Intermittent Fasters: Two Ways To Know
Inverse talked to five intermittent fasters on Reddit to find out: how do you know your intermittent fasting regimen works?
Their responses echo some of the researchersâ replies, too: They observed changes within their body and these changes tended to include weight loss. Hereâs what they had to say:
- âI started for weight maintenance, and itâs been good for that,â writes Patrick, a 30-year-old based in Australia.
- âMy resting heart rate has gone down by 40 points ,â writes Reddit user u/mogli_170, who is 27 years old. âMy weight has reduced a significant amount .â
- âThe reasons that I feel that is working for me are that Iâm losing weight in a steady way,â writes Reddit user u/RS_Stylish, who is a 24-year-old man.
- âI guess I know itâs working because itâs the steadiest, most consistent weight loss Iâve ever achieved,â writes Reddit user u/Miszteek, who is a 35-year-old woman. âI fasted for two weeks sans exercise and lost the same amount of weight as the two weeks in which I did exercise.â
Essentially these responses boil down to two quantifiable things: Steady weight loss and a lower resting heart rate.
But much of the fastersâ enthusiasm for the regimen seems to stem from other, more qualitative factors â intermittent fasting was something people could realistically maintain, and intermittent fasting resulted, perhaps most crucially, in a change of their relationship with food and dieting.
What Is 1: 6 Intermittent Fasting
18:6 involves fasting for 18 hours out of the day, leaving you with a six-hour eating window. This could mean eating lunch at 12:30 p.m., a snack at 3 p.m., then finishing dinner by 6:30 p.m. This is a much more rigid form of intermittent fasting and definitely best saved for experienced fasters who’ve tried other methods. This plan might be right for you if your weight loss has stalled doing 16:8 or if you tend to overeat with a longer eating window.
Stay Away From Sweeteners
Sugar-free light drinks are popular not only for diets but in general. Nevertheless, it is these drinks that prevent success in intermittent fasting.
Contrary to the advertising message, zero sugar does not stand for fat burning in reality.
Moreover, they erase gut bacteria that are a guarantor of our health .
Precisely because sugar-free drinks hardly increase blood sugar levels, they trigger cravings for sweets in the brain. Therefore, sweeteners make people hungrier than conventional sugar .
It appears that people who consume diet products like water are more often overweight, which is a proven fact.
Accordingly, researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio found that consuming light beverages increases the likelihood of weight gain by 47 percent .
During the fasting period, fluid intake is essential. However, it should be limited to water, mineral water, tea, and coffee without additives.
On the one hand, diet sodas break the fast. On the other hand, they will push your goals further away, even in eating periods.
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Safety And Side Effects
Hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting.
You may also feel weak and your brain may not perform as well as youre used to.
This may only be temporary, as it can take some time for your body to adapt to the new meal schedule.
If you have a medical condition, you should consult with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting.
This is particularly important if you:
- Have diabetes.
- Have a history of eating disorders.
- Are a woman who is trying to conceive.
- Are a woman with a history of amenorrhea.
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
All that being said, intermittent fasting has an outstanding safety profile. There is nothing dangerous about not eating for a while if youre healthy and well-nourished overall.
The most common side effect of intermittent fasting is hunger. People with certain medical conditions should not fast without consulting with a doctor first.
Here are answers to the most common questions about intermittent fasting.
How Intermittent Fasting Works
The primary goal of intermittent fasting for weight loss is to get the insulin levels to decrease to a level where the body will begin to burn stored fat for energy.
Here is how it works. When the food we eat is metabolized , it ends up as molecules in the blood stream. One such molecule is glucose . Normally, when there is more circulating blood glucose than the body can use for energy, the excess is stored as fat for future use. But, for glucose to be utilized by the cells, it requires insulin. Between meals the body doesnt require insulin so insulin levels decline. When insulin levels are low, the fat cells release some of the stored glucose, resulting in weight loss.
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The Science Behind Intermittent Fasting
There are thousands of information out there about the true science behind intermittent fasting. I read numerous researches and can tell you that most of them agree that periodic fasting is good for us.
Science has proven that after 12 hours of fasting, the growth hormone works at its best because the insulin level is very low. Also, after 24h of fasting certain cells in our guts start to regenerate. I even managed to find articles where people give their testimonies about treating serious diseases with fasting, such as cancer.
Cole Robinson said the great thing in one video on his YouTube channel: Of course it heals your body, no sickness can live if you dont feed it!. That makes sense because if you dont feed something, it will eventually die!
If you are really interested in the science behind intermittent fasting Google will answer many questions for you. Personally, I read everything I needed to know, and Im doing intermittent fasting for a long time now and it seems there is nothing wrong with me
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:
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Why Might Changing Timing Help
But why does simply changing the timing of our meals to allow for fasting make a difference in our body? An in-depth review of the science of IF recently published in New England Journal of Medicine sheds some light. Fasting is evolutionarily embedded within our physiology, triggering several essential cellular functions. Flipping the switch from a fed to fasting state does more than help us burn calories and lose weight. The researchers combed through dozens of animal and human studies to explain how simple fasting improves metabolism, lowering blood sugar lessens inflammation, which improves a range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and even helps clear out toxins and damaged cells, which lowers risk for cancer and enhances brain function. The article is deep, but worth a read!
Ways To Do Intermittent Fasting
There are several methods of intermittent fasting, varying in the fasting period and the calorie allowances. Since different methods may suit different people, you may want to experiment to see what works best for your lifestyle and preferences.
Before embarking on an intermittent fast or deciding how often to fast, it is important to talk to a medical professional about potential benefits and risks, especially if you have a medical condition.
Below are 7 popular methods of intermittent fasting:
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What You Eat Matters
Many people abuse intermittent fasting to maintain their habitual Western diet, which is dominated by refined carbohydrates.
However, what you eat makes a big difference even with intermittent fasting.
People especially like to lie to themselves with alternate day fasting. Perhaps you, too, have acquaintances who practice this method in exchange for stuffing themselves with low-nutrient, high-carbohydrate foods.
Nonetheless, intermittent fasting revolves around two effects:
- Fat burning
- Sustainable health
What people tend to forget is that research has shown that both goals depend on hormone balance.
When the storage hormone insulin is too high, the body can neither cleanse itself through autophagy nor break down stored fat .
For this reason, the desired results fail to materialize when people use intermittent fasting to cheat.
In addition, the constant switch between sugar and fat metabolism brings physical side effects, such as headaches or even diarrhea in particular.
Intermittent Fasting Rules: Methods
Because intermittent fasting is a broad and flexible term, a variety of methods exist. However, this is not necessarily a disadvantage.
Because of these possibilities, you can and should adapt your eating habits to your individual everyday life. Only in this way can you achieve long-term success with intermittent fasting.
Nevertheless, different methods have individual advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, lets find out which intermittent fasting plan suits your everyday life.
16/8 Intermittent Fasting
The 16/8-method is also known as the peak fasting or lean gains method, as it allows you to gain muscle while losing body fat.
In this method, you eat between 12 and 8 pm. For this reason, your digestive tract can rest for the remaining 16 hours. After you sleep 8 of the 16 fasting hours, 16/8 intermittent fasting is easier than you might think.
- Fasting window: 16 hours
The Crescendo Method is a softer form of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting.
Instead of fasting every day, you fast on several days throughout the week, for example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
It is especially suitable for starting intermittent fasting. You can try out how your body and its hormonal balance react to the change. If you feel comfortable, you can then move on to the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting plan.
- Fasting window: 12-16 hours
Alternate Day Fasting
This method is just as simple as it sounds eat one day, fast one day.
For this reason, I would not advise this method.
One Meal A Day
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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.
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There are several intermittent fasting variants: Fast for 16 hours, eat within eight hours fast for 20 hours, eat within four hours eat one meal daily, within a two-hour window eat three meals as usual on one day, fast the next day and eat normally for five days, then limit your intake to 500 to 600 calories for two days in the week.
After a discussion with physician Zulkarnain Abdul Hamid, who began intermittent fasting three years ago and lost more than 20 kg in the first year, Chia settled on the 16:8 regimen.
After eight weeks since December, he lost 3 kg and his body fat dropped from 24.1 per cent to 18 per cent. So he decided to continue with intermittent fasting and has now lost about 5 kg.
But there are some things to note for those considering intermittent fasting. For example, individuals who are pregnant, under 18 or have a low BMI should avoid it. Here are seven other pointers:
1. EXERCISE PORTION CONTROL
You must still watch what you eat, though it is easier said than done.
It can be quite challenging when eating out, especially when youre trying to break fast, acknowledged Mary Chong, who researches weight loss diet interventions and eating behaviour in adults and infants. One way is to ask for half the portion.
Another way is to use smaller plates. There is evidence to suggest that the sizes of plates, bowls and even spoons can unconsciously influence the amount people eat.
2. PRACTISE MINDFUL EATING
3. DRINK BEFORE EATING
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What Are The Goals Of Intermittent Fasting
The first goal is were trying to increase lipolysis which will increase fat burning. The benefits that you get from intermittent fasting comes from that last meal lets say its at 8PM all the way to the next day, now its twelve hours weve gotten so far. Then well have, lets say, until 2PM in the afternoon. Weve added another four plus six, so we have eighteen hours of no food. So a lot of that benefit happens in that eighteen-hour time where we start increasing lipolysis.
The next goal is to increase cellular autophagy where our body starts recycling proteins. This also comes with the benefit of lengthening the telomeres.
And the third goal is to and were making our body more sensitive to insulin.
Again, insulin and fat burning are inversely correlated. When our insulin is high, we cant burn fat but when our insulin is low, we burn a whole bunch of fat. So the goal is to make ourselves more sensitive to insulin. So its like, the more sensitive your hearing is, people dont have to yell or raise their voices for them to get your attention i.e. the pancreas doesnt have to raise your insulin levels so the body can understand where to pull the sugar in and how to store the nutrients. When growth hormone goes up, that will help you put on muscle mass and we can combine this with good exercise allowing us to put on more muscle, which is great.
So the goals are all of these really good benefits above.
Understanding And Avoiding Refeeding Syndrome
Refeeding syndrome is a very rare side effect of resuming food consumption after periods of malnutrition or extended times without eating. Its defined as the potentially fatal shifts in fluids and electrolytes that may occur in malnourished patients.5
The key clinical markers of this are very low blood phosphorus levels, or hypophosphatemia, as well as low blood serum levels of potassium, calcium and magnesium.6 These shifts can cause heart rhythm abnormalities, cardiac failure, respiratory problems, convulsions or coma.
Refeeding syndrome was first described among the severely malnourished North Americans who were held as Japanese prisoners of war during World War II.7 It has also been observed upon the treatment of long-standing anorexia nervosa and alcoholic patients in recovery.8
During the refeeding period, insulin and counter regulatory hormones such as cortisol and noradrenaline are suddenly re-activated. This causes the movement of the major intracellular ions like phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium into our cells. However, due to the overall depletion of our body stores, this becomes quite excessive and leaves us with too little of these ions in the blood. This is what causes the major symptoms of refeeding syndrome:
These symptoms typically appear within two to four days of the start of refeeding.
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Intermittent Fasting Rule #: Stop Stressing About What Breaks A Fast And What Doesnt Break A Fast
Does chewing gum break a fast?
What? I dont even know what to say to that question.
You can fine tune as you get closer to that dream physique. Focus on starting your days off by getting shit done. Water, sparkling water, and black coffee will help you get through the morning. When youre ready to go from 6 pack to 8 pack we can apply the advanced tricks.
You dont need any fancy gimmicks to get started tomorrow .
Some people argue the rules for intermittent fasting to lose weight. The use labels like clean fasting and dirty fasting. I tend to disagree with those labels. Dirty fasts allow you to chew bubble gum and to drink bulletproof coffee as long as youre cutting calories back. Clean fast requires you to be more strict.
Our goal will always be progress over perfection.