Best Time To Eat Intermittent Fasting
As stressed out in the previous points, your daily routine will determine the best time to eat when intermittent fasting.
For the following reasons, in my opinion, the evening is the best time to eat when intermittent fasting:
- Work is over
- There is time to prepare quality food
- You can dine with your family
- You could exercise in a fasted state
- Now your body wants to rest and grow
- And you can finish off the day relaxed
Improved mental focus is one of the main practical benefits of intermittent fasting. With the largest meal of the day, focus fades away, and the body relaxes. Therefore it only makes sense not to have planned any mental or physical exertion afterward.
When I want to exploit the mental clarity of fasting to get things done, I often extend the fasting period.
As a result, I am on one meal a day schedule. So I get more things done while only cooking once and finishing earlier.
Since a single meal per day is larger, the evening or late afternoon is the best time to eat during intermittent fasting when leveraging its flexibility.
What You Need To Know
If you eat more than you normally would during the five days to compensate for the lost calories on fasting days, you might not lose weight. And if you overeat high-calorie, high-sugar, or overly processed foods on those days, you may even gain weight.
On fasting days, experiment with timing to see what works best for your brain and body. Some people function best with a small breakfast, while others prefer to wait as long as possible to eat their first meal. You should aim to consume about 25% of your normal calorie intake.
Since you have a limited number of calories to work with on your fasting days, try to spread them out as much as possible. For example, if you’re trying to keep your fasting day to 500 calories, you could eat 200 calories at breakfast, 100 calories at lunch, and another 200 calories at dinner. You could also try two meals instead of three, eating 250 calories at breakfast or lunch and then 250 calories at dinner.
It is not easy to shift from eating normally every day to eating only 500600 calories on two days. Start by slowly reducing your calorie consumption on fasting days. For example, during the first week, reduce your intake from 2,000 calories to 1,500 calories. Continue to gradually reduce your intake until youre eating the recommended 500600 calories on fasting days.
Beverages other than water, black coffee, or herbal tea
No foods are technically off-limits
Potential Intermittent Fasting Side Effects
Intermittent fasting is a term people use to describe patterns of eating that include regular periods of fasting in which they consume very few or no calories (
- lower blood pressure
- reduction in markers of oxidative stress
- improved blood sugar control
These findings have led to the increased popularity of intermittent fasting regimens like:
- time-restricted feeding
- alternate-day fasting
- periodic fasting
If youre interested in trying out intermittent fasting, youre probably curious to know whether it has side effects.
The short answer: Intermittent fasting is safe for most people. However, studies have shown that intermittent fasting does have some minor side effects. Plus, its not the right choice for everyone (
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Mistake #: Youre Overanalyzing
“Does IF mean no food outside meal times, or no calories?”
Um, they are one in the same, no? Does anyone reading this article know of foods that have zero calories? If so, please share! This persons assumption is correct, thoughno food and no calories outside of the feeding window.
Will eating ______ break my fast?
Does anyone else feel like this question comes up about a thousand times a day? Short answer: Yes. Eating anything with calories breaks your fast. Exceptions to this rule would be black coffee, unsweetened and milk-free tea, water, and diet soda
Carbohydrates To Eat When Intermittent Fasting
With intermittent fasting, its smart to focus on whole foods rich in fiber but low in starches.
While starchy foods increase blood sugar and insulin levels, dietary fibers counteract these effects .
For this reason, this list puts net carbs in parentheses:
- Sweet potatoes
Due to its high content of resistant starches, sweet potato is the most digestible variety if you want to replenish your carbohydrate stores.
Unlike conventional starches, resistant starches pass through the small intestine without being converted into glucose.
Instead of being absorbed as sugar, resistant starches are broken down into short-chain fatty acids, on which your gut bacteria can nourish.
We will take a closer look at when to eat carbohydrates during intermittent fasting shortly.
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The Day Before I’d Made A Mistake In Assuming That I’d Be Able To Eat Lunch Right At Noon This Time I Prepared By Saving Some Nuts As An Emergency Snack
That turned out to be a good idea. My meetings ran well past noon, but I was able to break my fast with a hearty snack. When lunch arrived, I was still hungry and ate a blackened-salmon burger with salad and some berries. I felt as if I could have kept eating for hours but tried to control myself.
Reduce Stress And Improve Mental Health
The 16:8 diet help reduce cortisol levels and help reduce inflammation. Plus, since you wont be dealing with hunger for two days a week, its better for your mental health.
Those whove tried the 16:8 diet say how much more productive they are during fasting hours, spending less time stressing over food and more time channelling their energy into other beneficial tasks throughout the day.
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Eating Windows Vs Fasting Windows
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that breaks your day into two parts:
There are actually a variety of intermittent fasting schedules you can follow to determine what hours of the day these windows actually include. We have a handy guide to fasting schedules for you to check out here.
The most common schedule is the 16/8 plan, which means you eat for an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours. You can also choose to do shorter or longer eating windows, or even opt for alternate-day fasting.
If youre new to this way of eating and need help getting started, definitely check out our Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting.
During your fasting period, you want to refrain from consuming any food or beverages that contain calories. So.. no food. But you have several beverage options, and these are important because it is critical to keep yourself hydrated while fasting.
Branch Chain Amino Acid Supplement
A final IF-approved supplement is the BCAA. While this muscle-building aid is most beneficial for the individual who enjoys fasted cardio or hard workouts at the crack of dawn, it can be consumed all throughout the day to prevent the body from going into a catabolic state and preserve lean muscle mass. Note: If you choose to follow a vegan diet pattern, this supplement may be off-limits, as most are sourced from duck feathers.
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Keep Your Meal Nourishing
Include a lot of healthy fats, protein and fresh vegetables in your meals while following intermittent fasting. You can also include healthy carbs from foods like brown rice, sweet potatoes etc. Carbs are good for your body and will provide you with the energy to tide over the calorie-deficit you are going to create for the rest of the day.
How Do You Do Intermittent Fasting
In intermittent fasting, there are generally no food or calorie restrictions, but there are restrictions on WHEN to eat. For example, eating may be restricted to an 8-hour window during the day, with 16 hours of fasting in between.
Some popular methods of intermittent fasting include:
- 16/8 daily regimen: of 8 hours of eating followed by 16 hours of fasting
- 5/2 method: eat only 500-600 calories for 2 non-consecutive days, and 5 days of normal eating per week
- Eat-Stop-Eat method: two 24-hour fasts per week on non-consecutive days
It can take the body two to four weeks to acclimate to intermittent fasting.
It is generally not advised to go for longer periods longer than 24 hours without eating because it might be dangerous.
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Will Gum Artificial Sweeteners Or Supplements Break My Fast
While sugar-free gum, diet soda, artificial sweeteners and supplements have little to no calories, Rodriquez advises to abstain from them during intermittent fasting. You might find that artificial sweeteners stimulate your appetite, making it harder to stick to your goals. Once your fasting window has ended, theyre fine to enjoy in small amounts, but during your fast, sugar of all kinds should really be avoided even if they are calorie-free.
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.
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Is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Right For You
16/8 intermittent fasting can be a sustainable, safe and easy way to improve your health when paired with a nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle.
However, it shouldnt be viewed as a substitute for a balanced, well-rounded diet rich in whole foods. Not to mention, you can still be healthy even if intermittent fasting doesnt work for you.
Though 16/8 intermittent fasting is generally considered safe for most healthy adults, you should talk to your doctor before giving it a try, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.
This is key if youre taking any medications or have diabetes, low blood pressure or a history of disordered eating.
Intermittent fasting is also not recommended for women who are trying to conceive or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you have any concerns or experience any adverse side effects while fasting, be sure to consult your doctor.
16/8 intermittent fasting involves eating only during an 8-hour window and fasting for the remaining 16 hours.
It may support weight loss and improve blood sugar, brain function and longevity.
Eat a healthy diet during your eating period and drink calorie-free beverages like water or unsweetened teas and coffee.
Its best to talk to your doctor before trying intermittent fasting, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.
Best Food To Break An Intermittent Fast
While Bullet Proof Coffee is a great way to break your fast, there are other foods youll want to consider eating to break your Intermittent Fasting period.
More details on what you can eat and drink while intermittent fasting here.
To maximize the benefits of IF, its essential to reap the bulk of your energy from nutrient-dense foods during feeding windows. Read this post to learn about fasting and feeding windows.
Choosing whole foods to build balanced meals will keep you energized during fasts and help your body process nutrients much more efficiently.
Break the fast with lean proteins
Some of my favorite proteins to include to break a fast are chicken, beef, pork, turkey, seafood, and eggs.
I often meal prep mini quiches for a quick grab-and-heat first meal option.
Breaking the fast with healthy fatsAs mentioned earlier, Bulletproof Coffee , coffee, grass-fed butter, nuts, seeds, nut butters, olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados are all terrific healthy-fat options to eat to break your fast.
Eat all the veggies you wantIm sure this isnt news to you but breaking the fast with a generous dose of veggies is always a great idea.
If you dont have time to make a meal, I love to make a Blueberry Muffin Smoothie or a Green Pineapple Smoothie to-go. Both have a nice serving of greens and they are full of nutrition.
Try to avoid canned fruits or juice because of the concentrated amounts of sugars per serving.
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Should I Eat Morning Or Night
It doesnt matter whether you eat in the morning or at night when intermittent fasting. However, in my experience, it is much easier to skip breakfast for the following reasons:
- Morning hunger is learned and can be unlearned
- The hormone release in the morning gives you power for the day
- Without breakfast, your focus at work will increase noticeably
- Dinner is usually the most crucial social pivot of a family
- You save time and can sleep longer
Over the decades, we have learned to be hungry in the morning. But this is not natural.
The body increases adrenaline, glucagon, growth hormone, and cortisol in the morning. For this reason, we wake up. Furthermore, this potent hormonal cocktail nourishes us with enough energy for the upcoming day.
Hence, the morning hunger disappears in just one or two weeks with the forced breakfast in my experience.
Nevertheless, you can also successfully do intermittent fasting if you skip dinner.
For example, if you sleep earlier, work longer, or cannot have dinner with your loved ones because of your daily working routine.
What Kind Of Coffee Breaks A Fast
Water is naturally the only drink that is free of any amount of calorie. However, if you feel like brewing a cup of coffee in the morning, you will not be breaking your fast if you stick to black coffee and natural tea without adding sugar, sweeteners, dietary products like milk whether skimmed or whole. Adding any of these could end your fast .
Although most coffees are naturally calorie-free, make sure you dont go overboard so that you wont tease your appetite. The reason for this increase in appetite is attributed to the caffeine content of the coffee.
If you feel the need to add some taste and flavour to your coffee when you are fasting, then certain flavoured spices will give you results because they have zero energy content. You can spice your coffee with powdered cinnamon and sweeteners.
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Managing Insulin Sensitivity And Metabolic Health
If your primary concern is decreasing insulin levels or improving your bodys metabolic health, you might not be concerned with weight loss.
Perhaps youre even using fasting to gain weight, combining it with strength training. If your goal is a very metabolically healthy body, you can add calories in your fasting window in the form of healthy fats.
This is when adding ghee or butter to coffee or having coconut oil makes sense.
Foods You Can Eat While Fasting
Some experts say as long as you keep your carbohydrate intake below 50 grams per day during a fast, you can maintain ketosis .
Below are some foods and beverages you can consume while fasting.
- Water. Plain or carbonated water contains no calories and will keep you hydrated during a fast.
- Coffee and tea. These should mostly be consumed without added sugar, milk, or cream. However, some people find that adding small amounts of milk or fat can curb hunger.
- Diluted apple cider vinegar. Some people find that drinking 12 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed into water can help them stay hydrated and prevent cravings during a fast.
- Healthy fats. Some people drink coffee containing MCT oil, ghee, coconut oil, or butter during their fast. Oil breaks a fast, but it wont break ketosis and can tide you over between meals.
- Bone broth. This rich source of nutrients can help replenish electrolytes lost during long periods of only drinking water.
Remember that foods and drinks containing any calories like bone broth and the healthy fats listed above will technically break your fast.
However, small amounts of these low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein foods wont throw your body out of ketosis .
Some people choose to consume small amounts of certain foods and beverages while fasting, such as bone broth or healthy fats. Others consume calorie-free beverages.
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How Many Meals To Eat When Intermittent Fasting
As we have just discovered, eating less often keeps insulin levels in check and burn fat. For this reason, science has proven that snacks cannot help you lose weight .
Intermittent fasting, unlike conventional dieting, has the advantage that you can always increase it.
If you like, you can eat only once a day instead of twice or even fast for several days. Thus, it is incredibly flexible.
Nevertheless, you should not immediately overstrain your body when you start intermittent fasting. For example, it is advantageous to establish simple rules when you start:
- Lunch and dinner only
- Between the two meals, natural snacks, like a handful of walnuts, are allowed
With time and experience, you will get to know your body better, and you can stop snacks completely or eat one big meal a day.
In any case, an 8-hour eating period is enough to lose weight with the appropriate diet.
How Safe Is Intermittent Fasting
The 12 hour intermittent fasting Keto or Ketogenic diet and other carbohydrate-restricted diets aim to achieve ketosis, which is an accumulation of acidic ketones in the blood. As much as the outcomes are great, ketosis can cause liver, brain, and kidney damage. It is unsafe for individuals with chronic disorders such as diabetes and heart disease. Your blood sugar should also be stable for you to follow this diet plan. Therefore, it is important to discuss with your doctor and seek guidance from a licensed dietitian before beginning 12 hour intermittent fasting.
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