The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Just like with other types of fasting, intermittent fasting triggers the same metabolic processes in the body which have been reported to improve overall health and longevity.
Dietitian Rachael Link lists the most common benefits of fasting that can improve your health. Looking at matters from a research-based perspective, she concludes that fasting can help with the following:
Promoting Blood Sugar Control
Fasting decreases insulin resistance, which is a state where the cells stop responding to insulin correctly and, in turn, the blood sugar levels rise. As a result of fasting, your bodys sensitivity to insulin returns to normal levels and it can collect and store glucose more efficiently.
Some studies also connect fasting to a lowered risk of diabetes. Accordingly, some health practitioners utilize fasting as a means to lower blood sugar levels among diabetic patients. However, you should note that the effects in this regard differ between men and women.
Fighting Chronic Inflammation
Researchers have found that intermittent fasting helps to lower and normalize the levels of immune cells, while also controlling proinflammatory cytokine levels. This is especially useful in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, such as multiple sclerosis.
Improving Heart Health, Blood Pressure, Triglycerides, and Cholesterol Levels
Boosting Brain Function and Preventing Neurodegenerative Disorders
Helping with Weight Loss
Increasing Growth Hormone Levels
Why Is Water So Important
Staying hydrated helps curb hunger, which makes it easier to stick to your fasting diet, but there are also other numerous health benefits. Drinking water helps lubricate your joints, regulates your body temperature and keeps your digestive system regular.
Water also carries oxygen and other nutrients to your cells, flushes waste out of the body and helps maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Intermittent Fasting And Infused Water
If you want to flavor water, a natural way is probably generally better.
For example, you can put a few slices of organic lime, lemon, orange, or cucumber in a carafe and fill it with water.
This way, you add a light natural aroma to the water that will not affect fasting significantly as long as you do not eat the slices.
However, this aid shouldnt be overused. Once you are used to intermittent fasting, you will be able to get along without it anyway.
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What To Drink While Intermittent Fasting
- Intermittent fasting boasts a lot of health benefits and some beverages, like tea or black coffee, are acceptable to drink
- During fasting windows, you will not eat anything
- Because our goal is for you to get healthy we want you to beware of diet beverages too
Intermittent fasting holds the potential for a lot health benefits. By not eating you won’t have to do dishes, plan what you will eat, or even cook. You will now have more time on your hands and be able to clear out old and dead cells from your body!
Intermittent fasting is NOT about starving yourself. Its more about when you eat, than how much you eat.
So what exactly can you consume while following an intermittent fasting plan? And are there drinks that can make it easier or more effective?
We wanted to get to the bottom of that question, and heres what we discovered: there are entirely different guidelines for what you can eat and drink to get the most out of intermittent fasting. And it all depends on whether youre in your eating window or your fasting window.
Carbonated Water Vs Flavored Water
Carbonated, or seltzer, water is allowed when intermittent fasting, but make sure you’re diligent about reading labels. While true seltzer water doesn’t have any added sweeteners, some flavored water drinks do, and it’s easy to get confused.
Read the ingredient lists and avoid anything with added sugar or artificial sweeteners, like aspartame or sucralose. Even water flavored with natural no-calorie sweeteners like stevia may kick-start a sugar craving and make it harder for you to stick your fast.
Choose plain seltzer water or seltzer waters that are flavored with natural flavors or fruit essences only.
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What Breaks A Fast And What Doesn’t
From the desk of Robb Wolf
Im frequently asked what breaks a fast. People want to know if coffee breaks a fast, if MCT oil breaks a fast, and if toothpaste breaks a fast.
I wrote this article to enshrine my thoughts online. That way, I can refer all future queries to one place.
To be honest, I think questions of this nature get too much airplay. When I saw does Diet Coke break a fast? on a recent podcast headline, I was unable to suppress an eye roll.
Does Diet Coke have calories? Does it have amino acids? Does it contain anything to significantly raise insulin levels and interfere with fat-burning? No. I do understand that artificial sweeteners can enhance insulin secretion or alter appetite regulation in unfavorable ways, but fasting is not the context in which you should be worried about all this.
Allow me to give some context here: Folks are shifting from consuming 2,000-3,000 calories per day to damn near nothing. This is a stunning change, yet some worry that just smelling food will kick them out of ketosis, halt autophagy, or ramp up mTOR While I appreciate the desire to get the best results out of your investment, folks are likely making all this far harder than it needs to be.
Im not endorsing Diet Coke. What Im saying is: when someone asks if x, y, or z breaks a fast, theyre really asking if it interferes with the potential benefits of fasting.
And the benefits are why folks fast in the first place, right? People fast to
What Can You Eat While Fasting
As previously stated, any amount of calories will, technically, break your fast. Even foods with extremely low calories, like celery, still contain fiber and other nutrients that could potentially trigger your bodys digestive process. Its also possible that the effect of chewing may get your digestive system working, which will actually make you feel hungrier. Therefore, it is not generally recommended to eat during the fasting window.
However, everyone is different, and you should always find what works and feels best for you. Whats key to any weight loss planand essential to learning how to curb hunger during intermittent fastingis consistency. If a small boost helps you see your fasting window through to the finish, and to start fasting again when scheduled, then go for it! And, as always, if youre feeling faint or ill, you should listen to your body and eat or drink when needed.
Plus, even if your body is no longer in fasting mode, you can still benefit from some of its processes fat-burning ketosis, for example, still occurs after feeding, so long as you remain under 50 grams of carbs per day. Keeping your blood sugar levels stable is also possible after fasting just stick with low carb foods to avoid spiking your blood sugar, and keep your body in fat-burning mode. Ultimately, whats important about intermittent fasting is finding the right tools that help you stick to your routine, rather than preserving the technicality of the fast.
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Supplements More Likely To Break A Fast
- Gummy multivitamins. These commonly contain small amounts of sugar, protein, and sometimes fat, which could break your fast.
- Branched-chain amino acids . BCAAs appear to trigger an insulin response that opposes autophagy (
Supplements may be used during fasting periods, although some may be better absorbed with food. Supplements that contain calories or sugar are more likely to break your fast.
To break your fast, start by eating gentle foods and be sure not to overeat.
The Goal Of Intermittent Fasting
Regardless of the various forms of intermittent fasting including alternate-day fasting, 5:2 fasting, and 16-hour fasting the goal is basically the same. By limiting the number of hours in which you allow yourself to eat, you’re also limiting the number of calories you consume.
That means during the fasting period, you’re not taking in any calories, which is why drinking no-cal fluids, like coffee, tea, and water, is OK as long as it contains no caloric additives like sugar or cream.
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Reduction In Blood Pressure
Amongst the many benefits of embarking on a water fast, this practice has been discovered to help reduce the blood pressure due to no salt intake during this period. However, it may take up to two weeks before any substantial result can be achieved. It means that you have to continue fasting beyond 72 hours before you can normalize your blood pressure. This should only be attempted under medical supervision.
How Much Water Should I Drink While Water Fasting To Lose Weight
The primary factor that determines it is your weight. An average person whos looking to shed off some pounds can follow the recommended 8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day . Unfortunately, a survey carried out by the National Cancer Institute and analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that seven percent of adults dont bother drinking a glass of water while only 22% drink 8 glasses or more .
On the recommended quantity, some factors, including your activity level, environment, and overall health , still influence it. So, while you are shooting for the daily recommendation, it doesnt mean that you shouldnt drink more when you feel dehydrated. The only thing is that you should not overdrink and risk water intoxication, which is also called hyponatremia, although this is rare.
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What Else Can I Drink While I’m In A Fasted State
Obviously, you can drink wateryou can even punch it up with some fresh fruit or a squeeze of lemon for flavor as long as you arent actually eating the fruit. But Boules says you can also reach for unsweetened tea, which is zero calories without anything extra added to it.
What you cant drink, however, are things like fruit juices, green juices, or smoothies. This trips people up sometimes, because we tend to think stuff in liquid form is calorie-free, just like water. But juices and smoothies are made with food, which means they have enough calories to break your fast.
The whole idea behind the alleged health-promoting benefits is actually fasting , says Boules. consuming something caloric during fasting hours in the form of sweetened beverages, juices, or smoothies, you’re not fasting.
Remember, the whole concept of intermittent fasting relies on a prolonged, uninterrupted period of not consuming any calories .
Most people opt for a 16:8 dietfasting for 16 hours per day and eating during an 8-hour windowthough it’s not totally clear as of now if 16 hours of intermittent fasting is the magic number of fasting hours to see weight-loss results. But, that’s a reasonable rule to follow until science reveals more about IF.
Green Tea And Intermittent Fasting
Green tea is probably the drink that has proved to be most effective in intermittent fasting over the decades.
Meanwhile, only coffee can contest this title. Like coffee, a cup of tea has about 2.5 calories both with and without caffeine .
Nevertheless, many experts agree that this minimal amount of macronutrients in tea is negligible.
As with coffee, studies on green tea suggest that it induces rather than prevents autophagy .
Furthermore, all pure varieties of real tea are suitable for intermittent fasting. The degree of fermentation of the tea plant Camellia Sinensis determines the name of the tea:
- Unfermented white tea
- Partially fermented Oolong tea
- Fully fermented black tea
Although all these teas are suitable, green tea provides the best properties for intermittent fasting due to its many active compounds :
- Regulates blood sugar and prevents diabetes
- Boosts the metabolism
- Prevents cardiovascular diseases and cancer
Furthermore, real tea curbs the appetite, so it has already helped many people when fasting.
However, you should be careful with tea from coffee chains like Starbucks, which in most cases contain a lot of sugar or at least sweeteners.
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Low Calorie Food And Drink
Certain fasting diets, such as the modified fasting plan, allow people to eat a limited amount of calories on fast days, often up to 25% of their usual daily caloric intake.
For example, a person requiring 2,000 calories per day could consume up to 500 calories daily if they follow this method.
Some examples of lower calorie food and drinks include:
Positive Effects Of If Beyond Weight Loss And Type 2 Diabetes
Lots of people get relief from indigestion when they start a LCHF diet. Why is that? I need to convince my nephew that LCHF is his best approach and at 23 years old, nutrition isnt really his thing so I cant convince him to read your blog! He gets terrible heartburn and Im sure it is due to his high carb, high soda diet!
My guess is that there are two main effects. One, the focus on real food rather than highly processed ones is very important to maintain normal function of the GI system. Two, losing weight often improves symptoms of reflux.
Dr. Fung I am 70 and overweight, but have lost 30 lbs on the LCHF diet over about 6 months. Initially, my BP also dropped and my doctor took me off my BP meds because of the lightheadedness I experienced with the BP drop. But, now my BP is up again, even with the addition of ramipril, and my weight loss has stalled. I am still at a BMI of about 30. Do you think the 16:8 IF might help both theses issues?
The link between BP and diet is not quite as tight as with blood sugars. I think trying a 16:8 IF sure couldnt hurt.
There is not much literature about fasting and change in thyroid dosing, so I cant help you there, but I have heard several anecdotal cases of the same thing happening where thyroid function suddenly improves. With the high blood sugars, the only thing to do is to continue with your plan. It certainly seems that you are now mobilizing some of that stored sugar.
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Intermittent Fasting Vs Fad Liquid Diets
Intermittent fasting has been touted as a way to keep your mind sharp, regulate your weight and even extend your lifespan. The basic premise of this fast is to either eliminate solid food and drop your normal calorie count for two days per week, or eat within one eight-hour period per every 24 hours. For example, explains Texas Medical Center, you would eat only between the hours of noon and 8 pm. This regimen is one that can be maintained indefinitely.
If you decide to choose the option of two consecutive days to fast, understand that it is not the fast itself that is beneficial it is the change from regular eating to fasting and back again that seems to provide the benefits, which include increased mental focus and possible increased longevity. Simply limiting your caloric intake drastically will not work as a long-term weight-loss strategy, because your metabolism will adjust and start hoarding every calorie.
Fad liquid diets should be avoided, because they do not offer complete nutrition. The lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup craze may help you drop water weight, but after that your body will start to burn lean muscle mass. This diet is also very low in essential nutrients, and any weight you lose while on it will come right back once you resume your normal pattern of eating.
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Go Easy On The Coffee
Although black coffee is OK to drink while intermittent fasting, try not to go overboard. Too much coffee can leave you feeling jittery, anxious and weak, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine. Drinking coffee late in the day can also affect the quality of your sleep.
Plus, you’ll be drinking the coffee on an empty stomach, so the caffeine will enter your bloodstream faster than if you’d just had a meal and your stomach was full. Stick to one or two cups a day. If you want more than that, switch to decaf coffee.
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What Breaks A Fast
Strictly speaking: any amount of calories, no matter how small, disrupts the fasting process. If youre following your intermittent fasting plan to the letter, that means no calories, whatsoever, for the entirety of your fasting window. And while some say it is possible to preserve the benefits of intermittent fastingburning fat for fuel, controlled blood sugar levels, etc.it is not generally recommended to consume anything other than a few select beverages during the fasting window.
Fasting Before Medical Procedures
If youre preparing for a medical procedure, youre often advised to fast for 812 hours beforehand.
Typically, this type of fasting helps ensure that you have an empty stomach during surgery, minimizing the risk of complications like vomiting, regurgitation, and aspiration .
Because clear liquids like water are quickly digested, some medical professionals may allow you to drink water up to 2 hours before your procedure (
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What Are The Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
A proper Intermittent fasting plan can help you curb weight gain, lower oxidative stress, and inflammation. Furthermore, it also reduces blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health. Research suggests that intermittent fasting increases the levels of the fat-burning hormone, improves insulin sensitivity, and normalizes insulin levels.
While drinks may seem negligible when considering your intermittent fasting journey, in reality, they play an immense role. The simple rule is, consume drinks with little to no calories. Make sure you avoid sugars at all costs since they bring in a considerable amount of calories. While fasting, if you consume calories, it breaks the whole point and purpose, doesnt it? Hydrate yourself consistently and keep a check on calories.