You’re Probably Doing Intermittent Fasting The Wrong Wayhere’s Why
A dietitian weighs in on the trendy eating approach, plus the common mistakes people make.
The concept of intermittent fasting seems fairly straightforward. You abstain from eating in intervalssomewhere between 16 or 20 hours a dayor heavily restrict your intake and eat a very low-calorie diet a couple days a week. There are also some IF followers who eat just one meal a day .
Theres quite a bit of research proving that IF works for weight lossand improves things like blood sugar control and cholesterol, which are markers for chronic diseases. Some studies have even found that IF may boost peoples energy and help them sleep better.
Mistake #: Youre Eating Without Realizing It
Im trying to cut myself down to one meal a day, so while Im not actively trying to do IF, I think Im kind of doing it by proxy . But does this mean no calorie intake whatsoever outside of the time I normally eat? Or just no actual food? Because I have coffee every morning and Ive also been drinking a cup of soy or almond milk for breakfast and I dont know if its going to mess with my progress.
OK, this is intermittent fasting. Period. Even though this person says he or she isnt actively doing IF, they are. Theres nothing sinful about IF, so no need to deny it. But to reap the benefits, you cant have that quote-unquote breakfast. Fasting means no calories during that fasting time period.
More on intermittent fasting:
Choosing A Time Window
To get started, begin by picking an 8-hour window and limiting your food intake to that time span.
Popular 16/8 time windows include:
- 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Many people prefer to eat between noon and 8 p.m., since you need to fast only overnight and skip breakfast but can still eat a balanced lunch and dinner, along with a few snacks throughout the day.
Others opt to eat between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., which allows plenty of time for a healthy breakfast around 9 a.m., a standard lunch around noon, and a light, early dinner or large snack around 4:30 p.m. before starting your fast.
However, you can experiment and pick the time frame that best fits your schedule.
It may help to set timers at both the beginning and the end of your eating window to remind you when to start and stop eating.
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What To Eat During Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern and not a diet plan. You may feel confused about what to eat while intermittent fasting. Although it is all about time intervals, eating healthy foods can make it more powerful.
Here is the intermittent fasting food list that can help you plan a balanced diet:
Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
Research is limited on how well intermittent fasting works for weight loss. Some studies have indicated that it can help people lose weight in just a matter of weeks, while others found no weight-loss benefit at all.
It may also depend on the type of intermittent fasting schedule that you choose. Here’s what research says about three of the most popular intermittent fasting methods:
- 16/8 intermittent fasting. A 2020 study of 116 adults found no significant difference in weight loss between a group that limited all calorie intake to between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. each day and a control group that was allowed three meals per day, plus snacks. Notably, the 12-week study found fasting could lead to loss of muscle mass.
- Alternate-day fasting. A 2017 study that compared an alternate-day fasting plan with a typical calorie restriction diet found no significant difference in weight loss between participants. The study involved 100 obese participants, and there was a significant dropout rate only 69% of the subjects stayed until the end.
- 5:2 intermittent fasting. A 2013 study found that, from a sample of 115 overweight women, those who tried a 5:2 intermittent fasting diet for 3 months lost more fat and experienced a greater reduction of insulin resistance than women who followed a standard calorie-restricted diet for the same time period.
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Coffee May Enhance The Benefits Of Fasting
Fasting triggers autophagy, a natural cleansing mechanism that replaces damaged cells with new ones. One of the key reasons you want to fast could be an increase in autophagy.
Fasting is one of the most effective ways to activate autophagy, and coffee also encourages autophagy. According to the findings of a study, polyphenols found in coffee promote health via inducing autophagy. .
- Weight loss
Fasting for weight loss may be your primary motivation. Your fasting regimen will help balance your energy spent with the energy you consume, but so will your caffeinated coffee. Caffeine, according to recent research, boosts energy expenditure while decreasing energy intake, which will help you manage your weight.
As a result, combining coffee and intermittent fasting can help you fast for longer periods of time and lose weight faster.
Fasting is yet another way for the body to enter ketosis. If you dont eat, your body depletes its carbohydrate resources and begins to burn body fat for energy. Because your body sends fat energy to all parts of your body as ketones, this condition of fat burning is known as ketosis.
Drinking coffee while intermittent fasting can increase fat burning even more. According to one research, coffee helps to increase ketosis while fasting .
When it comes to promoting ketosis, your morning cup of joe will have no negative impact on your fasting regimen.
- Insulin sensitivity
Can You Lose Belly Fat By Intermittent Fasting
According to a 2014 review of the scientific literature, intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of 3-8% over 3-24 weeks . Not only this but people lost 4-7% of their waist circumference as well indicating a large loss of the harmful belly fat in the abdominal cavity, strongly linked to chronic disease.
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The Most Common Intermittent Fasting Strategies
That means 12 hours of fasting and 12 hours of eating.
For example, if you have dinner at 8 pm and go to bed at 11 pm, then, next day at 8 am you would break this fast by eating something before going to work or right there.
This is the minimum rest we should give our bodies regularly , but in some countries, there’s a cultural habit of eating dinner very late and having breakfast very early before going to work. This is not good for your circadian rhythms and probably you won’t be able to rest well.
That means 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating.
With this type of fasting, you can begin to see results in terms of the body’s use of insulin and fat loss. In those 8 hours you have to eat, you can choose to make two big meals or three lighter ones depending on our preferences.
How can you start practising this type of fasting? By having dinner around 9 pm and having a good lunch at around 1 pm. This system is perfect if you work a split shift and have little time at midday to eat or for if you usually wake up with no appetite. The 16/8 fast can be done several days a week!
These two fasting strategies are the most common and easy to carry out.
However, there are others which include fasting windows of 20h, 24h or even several days. These require a little more adaptation and I do not recommend trying them out without experience in fasting or professional accompaniment.
Mistake #: Youre Not Sure What Counts
So my wife and I are trying to start on the IF journey . Its harder than we thought. How can she do coffee in the mornings without throwing off the benefits of the fast? She doesnt care for black coffee, but the chokehold of caffeine has her in its stimulant grip, and I dont want to die in that ditch today.
I, too, live and die by that a.m. cup of coffee. But this person is overthinking it. The best thing to do is simplify your routine. Have your morning cup of coffee exactly as you like it and break your fast then. For example, if youre doing 16:8 , have your coffee at 8 a.m. and your last meal at 4 p.m.
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Why Food Matters When Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting activates a process called autophagy where your immune system destroys old, damaged cells, then recycles their individual components into new, healthy cells. Think of it as cellular spring cleaning.
Feeding these new forming cells with optimal energy sources is critical.
Failure to nourish your regenerating cells with whole animal foods can promote metabolic dysfunction and increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Can I Eat Rice During Intermittent Fasting
Yes, rice is a healthy source of food during your intermittent fasting eating phase however we recommend eating brown rice instead of white rice as it is more nutritious and contains fewer calories.
Eating during intermittent fasting does not have to be complicated and a plate of rice with some roasted salmon will do just fine, you will feel full fast and get the nourishment you need however it is important to eat rice in moderation as it contains a certain amount of calories that can lead to weight gain if consumed in excess during intermittent fasting.
Is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Right For You
Its true that 16/8 intermittent fasting can be a sustainable, safe, and easy way to improve your health when paired with a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle.
However, it shouldnt be viewed as a substitute for a balanced diet rich in whole foods. Plus, you can still be perfectly healthy if you dont follow intermittent fasting.
Though 16/8 intermittent fasting is generally considered safe for healthy adults, you should talk with your doctor 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 likewise discouraged if youre trying to conceive, pregnant, or nursing.
If you have any concerns or experience any side effects while fasting, be sure to consult your doctor.
What Is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting is a form of time-restricting way of eating which involves consuming food during an 8-hour window and avoiding it for the rest of the day.It is the perfect way to schedule your daily meals to get the most out of them.
Science has proven that giving your body more time to digest food can be more effective for weight loss than just creating a calorie deficit.The main concept of this diet is not to drastically change the products that you are eating, but the exact timing of eating them.With Intermittent Fasting 16:8 you have to decide if you are willing to skip breakfast or dinner according to your daily routine.
- To lose weight
- To boost the process of fat burning
- To reduce inflammation processes
- To improve mental clarity and concentration
- 100% personalized Fasting meal plan
- Weekly shopping list
- Easy-to-cook recipes with a step-by-step guide
- Video cooking tutorials
- A cheat day once per week
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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.
Your Approach Is Way Too Extreme
Sure, you want to grab this diet trend by the lapels and run with it, but there’s no need to starve yourself. Taking in less than 800 calories per day will cause greater weight loss , but greater bone loss. That’s not healthyor sustainablein the long term. Not to mention, if you make your windows of not eating too long, you won’t be able to stick with it. Make smaller, manageable changes and always listen to your body.
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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.
How Much Weight You Can Lose With Intermittent Fasting
- When fasting two days per week, you can expect to lose between 9 and 13 pounds in the first 2 to 3 months, says Leonie Heilbronn, an associate professor at Adelaide Medical School.
- When fasting three days per week, Heilbronn says you could lose 13 to 18 pounds in the first 2 to 3 months.
Ultimately, when deciding if intermittent fasting is right for your weight loss goals, it’s crucial to keep your lifestyle and eating habits in mind.
“Some people can struggle with not eating for prolonged periods,” says Heilbronn.
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Is 1: 8 Fasting Good For Weight Loss
A growing body of research demonstrates that a better strategy is optimizing the nutritional quality of what you already eat versus fasting or counting calories. Also, science suggests any potential benefit from fasting is quickly undone during the eating part of the cycle, in which appetite-suppressing hormones switch gears to make you feel even hungrierthan you felt at baseline.
But some dieters may benefit from daily fasting if they have trouble sticking to prescribed meal plans or restrictive diets a 2018 pilot study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Healthy Eating suggests that a 16:8 fasting plan can help obese dieters lose weight without having to count every single calorie they eat. This approach to fasting could also aid those battling other weight-related issues namely, high blood pressure. A new scholarly review published in the New England Journal of Medicinesuggests that a 16:8 fasting plan may help the body naturally improve blood sugar regulation, as well as decrease blood pressure overall in the long run.
Industrial Vegetable Oil And Trans Fats
When processing vegetable oils, the fragile omega-6 fatty acids oxidize through heat, light, air, and pressure.
As a result, these processes change fats that serve as building blocks for your body chemically. Therefore, they promote inflammation, cardiovascular disease, mortality, and weight gain .
Besides the following oils, it is essential to avoid fried dishes and hydrogenated trans fats :
- Safflower oil
- Preservatives and other chemical additives
Another reason why I advise against any kind of sweeteners during intermittent fasting is the craving.
When sweet taste stimulates the brains reward center, but glucose does not arrive due to calorie-free sweeteners, cravings increase .
As with sweeteners, plant-based does not always mean healthy, as we will learn in the next section.
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Intermittent Fasting: A Beginner’s Guide
Youve probably heard of Intermittent Fasting by now. Its a very popular health trend all thanks to studies and testimonials swearing by its health benefits like weight loss and mental clarity.
Intermittent Fasting is not a diet, its an eating pattern. Its most popular method is the 16:8, which means that you stay fasted for 16h and eat under the remaining 8h limit. If you have lunch at 12 pm, then you should finish dinner already by 8 pm to repeat the cycle.
But wait, wasnt breakfast the most important meal of the day? Well, that is not really a rule. But if thats a must for you, its always possible to organize your meals within the eating period.
Now that you might already be somewhat familiar with intermittent fasting and its benefits on health. Let me ask you:
Do you know how to do it the right way?
Or if it’s ok to fast if you have diabetes?
Can pregnant women fast?
In this article, I’m going to answer common questions about Intermittent Fasting and some basic info you must know before starting to implement fasting in your diet.
So, let’s talk about it!
Can You Lose Weight Just By Intermittent Fasting
There are some studies conducted which claimed intermittent fasting is helpful in your weight loss.
As per this article in the link here, it states that intermittent fasting can reduce weight by 4 to 8% and fat loss by 11-16% over 3 to 12 weeks.
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