting is to increase the amount of time between the last meal of one day and the first of the next. This could help to promote autophagy, but to understand how we should look at what happens to us after we eat.
Eating even a small bite before bed extends the “fed state”, meaning you may never achieve ketosis before your next meal
When you stop eating at 19:00 you will still be in the fed state until 22:00 because you will still be digesting nutrients, says Clarkson. Any carbohydrates in your diet will give you a nice supply of glucose, our premium source of fuel, for a few hours.
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Can I Have Cream And Sugar In My Coffee While Fasting
To stay in a fasted metabolic state, its best not to add any sugar to your coffee. Cream is a better option. If youve already fasted overnight for 12 or so hours and you just cant drink black coffee, a bit of cream, butter , coconut oil, MCT oil or other healthy plant fat likely isnt going to kick you out of ketosis or a fat-burning state.
At most, these coffee fixings might lengthen the time it takes you to get into ketosis after an overnight fast. They can slightly and temporarily activate your insulin and mTOR pathways, telling your body that nutrients are around and thus delay entry into some fasting metabolic processes such as autophagy . However, its normal in human clinical studies of fasting to allow participants up to 500 calories on fasting days fasting benefits occur regardless of these few calories!
Sugar is another beast, as it can quickly raise your blood sugar levels. Try to avoid adding sugar into your coffee, opting for cream or other healthy fats instead. Also watch out for sugar-added creamers.
For Coaches: Find The Best Intermittent Fasting Schedule For Your Clients
The topic of IF poses quite a few challenges for nutrition coaches. First, some clients really shouldnt be fasting at all. Others might do okay with some fasting approaches, but miserably on others.
And still other clients might come to you convinced that the most extreme fasting method is right for them, even though theyve never fasted before.
How do you navigate these turbulent waters? In this section, youll find advice from Robin Beier, PN2, a German nutrition coach we mentioned earlier in this chapter.
To match clients with an intermittent fasting schedule, consider these questions.
Factor #1: Have they practiced the fundamentals?
A number of fundamental nutrition strategies form the underpinning of all successful IF schedules. Your client will want to have these down before trying any fasting style. Is your client usually
- eating only when physically hungry?
- eating slowly until satisfied?
- consuming minimally-processed whole foods?
- eating balanced meals that include lean protein, healthy fats, smart carbs and colorful veggies?
If possible, try to spend some time on these practices before diving into any of the fasting schedules mentioned in this chapter.
Factor #2: Have they fasted before? If so, how did it go?
Consider asking: What experiences have you had with fasting schedules or meal skipping?
Factor #3: What kind of exercise are they doing? And how often are they doing it?
Factor #4: Whats their lifestyle like?
Two words that can reign in overzealous clients
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Intermittent Fasting Worksat Least For Some People But Which Fasting Schedule Is Best
In this chapter, well take an in-depth look at that question. But first, we must issue a warning.
No single intermittent fasting schedule will work for all people in all situations.
Sorry. We wish it were different.
It would make everything so much easier.
In reality, the effectiveness of any IF schedule depends on the person following it. Well explore that ultimate IF truth throughout this chapter.
In addition to reviewing the top IF schedules, well help you figure out which one will likely work best for you or a client. Weve included specific advice for:
- Skip-a-meal fasting, which is exactly what it sounds like
- Alternate day fasting , or eating every other day
- 5:2 fasting, which is eating normally five days a week and restricting calories two days a week
- Fasting mimicking diets , or consuming half as much as usual for a few days to a week, then eating normally for 3-4 weeks
Can You Eat Anything While Intermittent Fasting
Most variations of intermittent fasting dont dictate your caloric intake, and none of them tell you exactly what to eat but rather when to eat. However, its better to eat balanced, healthy meals that keep the hunger away and sustain your energy. When you add a lifestyle of focused work, intense bodily movement and exercise, you want to eat foods that aid you in your aims.
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