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:
Induces Various Cellular Repair Processes
When we fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular waste removal process called autophagy .
This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time.
Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers disease .
Fasting triggers a metabolic pathway called autophagy, which removes waste material from cells.
Supports Brain Health And Function
Intermittent fasting may help improve memory and mental performance and support brain health/function by protecting neurons in the brain against deterioration and dysfunction .
Emerging evidence suggests that intermittent fasting could be a useful intervention in neurodegenerative diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, and stroke .
Keep in mind that it’s not simply the act of fasting alone that may have these potential benefits, decreased inflammation, reductions in body fat, and healthier blood sugar levels have all been linked to healthy brain function.
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Is Intermittent Fasting Safe For People With Type 1 Diabetes
Many people with type 1 diabetes have found that IF and TRF can help reduce morning blood sugar fluctuations and improve their energy. An observational study on people with type 1 diabetes who participated in various forms of IF/TRF found that these eating schedules can be safe as long as the individual works with their healthcare professional to reduce their usual insulin dose while fasting, and they must monitor their glucose levels carefully to avoid hypoglycemia. Fasting will also increase your ketone levels, so it is important to test your blood ketone levels if you have type 1 diabetes to avoid the risk of ketoacidosis. Remember that people with type 1 diabetes absolutely require insulin to avoid DKA, so insulin dose adjustment to avoid low glucose levels must be done cautiously.
For anyone with diabetes, before trying any type of fasting you should talk to your healthcare professional. For people who take sulfonylureas or insulin, it is important to closely monitor blood sugar levels, especially when you first start a fasting regimen, as dose reductions may be necessary to avoid hypoglycemia. Never stop taking a medication or change its dosage without consulting your healthcare professional first.
How Intermittent Fasting Works: Insulin Reduction Ketone Production And Autophagy Induction
From a weight-loss perspective, intermittent fasting works by making it harder to overeat throughout the day. A simple rule like skip breakfast or only eat between 5 pm and 8 pm, can help prevent you from reaching for snacks or drinking calorie-dense beverages throughout the day that contribute to weight gain.
Even if you do build up a ferocious appetite while fasting, youll still find it difficult to overeat. In fact, intermittent fasting tends to decrease daily energy consumption and promote fat loss.
This means that you may be able to eat as much as you want and reach your goals as long as you stick to a shortened eating window or a limited number of meals.
When you first try intermittent fasting, your body will need to adjust itself to this new eating schedule. You may be hit hard by hunger pangs and potent cravings at first, but they will soon dissipate as your cells feast on stored fat and ketones.
The key mechanisms behind your ability to fast, lose fat, and improve your health throughout the process are insulin reduction, ketone production, and autophagy. As we accumulate time in a fasted state, our insulin levels decrease incrementally. This promotes the release of fat from our fat cells and stimulates the ketone-producing process known as ketogenesis.
As you continue your fast, youll enter a deeper state of ketosis, become more efficient at burning fat, and ramp up the self-cleaning process known as autophagy.
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Putting It All Together
Now you know that there is nothing to fear when it comes to intermittent fasting. Although you will feel hungry at first, your body will adjust by activating autophagy and burning more fat and ketones for fuel.
Ketogenic diet researchers suggest a longer intermittent fast followed by shorter daily intermittent fasts. You can use a fasting protocol that includes fasting for up to 3 days, 3 times a year with a shorter 16 to 20 hour fast on the days before and after the 3-day fasts.
Whether you are fasting for 16 hours or 3 days, it is important to monitor your mineral levels to avoid symptoms of refeeding syndrome.
Supplementing with sodium from unrefined salt and potassium, phosphate, and magnesium from mineral-rich foods and supplements may be necessary for you to avoid excess mineral loss caused by ketogenic diets and fasting.
Dial Back Your Dinner Hour
Research suggests that it is best to finish eating between 6 and 8 p.m. As bedtime approaches, melatonin increases and insulin output begins to drop. That means blood sugar climbs higher and circulates for longer because there isnt enough insulin to clear it quickly. Research has linked late-evening eating to a greater risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
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What Is Intermittent Fasting And Does It Really Work
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Generally, intermittent fasting is a diet strategy that involves alternating periods of eating and extended fasting. Theres quite a bit of debate in our research community: How much of the benefits of intermittent fasting are just due to the fact that it helps people eat less? Could you get the same benefits by just cutting your calories by the same amount? said Courtney M. Peterson, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who studies time-restricted feeding, a form of intermittent fasting.
We asked Dr. Peterson and a few other experts to help us sort out the real from the scam on intermittent fasting.
Could Help Promote Balance In Other Areas Beyond Food
When we think of intermittent fasting we immediately think of food, since that is what we are limiting. But could we benefit from taking a break from other things in our life?
The basic concept of fasting is to abstain from something for a specific period of time, so what other things could we fast besides food?
Television, social media, and video games to name a few may all be things we could use a break from that may positively impact our health and well-being.
At the end of the day, consciously choosing to reduce or shift our habits can help us create health and wellness goals based on our values and beliefs.
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Top 6 Questions About Intermittent Fasting
1) Wont I get really hungry if I start skipping meals?
As explained above, this can be a result of the habits you have built for your body. If you are constantly eating or always eat the same time of day, your body can actually learn to prepare itself for food by beginning the process of insulin production and preparation for food.
After a brief adjustment period, your body can adapt to the fact that its only eating a few times a day. The more overweight you are, and the more often you eat, the more of an initial struggle this might be.
Remember, your bodys physical and cognitive abilities most likley wont be diminished as a result of short term fasting.
2) Where will I get my energy for my workouts? Wont I be exhausted and not be able to complete my workouts if fasting?
This was a major concern of mine as well, but the research says otherwise: Training with limited carbohydrate availability can stimulate adaptations in muscle cells to facilitate energy production via fat oxidation.
In other words, when you train in a fasted state, your body can get better at burning fat for energy when there are no carbs to pull from!
Ill share some of my experiences, now doing heavy strength training for 3 years in a fasted state:
Here I am pulling 420 lbs. at 172 BW after a 16 hour fast:
A post shared by Steve Kamb on Nov 21, 2018 at 10:43am PST
LeanGains digs into various options here, but here is really what you need to know:
4) Wont fasting cause muscle loss?
Practical Application: Tim Ferriss 3 Day Ketosis Boost
If you want to raise your ketone levels or kickstart your ketogenic journey, try a 3-day fasting protocol like the one below. If intermittent fasting doesnt sound like its something that can work for you, you can also kickstart your keto diet by fat fasting.
- Eat a ketogenic dinner and make that the last meal of the day. Go to bed as normal.
- Get out the door and walk within 30 minutes of waking. Drink coffee or tea if needed, but it is best to limit your caffeine intake because it will cause you to excrete more minerals and fluid than usual.
- Bring at least 1 liter of water, with some added unrefined salt, and sip as you walk to avoid cramping.
- Walk for 3 to 4 hours, sipping water as needed.
- Arrange phone calls or something similar for your walk to make the time productive.
- The idea behind the walk is that you use up your glycogen stores, forcing your body to move more quickly into deep ketosis. The quicker you get into ketosis, the less time you spend feeling drained.
- If you prefer to shorten the time frame, you can do a 45-60 minute bout of HIIT exercise.
- Consume MCT oil 2-3 times throughout the day.
- An affordable, good quality MCT Oil we recommend is NOW Foods MCT Oil.
- This provides you with energy until your ketone levels elevate naturally.
Saturday & Sunday Day
- Break your fast with your favorite ketogenic meal. Take a look at our Keto Recipes to find your new favorite!
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Intermittent Fasting May Affect Men And Women Differently
There is some evidence that intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for some women as it is for men.
One study showed that blood sugar control actually worsened in women after three weeks of intermittent fasting, which was not the case in men .
There are also many anecdotal stories of women who have experienced changes to their menstrual cycles after starting intermittent fasting.
Such shifts occur because female bodies are extremely sensitive to calorie restriction.
When calorie intake is low such as from fasting for too long or too frequently a small part of the brain called the hypothalamus is affected.
This can disrupt the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone , a hormone that helps release two reproductive hormones: luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone (
For these reasons, women should consider a modified approach to intermittent fasting, such as shorter fasting periods and fewer fasting days.
Intermittent fasting may not be as beneficial for women as it is for men. To reduce any adverse effects, women should take a mild approach to fasting: shorter fasts and fewer fasting days.
Intermittent fasting not only benefits your waistline but may also lower your risk of developing a number of chronic diseases.
Research Review Shows Intermittent Fasting Works For Weight Loss Health Changes
Intermittent fasting can produce clinically significant weight loss as well as improve metabolic health in individuals with obesity, according to a new study review led by University of Illinois Chicago researchers.
We noted that intermittent fasting is not better than regular dieting both produce the same amount of weight loss and similar changes in blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation, said Krista Varady, professor of nutrition at the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences and author of Cardiometabolic Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
Krista Varady, professor of nutrition, UIC College of Applied Health Sciences.
According to the analysis published in the Annual Review of Nutrition, all forms of fasting reviewed produced mild to moderate weight loss, 1%-8% from baseline weight, which represents results that are similar to that of more traditional, calorie-restrictive diets. Intermittent fasting regimens may also benefit health by decreasing blood pressure and insulin resistance, and in some cases, cholesterol and triglyceride levels are also lowered. Other health benefits, such as improved appetite regulation and positive changes in the gut microbiome, have also been demonstrated.
The review looked at over 25 research studies involving three types of intermittent fasting:
Various studies of time-restricted eating show participants with obesity losing an average of 3% of their body weight, regardless of the time of the eating window.
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May Help Manage Inflammation
Our bodies naturally undergo inflammation as a part of the process it uses to fight off harmful pathogens or recover from injuries by triggering our immune system.
However, when inflammation persists for too long it can start causing us harm. Chronic inflammation happens when the immune system continues to be triggered by what it thinks is a threat. Prolonged inflammation plays a role in the development of chronic health conditions such as atherosclerosis, heart disease, osteoporosis, and even diabetes .
Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce concentrations of pro-inflammatory markers such as homocysteine, interleukin 6, and C-reactive protein which play a role in the development of these chronic diseases .
Although fasting may provide some health benefits, looking at the quality of our diet and lifestyle can help us create healthy habits to support our health.
Fasting Affects Blood Sugar Management And Insulin Resistance
What does fasting have to do with insulin? Insulin is the primary hormone our bodies use to regulate blood sugar levels. Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is an important goal for people with diabetes and is often measured by Time in Range, A1C, and fasting glucose levels.
Recently, clinical researchers looked at how IF and TRF affect things like blood sugar management and insulin resistance and found promising results.
In a 2021 literature review, eight studies showed that individuals who practiced intermittent fasting had significant reductions in fasting glucose levels . Other important findings included a reduction in A1C levels, weight loss, and an increase in adiponectin .
A study of men with prediabetes found that early morning TRF decreased insulin levels , reduced fluctuations in insulin levels, and decreased insulin resistance. This translates to an improvement in insulin levels and insulin sensitivity.
A research team from the University of South Australia conducted a pilot study and a larger study to look at the 5:2 IF method in people with type 2 diabetes. Both studies found significant reductions in A1C levels and body weight after 12 weeks.
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The Dangers Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a predetermined period where an individual purposely doesnt eat food. From a 12-hour fast to alternate day fasting, many kinds of intermittent fasting diets are becoming increasingly popular. Health professionals argue that intermittent fasting is not necessarily dangerous, but many also agree that intermittent fasting is not safe for everyone.
Phase Out Bedtime Snacks
For all the reasons mentioned here, our general rule is no food after dinner, says Krista Varady, a professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Its probably the most important change you can make. I think the lack of nighttime snacking is the main reason we see such great decreases in insulin resistance in time-restricted eating studies, she says.
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May Increase Your Life Span
There are several reasons that intermittent fasting may positively impact our life span weight loss, decreased blood pressure, and most of the benefits we listed above may all contribute to prolonging our life while increasing our quality of life at the same time.
Intermittent fasting has been found to affect longevity in animal studies, having beneficial effects on life span and markets for health, stress, metabolic response, and age-related diseases .
These findings are hard to confirm in human trials as there are many factors that affect epidemiological studies and many different types of fasting. But at the end of the day, some of the benefits of intermittent fasting may increase our quality of life overall and reduce our risk of developing chronic diseases.