How Does Intermittent Fasting Work
There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting, but they are all based on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast. For instance, you might try eating only during an eight-hour period each day and fast for the remainder. Or you might choose to eat only one meal a day two days a week. There are many different intermittent fasting schedules.
Mattson says that after hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat. He refers to this as metabolic switching.
Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours, Mattson says. If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and theyre not exercising, then every time they eat, theyre running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.
Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.
Beverages You Can Consume While Fasting:
- Water Carbonated or plain water contains no calories and will keep you hydrated during a fast.
- Diluted apple cider vinegar Drinking 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed into the water can help you stay hydrated and prevent cravings during a fast.
- Coffee and tea You can consume them without adding milk, sugar, or cream.
Some people drink coffee with MCT oil, ghee, or coconut oil during their fast. Oil breaks a fast but it wont break ketosis and can tide you over meals.
Also, some people drink bone broth that is a rich source of nutrients and can help replenish electrolytes lost during long periods of drinking only water.
Drinks that contain any calories like bone broth or coffee with MCT oil will technically break your fast. However small amounts of these drinks wont throw your body out of ketosis.
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Carbs On 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
Carbs are the major source of energy for your body. There are three different types of carbohydrates: starches, fiber, and sugars.
For instance, fiber is a carbohydrate that aids in digestion, helps you feel full, and keeps blood cholesterol levels in check.
Carbs often get a bad reputation for causing weight gain. Not all carbs are created equal and they are not inherently fattening. You should choose foods that are high in fiber and starch but low in sugars.
Healthy carbohydrate-rich foods include:
- Herbal tea
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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.
Best Foods To Break A 16 Hour Fast
The best way to break a 16-hour fast is with nutrient-rich foods that can fuel your body with the nutrition it needs to stay healthy.
Nutrition refers to more than just calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fats . It also includes micronutrients like vitamins and minerals both essential for many body functions.
As you can imagine, its not about the number of calories alone that will determine your success with intermittent fasting but the quality of the foods that make up those calories.
The top nutrient-dense foods to break a 16:8 fast include:
- Lean proteins: chicken and poultry, meat, fish, legumes , eggs, nuts, and seeds.
- Vegetables: fresh or frozen, the richer in color the better.
- Fruits: fresh or frozen, a variety of fruit is the best option.
- Whole grains: rice, oats, quinoa, wheat , and other ancient grains.
- Healthy fats: olive oil, avocado , coconut oil, and fats from nuts .
The most important thing to remember is to provide your body with a variety of foods from which it can get the nutrition it needs.
Eating the same foods each day can lead to nutritional deficiencies and meal boredom.
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How Many Meals To Eat When Intermittent Fasting
As we have just discovered, eating less often keeps insulin levels in check and burn fat. For this reason, science has proven that snacks cannot help you lose weight .
Intermittent fasting, unlike conventional dieting, has the advantage that you can always increase it.
If you like, you can eat only once a day instead of twice or even fast for several days. Thus, it is incredibly flexible.
Nevertheless, you should not immediately overstrain your body when you start intermittent fasting. For example, it is advantageous to establish simple rules when you start:
- Lunch and dinner only
- Between the two meals, natural snacks, like a handful of walnuts, are allowed
With time and experience, you will get to know your body better, and you can stop snacks completely or eat one big meal a day.
In any case, an 8-hour eating period is enough to lose weight with the appropriate diet.
What Is 1: 8
As a note, the scientific community tends to restrict the term intermittent fasting to diets that drastically restrict calories for 2-4 days of the week . For daily fasting of set durations, the term time-restricted eating is preferred. For the sake of this page, the terms will be used interchangeably.
Although 16:8 is a fairly mild protocol when it comes to time-restricted eating/intermittent fasting, it could have differing effects based on age and sex, so working with a dietitian and/or physician to see how it could affect you may be prudent.
Time-restricted eating is often described as the ratio of hours spent abstaining from food and the hours where eating is permitted.
16:8 is a particular time-restricted eating protocol in which individuals abstain from any caloric intake for 16 hours, and then eat freely for 8 hours. Other popular schedules include 18:6, 20:4, and one-meal-a-day .
Previously, these types of eating schedules fell under the category of intermittent fasting, but now that term generally refers to eating schedules that involve abstaining from or drastically lowering energy intake for more than 24 hours. Time-restricted eating can involve a caloric deficit to lose weight, but doesnt have to.
16:8 is a type of time-restricted eating where you abstain from eating for sixteen hours, and then eat freely for the remaining eight. It can be combined with a caloric deficit for weight loss, but doesnt have to be.
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Health Benefits Of Autophagy
Restricting calories for longer periods has the additional health benefits of autophagy, during which cellular organelles are broken down and rejuvenated. Autophagy is a constant process that works in the background of cells since it is also responsible for balancing limited energy sources during nutrient stress it can also be induced by caloric restriction. During fasting, the TOR kinase nutrient signalling pathway is deactivated, triggering autophagy. The cellular renewal that is associated with autophagy reaps many health benefits including protecting against cancer, neuropathies, heart disease and auto-immune disease and may even boost longevity .
Read more about what happens to the body during fasting for weight loss here.
Potential Side Effects And Risks
This type of intermittent fasting, 16/8 plan is not for everyone and even its associated with many health benefits it does come with some drawbacks.
Potential side effects and risks of fasting for 16 hours a day include:
- hunger, weakness, and tiredness in the beginning stages of the plan
- overeating or eating unhealthy foods during the 8-hour window due to excessive hunger
- heartburn or reflux as a result of overeating
Restricting your food intake to just 8 hours a day can cause some people to eat more than usual during this eating period in an attempt to make up for hours spent fasting. This may lead to digestive problems, the development of unhealthy eating habits, and counter-effect such as weight gain.
Additionally, some research suggests that intermittent fasting may be less beneficial for women than men.
Some animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting could interfere with fertility and reproduction in females. 16/8 intermittent fasting is not suitable for those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive.
However more human studies are needed to evaluate the effects of intermittent fasting on reproductive health.
If you are a beginner with intermittent fasting and youre trying it for the first time, you should know that it can make you feel dizzy and nauseated and cause periods of low blood sugar and dehydration.
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When To Eat Carbs On Intermittent Fasting
Since no essential carbohydrates exist, the body does not need them to survive. However, our body cannot produce essential fatty acids and amino acids.
But because it can produce glucose through gluconeogenesis, blood sugar levels remain stable if you eat zero carbs .
Nevertheless, there are situations with intermittent fasting where carbohydrates can fit well into the diet.
For example, many athletes do not want to do without carbohydrates, as they continuously empty their glycogen stores. Adding carbohydrates to their diet can contribute to muscle recovery .
Thus, you can time carbohydrates very well during intermittent fasting:
- Training day: More carbohydrates replenishing glycogen stores in the muscles
- Rest day: low-carb or ketogenic diet
Accordingly, you can adapt your intermittent fasting plan to athletic needs through carb-cycling or cyclical ketogenic nutrition.
Nevertheless, so-called loading days are not necessary for muscle building as long as the protein supply is given .
Although the insulin levels increased by carbohydrates can help the muscles recover, it also helps build body fat more efficiently .
For this reason, bodybuilders often claim that they cant gain muscle without also building up body fat.
In short, a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is still the best option if losing weight is your primary goal.
Intermittent Fasting And Weight Loss
Data shows diets dont work. Theyre unsustainable in the long run and not that useful for weight loss. Yes, youll lose a few pounds initially, but research shows those changes dont last. Intermittent fasting is a fantastic alternative. Since IF is a lifestyle transformation, its more sustainable than any fad diet that tempts you.
Many research studies confirm IF is a sustainable weight-loss method and a valid option if weight loss is your goal. One 2018 study shows IF is also beneficial because it can help you lose weight without focusing on calorie counting an added benefit if you dont want to work that hard.
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Foods To Avoid During The Intermittent Fasting
You need to avoid some foods during intermittent fasting to maintain a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Processed foods such as burgers, fries, and nuggets are high in calories, and they can increase your food cravings. These foods contain fat, added sugar, and empty calories.
Here is the list of foods you need to avoid during your intermittent fasting
- Snacks such as fried chips
- Sugary drinks like carbonated drinks, coffee, cold coffee
- Processed, packed juices
- Processed foods such as cheese, meat, etc
Many studies suggest that processed foods and carbonated drinks lead to weight gain. You can replace carbonated drinks with fresh juices and fried foods with healthy salads. Be more mindful while choosing your food to make your intermittent fasting more powerful.
Rules And Guideline: How To Do It
The basic rule to get started with your 16:8 diet plan is to pick an eight-hour window and restrict your food intake during that time span.
You also need to choose the 16-hour fasting window that includes the time that you will be sleeping.
You can do this by skipping breakfast, eating your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8 pm. Some people love food consumption in the early evening, as metabolism slows down after this time. However, every one has personal preferences.
The three most common types of 16/8 Intermittent fasting are:
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Mistake #: Youre Overanalyzing
“Does IF mean no food outside meal times, or no calories?”
Um, they are one in the same, no? Does anyone reading this article know of foods that have zero calories? If so, please share! This persons assumption is correct, thoughno food and no calories outside of the feeding window.
Will eating ______ break my fast?
Does anyone else feel like this question comes up about a thousand times a day? Short answer: Yes. Eating anything with calories breaks your fast. Exceptions to this rule would be black coffee, unsweetened and milk-free tea, water, and diet soda
Intermittent Fasting 16/8 Foods To Eat
Intermittent fasting is a schedule for eating that is aimed to help you lose weight. There are a few different schedules that people use but the most popular is 16/8. You will not be allowed to eat for 16 hours a day but you can eat freely for 8 hours a day. Most people schedule this in a way that makes it so the 16 hours is combined with nighttime hours. You will sleep for half of the 16 hours. But what do you do when you can eat? There are some tips for intermittent fasting 16/8 foods to eat in order to get the best results.
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Foods List And Meal Plan
To maximize the potential health benefits of your diet, its important to stick to nutritious whole foods and beverages during your eating periods.
Filling up on nutrient-rich foods helps round out your diet and supports a healthy weight. Try balancing each meal with a wide variety of whole foods, such as:
- Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, oranges, peaches, pears, tomatoes, etc.
- Veggies: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers, leafy greens, etc.
- Whole grains: barley, buckwheat, quinoa, rice, oats, etc.
- Healthy fats: olive oil and avocados
- Protein sources: eggs, fish, legumes, meat, poultry, nuts, seeds, etc.
Drinking calorie-free beverages like water and unsweetened tea and coffee, even while fasting, also helps control your appetite while keeping you hydrated.
Its best to avoid ultra-processed foods like packaged snacks, deep-fried items, sugary drinks, and most frozen meals. These negate the positive effects of 16/8 intermittent fasting and may harm your health.
To begin 16/8 intermittent fasting, choose an 8-hour window and limit your food intake to that time span. Be sure to follow a balanced diet based in whole foods.
Animal and human studies suggest that intermittent fasting may increase weight loss, improve blood sugar levels, and extend longevity.
Recommended Dosage Active Amounts Other Details
Simply allocate a 16-hour window in the day that you will abstain from calories completely. Many choose their window to be from around 8 p.m. to 12 p.m. the following day, but its just as possible to eat earlier in the day and stop eating earlier.
In fact, insulin sensitivity tends to be better in the morning, so having an early eating window may be preferable for some people, although many opt to eat later in the day because its more conducive with social eating. Adherence to these protocols is typically easier for people who have familial support, and for some the practice becomes easier with time.
Generally speaking, water, tea, seltzer, and coffee are considered permissible to eat during the fasting window. While other things such as chewing gum, exogenous ketones, MCT oil, supplements, apple cider vinegar, and artificial sweeteners are hotly debated, a good rule of thumb is that if the product has more than 5-10 kcal then it should be avoided until the fasting window ends.
Its simple: dont consume anything except for water, coffee, or tea for 16 continuous hours, and then eat freely for the remaining 8 hours.
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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.
Eat Stop Eat Vs 16/8 Which To Choose
If you are reading this post, most likely you are interested in intermittent fasting and the different types of intermittent fasting protocols out there.
It is beneficial to learn about different methods of intermittent fasting and even try different methods to switch up your fasting efforts in order to keep making gains.
In this post we look at two popular intermittent fasting methods, Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon and 16/8.