Science Of Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
To understand the science of intermittent fasting, we need to look into the basics of nutrition.
And it is quite straight-forward: the food we eat gets broken down to molecules and ends up in our blood, which feeds the cells in our bodies.
Part of those molecules are net carbohydrates and our body turns them into sugar so our cells could use it for energy.
To be able to use sugar for the energy we need insulin, which is produced in our pancreas and spikes each time we throw in some food with carbohydrates.
Any excess sugars that we dont utilize get stored in the form of fat with the idea that we will use that fat for energy later, once we have no sugar left.
The best way to NOT end up having huge fat reserves is to spend the same amount of energy you get from food.
However, life is not perfect and many of us have lifestyles that limit our chances to move throughout the day. In fact, office workers tend to spend 75% of their waking hours sitting.
So, what can we do to lose or not gain weight?
One way to do it is to focus on increasing your energy expenditure through increased physical activity or in laymans terms exercising and doing sports. But you knew this one already, didnt you?
Another way though is to focus on consuming less food than you need for the energy that day and as a result, creating a caloric deficit.
And thats where intermittent fasting comes in.
Why Would Anyone Intermittent Fast
Intermittent fasting is not a new concept by any means. In fact, the idea surrounding it is to mimic the way our hunter and gatherer ancestors used to eat way back when. They would hunt for food not knowing when their next meal would be. When they caught something, they would feast like they didnât know when their next meal would be .
Today, intermittent fasting has become the adopted term to mimic this ideology in modern society. We artificially famine , followed by eating all of our food in a short window .
There are also many benefits on the body when intermittent fasting. I will cover these later in the article.
How To Do The Ideal Intermittent Fasting
- 12 hours of fasting a day. Different types of intermittent fasting work for different people.
- 16 hours of fasting. Fasting for 16 hours a day with an 8 hour feeding window is called the 16:8 method or Leganane diet.
- Almost 2 days a week.
- I fast every other day.
- Weekly fast for 24 hours.
- Skip meals.
- Warrior diet.
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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.
May Extend Your Lifespan Helping You Live Longer
One of the most exciting applications of intermittent fasting may be its ability to extend lifespan.
Studies in rodents have shown that intermittent fasting extends lifespan in a similar way as continuous calorie restriction .
Intermittent fasting has also been shown to increase the lifespans of fruit flies 30443-3.pdf” rel=”nofollow”> 43).
In some of these studies, the effects were quite dramatic. In an older study, rats that were fasted every other day lived 83% longer than rats who werent fasted .
In a 2017 study, mice that were fasted every other day saw their lifespans increase by around 13% .
Daily fasting was also shown to improve the overall health of male mice. It helped delay the onset of conditions such as fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma, which are both common in aging mice 30512-6″ rel=”nofollow”> 46).
Although this is far from being determined in humans, intermittent fasting has become very popular among the anti-aging crowd.
Given the known benefits for metabolism and all sorts of health markers, it makes sense that intermittent fasting could help you live a longer and healthier life.
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Eat Stop Eat Fasting Diet
- Fast for 24 hours twice per week, and eat normally the other five days.
- During normal eating days, eat nutritious foods.
- You can still eat something every day. Eat at 7 a.m. on Friday, begin your fast at 8 a.m. and eat again after 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.
Based on the experience of author Brad Pilon, the Eat Stop Eat fasting diet allows you to follow normal eating patterns most of the week. Fasting for 24 hours twice per week creates a calorie deficit and can help kickstart ketosis. However, a 24-hour fast is an extended period of time, and you should speak with your healthcare provider before trying longer fasts.
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Fasting And Gut Health
Our gut bacteria seem to like short periods of fasting. Most of the research is animal-based, but some recent human trials show fasting can decrease the bacteria associated with inflammation and increase bacterial diversity two important features when improving gut health.
Time-restricted feeding has a lot do with changes to gut bacteria. Gut bacteria are affected by day-night body patterns or circadian rhythms.
If your body has periods without food overnight, this can help re-establish disrupted circadian rhythms and improve gut health.
Having a decent overnight fast may therefore be a great way to start giving your gut bacteria a helping hand. A 10 to 12-hour overnight period, say 7pm to 7am, where no food is consumed is actually a traditional way of eating. After all, thats the meaning behind the word breakfast: to break the fast.
What Does An Intermittent Fasting Day Look Like
The 16:8 fasting method involves fasting for 16 hours of the day most of which is when you are asleep then eating within an eight-hour window of time. The timing of those eight hours can be whenever suits you best. The reason this is one of the most successful fasting methods is that many people are already fasting for 10 to 12 hours without even realising. To extend your fasting window, you might start by pushing breakfast back a little later and bringing dinner forward. Take a look at the intermittent fasting plan suggestions and consider if one of them fits into your lifestyle.
May Help Prevent Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is the worlds most common neurodegenerative disease.
Theres no cure currently available for Alzheimers, so preventing it from showing up in the first place is critical.
In a series of case reports, a lifestyle intervention that included daily short-term fasts was able to significantly improve Alzheimers symptoms in 9 out of 10 people .
However, more research in humans is needed.
Studies in animals suggest that intermittent fasting may be protective against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers disease.
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Intermittent Fasting Can Be Hard But Maybe It Doesnt Have To Be
Initial human studies that compared fasting every other day to eating less every day showed that both worked about equally for weight loss, though people struggled with the fasting days. So, I had written off IF as no better or worse than simply eating less, only far more uncomfortable. My advice was to just stick with the sensible, , diet.
New research is suggesting that not all IF approaches are the same, and some are actually very reasonable, effective, and sustainable, especially when combined with a nutritious plant-based diet. So Im prepared to take my lumps on this one .
We have evolved to be in sync with the day/night cycle, i.e., a circadian rhythm. Our metabolism has adapted to daytime food, nighttime sleep. Nighttime eating is well associated with a higher risk of obesity, as well as .
Based on this, researchers from the University of Alabama conducted a study with a small group of obese men with prediabetes. They compared a form of intermittent fasting called “early time-restricted feeding,” where all meals were fit into an early eight-hour period of the day ,or spread out over 12 hours . Both groups maintained their weight but after five weeks, the eight-hours group had dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity, as well as significantly lower blood pressure. The best part? The eight-hours group also had significantly decreased appetite. They werent starving.
Fasting Can Reduce Calories Without Restricting Food Groups
Regardless of the style of fasting, this most recent study suggests that fasting works to facilitate weight loss simply by reducing calorie intake.
During the eating windows, participants were allowed to eat as much of any food they chose. They had to stick to only water and other zero-calorie beverage during their fasting period.
Researchers estimated that both fasting groups ate about 550 fewer calories each day as a result of fasting. Again, the two-hour longer fasting period did not appear to make a significant difference.
Participants did report some initial side effects of fasting such as fatigue, headaches, and dizziness, but those dissipated after three weeks, indicating it can take a little time for the body to adjust to a new fasting diet.
The fasting groups also showed improvements in their insulin resistance and oxidative stress after the 10 weeks more promising evidence that fasting could improve overall metabolic health and even resistance to chronic disease.
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Fasting And Brain Health
Memory and mood can also benefit from fasting.
Fasting can help to protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons, by shocking the brain into create new neurons, explains Chambers.
These new neurons are more resistant to plaque accumulation, which is related to the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Fasting may also improve memory and mood by stimulating the growth of new neurons and strengthening neural connections in the brain.
What To Eat When Following An 1: 6 Intermittent Fasting
People often ask, What can I have while intermittent fasting 18:6?. Obviously, you are not allowed to eat anything during your 18-hour fasting period. And for the rest of the day, you need to stick to a healthy well-balanced diet, if you want to improve your wellness and slim down a couple of sizes. Try to avoid sugary foods and drinks, junk food, and other products filled with unhealthy components such as trans and saturated fats and refined carbohydrates.
Your diet should consist of fruits, vegetables , lean meats, poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, dairy, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and others. Make sure that you consume enough essential nutrients, such as:
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Intermittent Fasting Is Not Enough To Keep You In Ketosis
The 16/8 fasting window may not be enough to get you into or keep you in ketosis. Even if you do end up in ketosis, if you continue to eat a diet with even a moderate amount of carbs itll probably kick you out of ketosis each time.
This can result in unpleasant side effects such as the keto flu and being overly hungry each time you start fasting again.
How To Make Intermittent Fasting Work For You
Studies have pointed out that intermittent fasting can improve insulin resistance, which can help maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day. A specific study involving three men suffering from type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, found that they were able to stop taking their insulin doses after losing weight from the intermittent fasting. These results disprove the widely-held belief that diabetes cannot be cured.
A previous study that Mattson co-authored showed that the previously mentioned metabolic switch can increase the resistance to stress by improving overall brain function and neuroplasticity, a fancy term for the brains ability to adapt and restructure itself throughout ones life.
Older adults who were put on a restricted-calorie diet similar to intermittent fasting have shown improved verbal memory compared to another group who hadnt done intermittent fasting. Even physical function and performance improved for some participants. One study with young male participants who fasted every day for 16 hours reported that they lost fat and retained their muscle mass while being on a training regimen for two months.
What You Should Eat While Intermittent Fasting
Proper nutrition during intermittent fasting: Drink plenty of water: Water is a great hunger. Coffee: Yes, coffee can be allowed during intermittent fasting by avoiding artificial sweeteners and raw/boiled milk. Simple Tea – Simple tea is a great liquid with no calories, sugar or salt and is a great option for satisfying hunger while fasting.
How Does 1: 6 Intermittent Fasting Help With Weight Loss
Jason Fung, MD, a nephrologist and author of The Complete Guide to Fasting, explained that intermittent fasting can help you burn fat by lowering insulin levels.
This is different than the typical method of weight loss suggested by most experts, which is to restrict calories. Dr. Fung said if you reduce your calories from 2,000 to 1,500 a day , the body is forced to reduce its metabolic rate to match. The slower metabolism makes you feel cold, tired, and hungry. Weight loss eventually plateaus, which means you’ll need to eat even less to lose weight, which is not sustainable. This is why Dr. Fung said calorie-restriction diets fail, which was also proven in contestants from weight-loss TV show The Biggest Loser. A major study that looked at former The Biggest Loser contestants found that a period of intense calorie restriction and weight loss had wrecked their metabolisms, leaving them needing much fewer calories to maintain their new weight than before they went on the show. Most of the contestants ended up regaining most, if not all, the weight they had lost on the show.
To find out your target calories, you need to calculate your basal metabolic rate and total energy expenditure . Use this formula to estimate how many calories you should eat a day for weight loss.
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Intermittent Fasting Can Help Weight Loss
IF makes intuitive sense. The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains , are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells dont use it all, we store it in our fat cells as, well, fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there.
Between meals, as long as we dont snack, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy. We lose weight if we let our insulin levels go down. The entire idea of IF is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat.
What’s The Best Diet For You To Lose Weight
The 7 best foods to lose weight fast. Green tea. If you don’t drink green tea during your workout, you might be wasting your time at the bar. Almond. Think of each almond as a natural diet pill. Pistachios Stephen Colbert probably understands something. Rapeseed oil Legumes Yogurt enriched with vitamin D.
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What Intermittent Fasting Results Can You Expect
There are so many articles on Intermittent Fasting benefits, different types of Fasting and tips on how to practice this lifestyle.
Yet, what about the actual Intermittent Fasting results?
How much weight can you lose with Intermittent Fasting and how long does it take to see results from Intermittent Fasting? What other benefits can you expect when embarking on your new fasting journey?
To answer these questions and get a real-life perspective, we reached out to our , as well as Intermittent Fasters on Instagram and Reddit. With over 800 people who successfully completed our 21-Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge, we got some great examples to share!
We interviewed over 30 people to understand what Intermittent Fasting results they experienced and summarized the findings below in this blog post.
Spoiler Alert: the Intermittent Fasting results are so inspiring youll want to start straight away!