Intermittent Fasting: Fast-Eat-Fast Tool
- 24th August 2020
Written by Dr. Pankaj Kumar
August 24, 2020
Intermittent Fasting (IF)
Intermittent fasting simply means fating-eating-fasting and so on in a cyclical manner.
Intermittent Fasting is becoming increasingly popular as an effective and healthy weight-loss alternative that is nowadays followed by a lot of people worldwide.
This particular fasting strategy is one of the trendiest healthy lifestyles in 2020. It became a very powerful tool to lose weight or maintain your normal body mass index. Simply speaking, in this regime, you need to fast for 16 hours straight and consume your daily calorie intake in the remaining 8 hours.
The 16:8 Intermittent Fasting method has shown promising results in reducing fat mass, controlling blood pressure, preventing pre-diabetes, controlling diabetes, and preventing brain-related diseases. It also helps in fighting and protecting from different diseases and maintaining your normal body with appropriate metabolism. It also helps you to live longer.
In this article, I will explain why intermittent is important and how it will help you to maintain your body like a film star. Ha-ha kidding, but of course, you will become fit.
What is intermittent fasting?
It is a cyclical fasting and eating phenomenon that is completed in 24 hours. You can eat anything but in a given time period. It does not restrict you to eat any particular food but it does not say you can eat pizza or burgers or unhealthy food.
There are several methods of intermittent fasting but in this article, I will focus on 16:8 methods that are convenient to follow. In this 16:8 method, fasting hours are 16 hours, and the eating window is of 8 hours. Most of us take dinner from 9 pm to 9:30 pm and the first meal from 9 am to 10 am.
In this method, your first meal would be at 12 pm and the last meal at 8 pm.
Breakfast is not needed in this method. No caloric food is allowed in the fasting period but you can drink water, tea without sugar, coffee, and non-caloric drinks.
If you are on any medication or supplements then it is allowed to take with water. Before consuming any supplements you need to check whether it contains any calories or not.
Calorie restriction during the fasting period is advised to work. Although few methods allow caloric supplements also during the fasting state. So,
First, let’s see what all methods of intermittent fasting are:
Time-restricted feeding e.g. The 16/8 Method
Periodic fasting e.g. The 5:2 Diet
Alternate day fasting
Eat stop eat
The Warrior Diet
What is 16:8 Intermittent Fasting?
The 16:8 intermittent fasting is first and foremost, time-confined. It stipulates that food should be consumed in the window period of 8 hours and you should strictly avoid any caloric meals in between or during the 16-hour fasting window.
Intermittent Fasting and sleep work synchronously together as most of us would prefer fasting in their sleeping window. Because it’s simply easier! Directly in medical terms, the longer circadian rhythm is equivalent to a shorter eating cycle.
The people who are trying to lose weight must strive to attain the 16 hours without calories however difficult it may be. It would help if you refrained eating after 8 pm, skipped breakfast after wake up, and then consume the first big meal in the afternoon.
Intermittent Fasting for fat loss explains nothing about what type of foods to eat or when to eat by the clock, but you should always eat in a balanced manner. This hassle-free nature of this method makes it effortless to add to the diet regime.
What 16:8 Intermittent Fasting does to your body?
The 16:8 Intermittent Fasting is not complicated and its method of working can be explained quite simply.
You must already know that after every meal, the biological enzymes in your body break down the complex food items into simpler ones inside the stomach and small intestine. These are then absorbed as small molecules in the bloodstream.
Carbohydrates, specifically white sugars and whole processed cereals (wheat flour also white rice), are broken down into sugar rapidly, a fact which enables them to be utilized as an energy source by body cells.
If our body cells do not utilize the energy, it would be saved inside our adipose tissue as fat. This sugar uptake is impossible without insulin (carrier), a hormone secreted by (beta cells) within the islet of Langerhans from the pancreas. Insulin carries the sugar to the fat cells and saves it there.
In the 16-hour frame of time in which you fast, your insulin level drops. The whole concept of intermittent fasting is to burn off the fat already stored in tissues after a sharp drop in insulin.
Evidence-based research explains that it takes 11 to 13 hours to break down the stored calories in body tissues by the liver before a metabolic shift saves more fat after the meals. Hence, the 16-hour fasting window.
During fasting, when calories are not consumed, simply the fat is broken down and utilized to meet the body’s energy requirements.
The Correct Way to do Intermittent Fasting
Now that you have an idea about the 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Plan, are you wondering about the right way to do it? Worry not, we got you covered!
Follow these steps correctly:
- Select the Fasting plan you want to follow.
- Choose the preferred time according to your daily routine for Fasting.
- Don't continue fasting if you are feeling dizziness and fatigue.
- Balance fasting and your daily activities together, but refrain yourself from outside eating.
- Kick start your morning with coffee for fat loss right after waking up. Coffee suppresses your craving for food to some extent.
You can follow any of the 8-hour eating windows given below but you should choose and continue one fixed time:
10 am to 6 pm.
12 pm to 8 pm.
1 pm to 9 pm.
You can either follow these plans or decide according to your own routine, but try to eat your food and snacks at convenient times. It would be best if you eat normal daily meals as they are essential to check the insulin peaks and drops.
Best Food Ideas for Intermittent Fasting Beginners
To obtain the best results of intermittent fasting, consume nutritious foods, and caloric beverages only during the eating window. Consuming high-vitamin and nutritious foods would benefit your health regimen for sure.
Suggested Foods for Intermittent Fasting Eating Window
- Fruits: Fruits are an excellent choice as they are sources of essential vitamins. The best ones include oranges, apples, berries, watermelon, plum, and papaya.
- Vegetables: You can eat as many veggies as you want. It is best if you prefer vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, mushroom, and spinach. Cruciferous vegetables are generally not indicated in low thyroid hormone patients.
- Whole grains: You should avoid processed wheat grains and instead, switch to quinoa, oatmeal, barley, or any low glycemic load grains.
- Healthy fats: These are present in coconut, sesame, olive, and mustard oils. Nuts like cashews, almond, walnut; hazelnut, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, etc are also a very good source of healthy fat.
- Proteins: Plant protein choices such as seeds, nuts, legumes, and lentils are the best. Protein intake is decided on the basis of the eating habits of every individual. Suppose if you are vegetarian then you can consume plant-based protein as well as whey protein or plant-based whey protein like rice protein, soy protein, pea protein, etc, but if you are nonvegetarian then you should include animal protein such as egg, fish, chicken, prawns, etc. Nonvegetarian individuals can also opt for whey protein like rice protein, soy protein, pea protein, etc.
Some Important Intermittent Fasting Tips
Here are the top 5 tips for Intermittent Fasting:
Avoid eating fruits and veggies during the Fasting window.
You should drink green tea, black tea, or black coffee without milk.
Exercise should be done if possible after consulting with an expert.
Keep your body hydrated.
Practice yoga and meditation.
Intermittent Fasting Evidence-Based Benefits on Health
1. Intermittent Fasting influences the role of cells, genes including hormones for your benefit. Here are some exciting mechanisms that happen inside your body during the fasting window:
- Insulin Levels: The sharp drop in insulin level ultimately helps in fat loss by burning.
- Growth Hormone: The higher levels of growth hormone further simplify fat loss and muscle gain.
- Cell Restoration (repair): The body is induced to perform autophagy for vital cell repair mechanisms, such as the removal of cell waste.
2. Regulation of Gene expression: The expression of certain genes can positively influence the longevity of your cells and prevent the risk of diseases.
3. It can decrease belly fat mass to effectively help in weight loss.
4. It can lessen insulin resistance in your body and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
5. Intermittent fasting can also help in decreasing oxidative reactions and inflammations in your body.
6. It can decrease the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
7. It has also been proved to decrease the risk of breast cancer.
Now your mind is thinking: Is Intermittent Fasting Safe?
Many blogs claim that intermittent fasting is not dangerous at all, but some studies reveal that it may not be safe for everyone. Although the good part has been covered in detail now know some contraindications also.
Below are some medical conditions in which Intermittent Fasting is not recommended:
People who have advanced diabetes or under medications for diabetes types 1.
People who need a high-calorie diet underlying some diseases.
Anyone with a brief history of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
Pregnant or breastfeeding ladies must not attempt this Fasting without consulting their doctors.
People who have a BMI lower than 18.5 or are underweight.
People who have been prescribed warfarin, a blood thinner by doctors.
Some Drawbacks of Intermittent Fasting:
Orthorexia: In normal terms, this disorder is an obsession with a healthy lifestyle.
Disturbed circadian rhythm: Your sleeping cycle might be affected by sleeping on an empty stomach. But over time when you will adopt it, your sleep will resume normally. Remember when we talk about sound sleep it means we are concerned about REM sleep, which is vital for excellent memory, good mood, and learning abilities.
The guilt of eating or missing fasting by 1 day is seen many times, followed by anxiety issues.
Difficulty in concentration in initial days but after adaptation, you will become more focused on your work.
Negative body image by believing your body is not good enough.
The 16:8 intermittent fasting is a new and trending health regime. This is the ultimate and most convenient way to lower the obesity index and to shift it towards fitness among the younger generation in the coming years. But for some people, as mentioned above, it is not a recommended lifestyle. Before choosing this diet or routine, you should consider all the factors covered in this article.
In case you're still confused, please reach out to us at dietplusminus so that we can create the perfect intermittent fasting diet plan for you!