Fasting, by definition, is abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined time. There is so much research supporting facts that intermittent fasting improves physical and mental health.
In this post, you’ll read about the benefits and rules. Also, how it can be helpful for weight loss.
INTERMITTENT FASTING BENEFITS
The study showed that IF resulted in :
- reduced levels of insulin and leptin which parallel increases in insulin and leptin sensitivity
- reduced body fat
- elevated ketone levels
- reduced resting heart rate and blood pressure
- reduced inflammation
- increased resistance of the brain and heart to stress
- resistance to diabetes.
IF can also delay the onset and slow the progression of neuronal dysfunction and degeneration in animal models of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.
Small trials of IF in patients with cancer (Safdie et al., 2009) or multiple sclerosis (Choi et al., 2016) have generated promising results that provide a strong rationale for moving forward with larger clinical trials in patients with a range of chronic age- and obesity-related disorders.
HOW TO DO AN INTERMITTENT FASTING?
There are few solutions to put your body into a fasting mode.
The most popular ones are:
- fasting daily for from 12 to 20 hours
- eating once a day
- eating only every second day
- fasting for 24 hours for two days a week
HOW DO I DO IT?
For me, the most sustainable and most convenient method is fasting every day for a particular time.
Some people suggest 16 hours of fasting, followed by 8 hours of consuming calories.
Based on my experience, the optimum ratio is 14/10 or 15/9.
Anything more than that affects my performance in the long term.
Fasting for 16 hours might be useful when you have enough fat to lose.
If you are relatively lean, consider a shorter time as extensive fasting can damage your muscle mass too.
Sources inform that 12 hours of fasting are already beneficial.
During the first 12 hours of fasting, your body burns glycogen. After 12 hours, it starts to burn fat stores.
So if you want to put your body into intermittent fasting mode then fast for at least 12 hours.
Find your sweet spot.
Many people fail with fasting because they don’t follow the rules.
Therefore I want to repeat the most important principles. Later in this section, you will also find an infographic with products that are allowed and restricted.
MANDATORY INTERMITTENT FASTING RULES
- don’t consume any calories for at least 12 hours
- during fasting drink liquids which contain 0 calories
- eat 3 to 4 meals during your feeding window
- make sure that you deliver a sufficient amount of protein
- eat enough of carbohydrates and fat to provide energy
- do not eat large portions and do not indulge in unhealthy options
WHAT TO EAT DURING FASTING?
Anything that converts to glucose is restricted. Sugar does spike an insulin level which presence in bloodstream brakes fast.
Whatever food is not allowed, but what about drinks?
Here I want to stop for a moment and list preferred and restricted drinks.
WHAT TO DRINK DURING FASTING?
- black tea and green tea
- drinks that contain 0 calories
- black coffee
- water with lemon, cucumber
- apple cider vinegar
- flavored tea with fruits
- bulletproof coffee and latte
The fact that products listed in section ”restricted” cause insulin spike might be surprising for many of you.
That’s why I wanted to clarify and inform you, that – yes, these products change your sugar level.
Please don’t be that person who declares following intermittent fasting but drinks in the morning hot water with lemon.
INTERMITTENT FASTING FOOD LIST
INTERMITTENT FASTING TO LOSE WEIGHT BUT ALSO TO GAIN LEAN MUSCLE MASS
Eating only 8 hours a day can significantly limit calorie intake, which can lead to successful weight loss. People who start with ”lose weight” in their mind will see results on the weight scale.
What about athletes and people who aim to increase muscle mass and drop body fat percentage?
There are plenty of athletes, including myself, who follow rules of fasting and perform their best.
CONCENTRATE ON MACROS
Eat enough of protein and energy during the feeding window, and you’ll be fine.
Protein is mandatory for recovery, but what about carbohydrates and fat as energy.
The opinions are different. Some people prefer to rely on carbohydrates, some people on fats as a primal energy source.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND INTERMITTENT FASTING COMBINED WITH ATHLETIC TRAINING
One group followed IF combined with a high-fat diet.
Another group fasted consuming a low-fat diet.
A group that followed a low-fat diet had better lean muscle mass gain than a high-fat diet group.
WRAPPING IT UP
Intermittent fasting has many followers due to its sustainability as it’s easy to fit your meals during the feeding window and control daily calorie intake.
Studies showed and proofed that intermittent fasting is an effective way for weight loss as also lean muscle mass development.
There are still ongoing studies about the correlation between intermittent fasting and performance or longevity.
Nonetheless, results are promising and position IF as a part of a healthy lifestyle and foundation for longevity.