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.
The Benefits Of Fasting Don’t Kick In At The Same Time For Every Person
Experts agree that your personal habits will play a role in when exactly certain health benefits will kick in.
“There are very few definites here,” says Vincent Pedre, M.D., an integrative physician and gut health expert who frequently recommends intermittent fasting diets to his patients.
“Where you start seeing those benefits depends on what you eat, how healthy your gut health is, what kind of physical activity you’re doing, etc.”
For example, letting calories slip into your fasting window, overeating calorie-dense foods like pizza during your eating window, not prioritizing sleep or physical activity, or making one of these intermittent-fasting mistakes could all delay or counteract the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Even if you’re formulating the rest of your diet and lifestyle perfectly, it’s important to understand that the different health benefits associated with intermittent fasting will likely kick in at different durations of fasting.
For example, weight loss may be triggered by a relatively short fasting window, while entering ketosis or triggering autophagythat “self-cleaning” cellular process that boosts brain functioning and maybe even longevitymay take significantly longer.
Unfortunately, not enough research has been conducted on all the different forms of intermittent fasting to provide any hard-and-fast rules.
I Would Move Away From Intermittent Fasting For Fat Loss And If You Want To Adopt It Think About The Health Benefits Rachel Clarkson
Someone who has a high-carb diet might never move beyond the catabolic state as they will always have a reserve supply of glycogen. However, someone with a low-carb diet and who regularly exercises might move through it very quickly . I would move away from intermittent fasting for fat loss, and if you want to adopt it think about the health benefits, says Clarkson.
How to fast
To fast you have to downregulate the feeling of hunger, says Clarkson. Hunger is felt when ghrelin, a hormone released from our stomach, triggers the production of two other hormones, called NPY and AgRP, in the hypothalamus.
While these three hormones generate feelings of hunger, there are a multitude more that suppress it. Sometimes called the satiety hormones, one of the key ones is leptin which is released from fat cells to suppress the production of ghrelin basically telling the body “there is fat here that you can burn”.
Ghrelin is sometimes called the short-term hunger response because it is released when the stomach is empty and there is less pressure on the stomach wall. It can be overridden to a certain extent by drinking water. Leptin meanwhile works over the long term.
* William Park is a senior journalist at BBC Future and is @williamhpark on Twitter.
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Examples Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting involves going for extended periods of time without eating, or eating very little, followed by a period of eating normally.
- Alternate day fasting is when you fast on alternate days and eat ad libitum on eating days.
- The 5:2 involves severely reducing your calorie intake on two days of the week and eating a healthy, balanced diet on the other five days.
- 16:8 intermittent fasting involves eating only during an eight-hour window and fasting for the remaining 16 hours. For example, you may eat between 10am and 6pm, then refrain from eating until the next day at 10am again.
- Some people do a 24-hour fast, which involves consuming no calories on one day of the week or month.
There Is Interest In Whether Autophagy Can Increase The Lifespan Of Whole Organisms Though So Far This Has Only Been Replicated In Animals
There is interest in whether autophagy can increase the lifespan of whole organisms, too though so far this has only been replicated in animals, like 1mm-long nematode worms and mice, and not humans . Until there are longitudinal studies of human intermittent fasters, it is too soon to say that it will extend our lifespans.
But, other animal studies have linked autophagy to improvements in immune system memory. The fact that autophagy is essential to maintain cell health has also generated interest in its role in cancer suppression. There might be more reasons than increasing lifespan to take interest in autophagy.
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Unlike calorie-restrictive diets , the purpose of intermittent fasting is to increase the amount of time between the last meal of one day and the first of the next. This could help to promote autophagy, but to understand how we should look at what happens to us after we eat.
Eating even a small bite before bed extends the “fed state”, meaning you may never achieve ketosis before your next meal
When you stop eating at 19:00 you will still be in the fed state until 22:00 because you will still be digesting nutrients, says Clarkson. Any carbohydrates in your diet will give you a nice supply of glucose, our premium source of fuel, for a few hours.
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What Is 18/6 Intermittent Fasting
This fasting plan gives an eating window of 6 hours, and you fast for 18 hours at a stretch in a day. There is no restriction on what you should eat in the eating window, as long as you are consuming it in the eating window.
Since the fasting duration is long, most people start with milder forms of intermittent fasting, such as 14/10 or 16/8, before shifting to the full-fledged 18/6 fasting mode. This gives your body a chance to adapt to the new lifestyle and avoid side effects such as weakness or bloating.
You can execute an 18-hour fast schedule every day or a couple of times per week. Its entirely up to you how often you want to repeat this cycle.
Its easy to implement 18/6 fasting because it doesnt require you to adjust your eating habits. It allows you to fast in a more flexible way than other fasting or diet regimes.
The Backstory On Intermittent Fasting
IF as a weight loss approach has been around in various forms for ages but was highly popularized in 2012 by BBC broadcast journalist Dr. Michael Mosleys TV documentary Eat Fast, Live Longer and book The Fast Diet, followed by journalist Kate Harrisons book The 5:2 Diet based on her own experience, and subsequently by Dr. Jason Fungs 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code. IF generated a steady positive buzz as anecdotes of its effectiveness proliferated.
In the Obesity Code, Fung successfully combines plenty of research, his clinical experience, and sensible nutrition advice, and also addresses the socioeconomic forces conspiring to make us fat. He is very clear that we should eat more fruits and veggies, fiber, healthy protein, and fats, and avoid sugar, refined grains, processed foods, and for Gods sake, stop snacking.
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There Were A Lot Of Unexpected Results
Ive been thinking about doing some fasting for quite a while. Im an athlete and very healthy, but as a 40 year old I cant ignore the mounting evidence that going without food on a regular basis is very good for you and has a lot of bang for buck when it comes to anti-aging. Having found myself at home and off work
/6 Intermittent Fasting: All You Need To Know
Most people who start 18/6 intermittent fasting already have some fasting experience. After following 16/8 fasting for a while, you can easily switch to 18/6 intermittent fasting. This switch may allow you to reach your weight loss and health goals faster.
18/6 intermittent fasting? Isnât it called 16/8 intermittent fasting?
No, 18/6 is not a typo. While 18/6 intermittent fasting is less well known than the popular 16/8 method, this version is still commonly followed.
18/6 fasting is related to 16/8 intermittent fasting, you simply fast daily for 18 hours instead of 16.
While this may sound hard, we show you how you can slowly adapt your body to longer fasting times.
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What Is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
The practice of 16/8 intermittent fasting involves limiting your intake of foods and calorie-containing beverages to a set window of 8 hours per day. You abstain from food for the remaining 16 hours, though youre still allowed to drink water and other no-calorie beverages, like plain coffee or tea.
You can repeat this cycle as frequently as youd like from just once or twice per week to every day, depending on your preference.
The popularity of this fasting method has grown widely among those looking to lose weight and burn fat. 16/8 intermittent fasting is also believed to improve blood sugar control and enhance longevity.
While other diets often set strict rules, 16/8 intermittent fasting is easy to follow and may provide measurable results with minimal disruption to your diet. Its generally considered less restrictive and more flexible than many other diets and works with most lifestyles.
With 16/8 intermittent fasting, you restrict your food intake to an 8-hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours. This practice may support weight loss, improve blood sugar, and increase longevity.
It is simple, safe, and sustainable to do 16/8 intermittent fasting.
Differences Between 18/6 And 16/8 Fasting
Now lets talk about the major differences between 18/6 and 16/8 fasting and how much of a difference you can expect it to really make depending on which one you choose.
First, the meaning of that seemingly insignificant two-hour difference can be important for how many calories you take in. If youre overweight and your main goal with intermittent fasting is to lose weight, having two fewer hours to eat every day can ultimately lead to you eating fewer calories every day, which can add up signifcantly over time.
On the other hand, if you know that youre likely to get hungry easily or that fasting might be challenging for you mentally, getting two extra hours to eat in a day might make a big difference in how sustainable intermittent fasting is for you. After all, an eight-hour eating window isnt actually that different from the way you might already be eating in your day to day life.
Finally, its worth discussing the difference in results that you might get from doing 18/6 fasting instead of leangains fasting. A study actually came out earlier this year on 16/8 fasting that sought to find out what its impact was on weight loss and metabolic health. And the results were rather surprising: a 16/8 diet was associated with a modest decrease in weight that wasnt actually that different from the weight loss seen in the control group.
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What Is The 1: 6 Intermittent Fasting Method Experts Explain
The benefits of intermittent fasting some people experience include weight loss, more energy, improved digestion, decreased sugar cravings, and better sleep. There are so many ways to fit intermittent fasting into your life, so if you’ve been thinking about it, there’s bound to be one that’s right for you.
Of course, before starting any new diet plan, including intermittent fasting, be sure to check in with your doctor first. Once you get the OK, doing 14:10 fasting is a great place to start, where you fast daily for 14 hours and have a 10-hour eating window. If you’re ready to do longer fasts, the 16:8 protocol is the perfect next step. It extends your fasting window by two hours for example: eating from noon until 8 p.m. If you find that you eat dinner earlier, though, you might be interested in trying 18:6.
How To Do It
The easiest way to follow the 16:8 diet is to choose a 16-hour fasting window that includes the time that a person spends sleeping.
Some experts advise finishing food consumption in the early evening, as metabolism slows down after this time. However, this is not feasible for everyone.
Some people may not be able to consume their evening meal until 7 p.m. or later. Even so, it is best to avoid food for 23 hours before bed.
People may choose one of the following 8-hour eating windows:
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- noon to 8 p.m.
Within this timeframe, people can eat their meals and snacks at convenient times. Eating regularly is important to prevent blood sugar peaks and dips and to avoid excessive hunger.
Some people may need to experiment to find the best eating window and mealtimes for their lifestyle.
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What Is Intermittent Fasting And Why Do People Use It
IF has had a cult following in health and wellness circles for a decade and there are more than a half dozen ways to do it from alternate-day fasting, 5:2, and the OMAD diet.
Where most diets focus on what to eat, IF is mostly about when to eat, giving your body a prolonged break from the intensive task of breaking down and digesting food. Studies suggest that when your body gets a break from the consuming job of digestion, all kinds of reparative functions may take place throughout the body: inflammation may cool , brain fog may clear, and mental focus may sharpen . Some studies suggest that your risk for metabolic diseases, obesity, and cancer may drop, and weight loss may become a heck of a lot easier.
- 18:6 is a method of time-restricted eating where you fast for 18 hours and then limit all of your calories to the remaining 6 hours of the day.
- Before diving into the 18:6 plan, youll want to build up to that timing in increments.
- Some studies suggest that when your body gets a break from digestion, inflammation may be reduced, brain fog may clear, and mental focus may sharpen.
As long as your drink of choice remains under 50 calories, it wont break your fast.
What Can I Eat While Intermittent Fasting
During the times when youre not eating, water and zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee and tea are permitted.
And during your eating periods, eating normally does not mean going crazy. Youre not likely to lose weight or get healthier if you pack your feeding times with high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried items and treats.
But what Williams likes about intermittent fasting is that it allows for a range of different foods to be eaten and enjoyed. We want people to be mindful and take pleasure in eating good, nutritious food, she says. She adds that eating with others and sharing the mealtime experience adds satisfaction and supports good health.
Williams, like most nutrition experts, regards the Mediterranean diet as a good blueprint of what to eat, whether youre trying intermittent fasting or not. You can hardly go wrong when you pick complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats and lean protein.
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How Often Should You Do 1: 8 Intermittent Fasting
You can do anywhere from one day of intermittent 16:8 fasting to seven days a week, because, unlike other intermittent fasting diets, each day of the 16:8 works independently to the rest.
Evidence differs, however, on whether it’s healthy to do intermittent fasting all the time. While research from Queen’s Medical Centre has proven that short-term fasting boosts the metabolism, longer fasts of around three or more days can actually suppress it and slow it right down. Plus, going without food for a long period of time can lead to an increased level of cholesterol, feeling sick in the morning , dehydration and spells of low blood sugar.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe
Some people try intermitting fasting for weight management, and others use the method to address chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol or arthritis. But intermittent fasting isnt for everyone.
Williams stresses that before you try intermittent fasting , you should check in with your primary care practitioner first. Some people should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting:
- Children and teens under age 18.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Those with a history of eating disorders.
But, Williams says, people not in these categories who can do intermittent fasting safely can continue the regimen indefinitely. It can be a lifestyle change, she says, and one with benefits.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting may have different effects on different people. Talk to your doctor if you start experiencing unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea or other symptoms after you start intermittent fasting.