Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
One of the most well-known benefits of fasting is the loss of weight, but there are numerous other advantages to this routine that are often overlooked. When you actively engage in intermittent fasting, the following are some of the benefits that you stand to gain :
- Fat loss
- Prevention and reduction in the occurrence of diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes type 2, and some types of cancer
- Improved heart condition
Why Do Intermittent Fasting Then
So if fasting per se isnt what results in weight loss and health improvements, why then do intermittent fasting in the first place?
Well, although fasting doesnt seem to have any magical properties in and of itself, there are a number of good reasons why you should consider doing intermittent fasting! This is, after all, why we often use this approach with many of our online fitness coaching clients!
So here are a few reasons why you should consider doing intermittent fasting :
1. More structured eating
How often have you found yourself mindlessly snacking between meals? A couple of cookies with your coffee, a small piece of cake that Suzy brought for her birthday at work, a few nuts and dried fruits before dinner, some popcorn with a movie at night. When you think about it, little snacks here and there can add up to quite a few calories. Well, the more structured eating that is a result of intermittent fasting can eliminate this problem and can help people better control their diet.
2. Bigger, more satisfying meals
Eating every 2-3 hours sucks. For one, its impractical and makes you think of food all day. It also means that you never really get to eat big meals, especially if you are a smaller, physically inactive person. On the other hand, more infrequent meals that are larger in volume and provide more calories are usually much more satisfying and may help you feel fuller for longer.
3. Sustainability and adherence
4. Social Flexibility
5. Improved hunger awareness
How Do I Manage Hunger
The most important thing to realize is that hunger usually passes like a wave. Many people worry that hunger during intermittent fasting will continue to build until it is intolerable, but this does not normally happen.46 Instead, hunger comes in a wave. If you simply ignore it and drink a cup of tea or coffee, it will often pass.47
During extended fasts, hunger will often increase into the second day. After that, it gradually recedes, and many people report a complete loss of hunger sensation by day 3 or 4.48 Your body is now being powered by fat. In essence, your body is eating its own fat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and therefore is no longer hungry. Learn more
Also Check: What Is Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss
Does Intermittent Fasting Boost Your Metabolism
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves periods of food restriction, called fasting, followed by a period of regular eating.
This pattern of eating could help you lose weight, reduce your risk of disease, and increase your lifespan .
Some experts even claim that its beneficial effects on metabolism make it a healthier way to lose weight than standard calorie restriction (
Studies have shown that when it comes to weight loss, intermittent fasting can be just as effective as traditional calorie restriction, if not more so .
In fact, a 2014 review found that intermittent fasting could help people lose an impressive 38% of their body weight in 324 weeks .
A 2016 review concluded that in people who have obesity or overweight, intermittent fasting may be a better approach to weight loss than very low calorie diets (
If you are interested in trying intermittent fasting, you can read more about it in this detailed guide for beginners.
Intermittent fasting is a powerful weight loss tool. It can also improve your metabolism and metabolic health.
Isnt Fasting The Same As Reducing Calories
No, not necessarily. Fasting can reduce the time you spend eating and primarily addresses the question of when to eat.62 Calorie reduction addresses the question of what and how much to eat. They are separate issues and should not be confused with each other.
Read Also: How Do I Intermittent Fasting
The Importance Of Autophagy
During autophagy, the body marks damaged parts of cells and unused proteins as potentially harmful. Once your body gets this message, the damaged parts are cleared out. This is a form of cellular cleansing, or detox.
However, if autophagy is never initiated, these dead and damaged proteins accumulate in the body. Fasting is the single most effective way to stimulate autophagy. You can also increase autophagy through exercise and ketosis, but these are not as effective as fasting.
S Man: Pick Your Wait Class
Weve given you the lowdown on IF before, but heres a little refresher for the new students in class.
While the foods above will give you the most obvious benefits from the diet, its the fasting part of IF that provides the oomph.
There are loads of IF plans, but most focus on fasting for a certain number of hours in the day or days of the week.
Heres a breakdown of the most popular IF models:
- The 12:12 method: Fast for 12 hours a day and eat within a 12-hour window. If you eat your last meal at 7 p.m. and have breakfast the next morning at 7 a.m., congratulations, youre already an IF pro.
- The 20:4 method: Fast for a full 20 hours and allow yourself one 4-hour window to eat.
- The 16:8 method: Eat your daily food within an 8-hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours.
- The 5:2 method: Eat whatever you want for 5 days out of the week. For the other 2 days, men can consume 600 calories, while women can consume 500 calories.
IF isnt the only way to lose weight, and like any other method, it comes with some risks and downsides.
There are risks to IF, such as tiredness, irritability, and headaches. Dehydration is also possible if you dont drink enough water during fasting periods.
The fasting/feasting routine is also potentially unrealistic in the long term and may lead to binge eating during feasting periods, which wont support any weight management goals.
Its best to talk to a dietitian or nutritionist before embarking on IF its not for everyone.
Don’t Miss: Does Fasting Lose Belly Fat
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.
Establishing An Intermittent Fasting Plan
So what’s the ideal way to design an intermittent fasting plan? It depends on your schedule and what works best for you, but a good template to start is:
- Start your day off with a glass of water. Your body is made up of around 60 percent water, and every one of your cells needs it to function.
- After your water, have a cup of black coffee or tea, if you’d like. But remember, no sugar or cream/milk.
- Continue fasting for your chosen length of time
- When it’s time to eat, keep your intake of sugar and other carbohydrates low and eat plenty of fiber-rich, nutrient-dense whole foods.
- Continue drinking water throughout the course of the day until you reach your goal intake.
Intermittent Fasting Decreases Metabolism Less Than Continuous Calorie Restriction
When you lose weight, your metabolic rate goes down. Part of this is because losing weight causes muscle loss, and muscle tissue burns calories around the clock.
However, the decrease in metabolic rate seen with weight loss cant always be explained by the loss of muscle mass alone .
Severe calorie restriction over a long period can cause your metabolic rate to drop, as your body enters so-called starvation mode. The scientific term for this is adaptive thermogenesis.
Your body does this to conserve energy as a natural defense against starvation .
This has been demonstrated dramatically in a study of people who lost large amounts of weight while participating in The Biggest Loser, a reality show on TV.
Participants followed a calorie-restricted diet and intense exercise regimen to lose large amounts of weight .
The study found that 6 years later, most of them had regained nearly all of the weight they had lost. However, their metabolic rates had not gone back up and remained around 500 calories lower than you would expect for their body size.
Other studies investigating the effects of calorie restriction on weight loss have found similar results. The drop in metabolism due to weight loss can amount to hundreds of calories per day (
When To Eat On Intermittent Fasting
With the rising popularity of intermittent fasting, new fasting plans and programs come up again and again. Meanwhile, there are numerous types of fasting.
Nevertheless, we already dealt with the essential intermittent fasting schedules. In my experience, it is also the most classical of all methods, with which most people achieve the best results.
The substantial reason for the fact that humans can successfully convert 16/8 intermittent fasting is the simple integration into daily life.
Read Also: What Do You Eat When Intermittent Fasting
What Should You Eat When Breaking A Fast
Your intermittent fast has ended, so its time to get right back into your prior diet, right? Not so fast.
Weve written about this once before, but jumping into three meals a dayand big, heavy meals at thatputs you at risk of refeeding syndrome. This condition affects those who have fasted or are malnourished.
All that food so quickly triggers cell production of protein, fat, and glycogen. However, the phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium concentrations in your blood decrease to such a point that its possible to have heart failure. Other symptoms include heart arrhythmias, seizure, an increase in blood pressure, breathing issues, confusion, weakness, and fatigue. As you may have guessed, refeeding syndrome can be fatal.
Thats why its much better to ease your way back into eating. Heres what to do.
Intermittent Fasting And Coke Zero
Although Cola Zero varies in its composition, it always contains aspartame and acesulfame K.
Besides aspartame, the heat-stable sweetener acesulfame-K in zero drinks increases insulin levels to the same extent as glucose, according to studies .
Therefore, coke zero is not suitable for autophagy and weight loss.
Furthermore, zero-calorie sweeteners stimulate cravings in the brain a characteristic that does not fit intermittent fasting .
Accordingly, researchers have found that zero and light drinks instead of regular soft drinks do not lead to the desired calorie reduction because of the increased appetite .
You May Like: What To Expect From Intermittent Fasting
Foods To Avoid On 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
During your eating window on any method of intermittent fasting, you should stick to the foods presented above. Foods that you need to exclude from the IF food list are:
- Baked goods
- Fried foods
- Low-quality snacks
All processed foods, junk food, refined grains, trans-fat, processed meat, candy bars should be excluded from your list of foods for the 16/8 intermittent fasting method or any other IF protocol.
Carbonated Water Vs Flavored Water
Carbonated, or seltzer, water is allowed when intermittent fasting, but make sure you’re diligent about reading labels. While true seltzer water doesn’t have any added sweeteners, some flavored water drinks do, and it’s easy to get confused.
Read the ingredient lists and avoid anything with added sugar or artificial sweeteners, like aspartame or sucralose. Even water flavored with natural no-calorie sweeteners like stevia may kick-start a sugar craving and make it harder for you to stick your fast.
Choose plain seltzer water or seltzer waters that are flavored with natural flavors or fruit essences only.
Don’t Miss: How To Lose Weight Fast While Fasting
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Break A Fast
When you consume food products that have calories and substances that the body must process and metabolize, you can break your intermittent fast, because your body has begun to metabolize and process the food, just as it would when you eat.
Unlike food, when you consume apple cider vinegar or coffee, for example, the fast is not broken, and the benefits of fasting can actually be enhanced. Both coffee and apple cider vinegar promote AMP-activated kinase within the body. Many researchers studying the benefits of intermittent fasting in conjunction with consuming non-food products, like ACV, believe that AMPK activations are extended, furthering the benefit of intermittent fasting.
Positive Effects Of If Beyond Weight Loss And Type 2 Diabetes
Lots of people get relief from indigestion when they start a LCHF diet. Why is that? I need to convince my nephew that LCHF is his best approach and at 23 years old, nutrition isnt really his thing so I cant convince him to read your blog! He gets terrible heartburn and Im sure it is due to his high carb, high soda diet!
My guess is that there are two main effects. One, the focus on real food rather than highly processed ones is very important to maintain normal function of the GI system. Two, losing weight often improves symptoms of reflux.
Dr. Fung I am 70 and overweight, but have lost 30 lbs on the LCHF diet over about 6 months. Initially, my BP also dropped and my doctor took me off my BP meds because of the lightheadedness I experienced with the BP drop. But, now my BP is up again, even with the addition of ramipril, and my weight loss has stalled. I am still at a BMI of about 30. Do you think the 16:8 IF might help both theses issues?
The link between BP and diet is not quite as tight as with blood sugars. I think trying a 16:8 IF sure couldnt hurt.
There is not much literature about fasting and change in thyroid dosing, so I cant help you there, but I have heard several anecdotal cases of the same thing happening where thyroid function suddenly improves. With the high blood sugars, the only thing to do is to continue with your plan. It certainly seems that you are now mobilizing some of that stored sugar.
You May Like: What To Eat To Lose Weight While Fasting
Why Would Someone Fast In The First Place
The motives behind why people fast are also something important to consider when trying to decide what you can eat and drink during a fast, as this can affect what you are technically allowed to have.
So why do people fast?
Well, different people fast for different reasons, the most common ones being:
/9this Is The Right Way To Break Your Intermittent Fast
Breaking the fast is more complicated than eating the right food. What you eat right after breaking your fast determines if your fasting was successful or not. You just cannot have anything you like as this can sabotage your result. Your first meal should be light and small. Eating a heavy meal, right after fasting can confuse your body and you can suffer from indigestion and bloating. Fill your plate with protein, vitamins and other healthy nutrients and add a small number of carbs and fats. Vegetable smoothies, nuts, soups, fruits and fermented foods are some healthy options.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Purpose Of Intermittent Fasting
Mistake #: Youre Pushing Yourself Too Hard
Ive been doing IF almost 2 months, mostly OMAD, sometimes 48/72 hours extended fasts. The last 3 or 4 days whenever I break my fast I feel a great regret. I always feel like I could push the fast a little longer. What should I do?
Extending a fast doesnt supercharge the powers of IF. If this sounds familiar to you, please find yourself a counselor who specializes in eating disorders. Im not saying you, or this person here, has an eating disorder, but food should not induce feelings of remorse or regret. Left untreated, this could develop into a larger problem. And also, huge kudos to this person for so bravely speaking up and sharing their food feelings!
How Can I Suppress Hunger During Intermittent Fasting
Eat high-fiber foods, such as nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables, and high protein foods, including meat, fish, tofu, or nuts, during your eating window, Varady advised. Chewing high-fiber gummies can also help.
Drink lots of water. People tend to think they’re hungry, when they are really just thirsty, she said.
Go for black coffee or tea, or cinnamon or licorice herbal teas. These beverages may have appetite-suppressing effects, Varady noted.
Watch less TV: I know this sounds strange, but while you are watching TV, you are bombarded with dozens of ads for food. This can make you feel hungry, when in actuality, you are not hungry at all, she said.
Remember, being “a little hungry” is the best thing that can happen to you, wrote Madelyn Fernstrom, health and nutrition editor at NBC News, calling it a “true mind-body connection” that helps you recognize fullness.
You May Like: How Long To Do Intermittent Fasting To Lose Weight