As a skinny-fat guy you have probably tried to lose fat with limited success. Personally, I have tried a lot of diets. I started out eating high protein meals 6-8 times a day, and I lost a bit of fat only to gain all of it back because I got tired of eating small healthy meals. After 1.5 year of training I discovered the benefits of intermittent fasting by reading the book Eat Stop Eat. To this day, Eat Stop Eat is my favourite book on nutrition. In intermittent fasting you simply divide the day into two phases:

Phase 1: Feeding phase of 8 hours

Phase 2: Fasting phase of 16 hours

By doing that, you will be unable to eat more than 2-3 solid meals a day and the 16 hour fasting phase enables you to lose fat. This is a very effective approach for a skinny-fat guy, because to lose fat you have to eat less calories than you burn! In my opinion the easiest and most enjoyable way to lose fat, is by implementing intermittent fasting into your life style since it is very SIMPLE. As an added benefit, a lot of people experience that they are very productive during their fasting phase, since they are not spending their mornings on preparing breakfast and eating.

If you are a student just like me, intermittent fasting could look similar to this:

– 07 AM: Wake up and drink a cup of coffee.

– 12 AM-08 PM: Feeding Phase

– 08 PM-12 AM: Fasting Phase

As you can see above, it is actually very simple: instead of breakfast you drink a nice cup of coffee (without sugar) and you stay productive until noon to avoid eating. When your 8 hour feeding phase starts, you eat 2-3 solid meals that fuel your workout. After your last meal you can unwind and enjoy your evening until you go to bed. I have experienced success with this approach, even though I eat what I want with each of my meals, as long as the majority of my food intake is healthy.

Therefore… if you implement intermittent fasting into your life style you can forget everything about:

– Eating small unfulfilling meals every 2-3 hours

– Waking up early to prepare breakfast

– Experiencing insulin spikes in the afternoon

– Counting calories

Also, once a week I go out and skip my fasting phase, but this has not hurt my fat loss at all. I highly recommend intermittent fasting to any person that is serious about losing fat. If you want to know more about Intermittent Fasting, I recommend Brad Pilon’s book Eat Stop Eat. In this book he includes a lot of interesting studies about the positive effects of fasting on your body. It is definitely worth your time to read his book if you are serious about implementing fasting into your lifestyle.

Furthermore, a lot of people ask: what can I consume during the fasting phase? The answer is: coffee, tea and chewing gum without sugar. The most important thing is to stay hydrated during your fasting phase to avoid hunger!

To sum up, here are the benefits of intermittent fasting:

– Simple to implement

– Eat fulfilling meals

– Lose fat and gain muscle

– Skip breakfast and sleep in



Source by Oskar Faarkrog

Fasting has become increasingly popular over the last few years and not only associated with the holy month of Ramadan. Over 1.6 Billion Muslims will partake in the month of Ramadan this month where they will fast between sunrise and sunset. For Muslims, fasting isn’t about health or losing weight, it’s a declaration of faith. There have been a number of studies over the past few years that look into the health benefits of fasting or intermittent fasting. Here is a review of some of the benefits and drawbacks of intermittent fasting.

Helps reduce weight

There are a lot of diet plans out there and most of them talk about reducing your calorific intake and replace meals. The problem is that when the diet is over and you have reached your goal it is easy to go back to old habits and put the weight back on. Intermittent fasting is more of a lifestyle change and a slow burn diet. One of the most popular intermittent fasting diets is the 5:2 plan. Here you eat normally for 5 days and reduce your calorie intake for the other 2. There are many ways you can do this, you can eat nothing for 24 hours or reduce calorie intake to just drink fluids or very light meals. Obviously your 2 days shouldn’t be back to back, spread them throughout the week.

Blood Pressure, Insulin and Cholesterol

Numerous studies have shown that intermittent fasting will help reduce Cholesterol and Insulin which helps break down body fat and boost your energy. Furthermore, intermittent fasting can reduce the body’s resistance to insulin which significantly lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. Intermittent fasting has shown to relieve stress and high blood pressure that are both key risks for heart disease. When we fast a few days a week the body goes through a process that renews old cells and provides protection against various diseases.

Effect on the Brain

Intermittent fasting can help the brain recover quickly and stay healthy. Reduction in blood sugar and reduced inflammation increase your brain hormones which will keep you alert and focused. As well as helping the brain it prevents diseases that affect the brain such as Alzheimer’s. Fasting can help delay the onset of this degenerative disease.

Potential Risks of Fasting

The most common risk from intermittent fasting is dehydration. If you are consuming less than your body is taking on less water, it is very important you don’t forget to drink on the days you do not eat. Water is essential and black coffee is often used if you get bored with plain water. With no food going in the stomach you are at risk from heartburn from stomach acid and long-term ulcers that can occur if stomach acid builds up against the stomach walls. The mental side of fasting also has to be considered. If you fast 2 days a week don’t over indulge on the other 5, keep to normal meals or it could lead someone to psychological disorders such as bulimia. You also need to be sure you are eating the right nutrients and minerals. Continue to eat fruit and vegetables. If you don’t eat for 2 days, make sure they other 5 you are eating enough fruit and vegetables and not just binge or convenience foods.

Conclusion

Although it is a new way of looking at dieting and nutrition there are some clear health benefits. Further testing on human beings needs to be investigated and researched before we can say there are substantial long-term effects of intermittent fasting, but so far the signs are good. Just make sure you don’t fall for the potential risks and you are clear why you are doing it and stay in control of your diet.

You don’t have to be a Muslim to try an intermittent diet this Ramadan, so why not give it a try.



Source by Stephen Holmes

First of all, fasting is not starvation. Starvation is the involuntary abstinence from eating forced upon by outside forces; this happens in times of war and famine when food is scarce. Fasting, on the other hand, is voluntary, deliberate, and controlled. Food is readily available but we choose not to eat it due to spiritual, health, or other reasons.

Fasting is as old as mankind, far older than any other forms of diets. Ancient civilizations, like the Greeks, recognized that there was something intrinsically beneficial to periodic fasting. They were often called times of healing, cleansing, purification, or detoxification. Virtually every culture and religion on earth practice some rituals of fasting.

Before the advent of agriculture, humans never ate three meals a day plus snacking in between. We ate only when we found food which could be hours or days apart. Hence, from an evolution standpoint, eating three meals a day is not a requirement for survival. Otherwise, we would not have survived as a species.

Fast forward to the 21st century, we have all forgotten about this ancient practice. After all, fasting is really bad for business! Food manufacturers encourage us to eat multiple meals and snacks a day. Nutritional authorities warn that skipping a single meal will have dire health consequences. Overtime, these messages have been so well-drilled into our heads.

Fasting has no standard duration. It may be done for a few hours to many days to months on end. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where we cycle between fasting and regular eating. Shorter fasts of 16-20 hours are generally done more frequently, even daily. Longer fasts, typically 24-36 hours, are done 2-3 times per week. As it happens, we all fast daily for a period of 12 hours or so between dinner and breakfast.

Fasting has been done by millions and millions of people for thousands of years. Is it unhealthy? No. In fact, numerous studies have shown that it has enormous health benefits.

What Happens When We Eat Constantly?

Before going into the benefits of intermittent fasting, it is best to understand why eating 5-6 meals a day or every few hours (the exact opposite of fasting) may actually do more harm than good.

When we eat, we ingest food energy. The key hormone involved is insulin (produced by the pancreas), which rises during meals. Both carbohydrates and protein stimulate insulin. Fat triggers a smaller insulin effect, but fat is rarely eaten alone.

Insulin has two major functions –

  • First, it allows the body to immediately start using food energy. Carbohydrates are rapidly converted into glucose, raising blood sugar levels. Insulin directs glucose into the body cells to be used as energy. Proteins are broken down into amino acids and excess amino acids may be turned into glucose. Protein does not necessarily raise blood glucose but it can stimulate insulin. Fats have minimal effect on insulin.
  • Second, insulin stores away excess energy for future use. Insulin converts excess glucose into glycogen and store it in the liver. However, there is a limit to how much glycogen can be stored away. Once the limit is reached, the liver starts turning glucose into fat. The fat is then put away in the liver (in excess, it becomes fatty liver) or fat deposits in the body (often stored as visceral or belly fat).

Therefore, when we eat and snack throughout the day, we are constantly in a fed state and insulin levels remain high. In other words, we may be spending the majority of the day storing away food energy.

What Happens When We Fast?

The process of using and storing food energy that occurs when we eat goes in reverse when we fast. Insulin levels drop, prompting the body to start burning stored energy. Glycogen, the glucose that is stored in the liver, is first accessed and used. After that, the body starts to break down stored body fat for energy.

Thus, the body basically exists in two states – the fed state with high insulin and the fasting state with low insulin. We are either storing food energy or we are burning food energy. If eating and fasting are balanced, then there is no weight gain. If we spend the majority of the day eating and storing energy, there is a good chance that overtime we may end up gaining weight.

Intermittent Fasting Versus Continuous Calorie-Restriction

The portion-control strategy of constant caloric reduction is the most common dietary recommendation for weight loss and type 2 diabetes. For example, the American Diabetes Association recommends a 500-750 kcal/day energy deficit coupled with regular physical activity. Dietitians follow this approach and recommend eating 4-6 small meals throughout the day.

Does the portion-control strategy work in the long-run? Rarely. A cohort study with a 9-year follow-up from the United Kingdom on 176,495 obese individuals indicated that only 3,528 of them succeeded in attaining normal body weight by the end of the study. That is a failure rate of 98%!

Intermittent fasting is not constant caloric restriction. Restricting calories causes a compensatory increase in hunger and worse, a decrease in the body’s metabolic rate, a double curse! Because when we are burning fewer calories per day, it becomes increasingly harder to lose weight and much easier to gain weight back after we have lost it. This type of diet puts the body into a “starvation mode” as metabolism revs down to conserve energy.

Intermittent fasting does not have any of these drawbacks.

Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

Increases metabolism leading to weight and body fat loss

Unlike a daily caloric reduction diet, intermittent fasting raises metabolism. This makes sense from a survival standpoint. If we do not eat, the body uses stored energy as fuel so that we can stay alive to find another meal. Hormones allow the body to switch energy sources from food to body fat.

Studies demonstrate this phenomenon clearly. For example, four days of continuous fasting increased Basal Metabolic Rate by 12%. Levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which prepares the body for action, increased by 117%. Fatty acids in the bloodstream increased over 370% as the body switched from burning food to burning stored fats.

No loss in muscle mass

Unlike a constant calorie-restriction diet, intermittent fasting does not burn muscles as many have feared. In 2010, researchers looked at a group of subjects who underwent 70 days of alternate daily fasting (ate one day and fasted the next). Their muscle mass started off at 52.0 kg and ended at 51.9 kg. In other words, there was no loss of muscles but they did lose 11.4% of fat and saw major improvements in LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

During fasting, the body naturally produces more human growth hormone to preserve lean muscles and bones. Muscle mass is generally preserved until body fat drops below 4%. Therefore, most people are not at risk of muscle-wasting when doing intermittent fasting.

Reverses insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver

Type 2 diabetes is a condition whereby there is simply too much sugar in the body, to the point that the cells can no longer respond to insulin and take in any more glucose from the blood (insulin resistance), resulting in high blood sugar. Also, the liver becomes loaded with fat as it tries to clear out the excess glucose by converting it to and storing it as fat.

Therefore, to reverse this condition, two things have to happen –

  • First, stop putting more sugar into the body.
  • Second, burn the remaining sugar off.

The best diet to achieve this is a low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, and high-healthy fat diet, also called ketogentic diet. (Remember that carbohydrate raises blood sugar the most, protein to some degree, and fat the least.) That is why a low-carb diet will help reduce the burden of incoming glucose. For some people, this is already enough to reverse insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. However, in more severe cases, diet alone is not sufficient.

What about exercise? Exercise will help burn off glucose in the skeletal muscles but not all the tissues and organs, including the fatty liver. Clearly, exercise is important, but to eliminate the excess glucose in the organs, there is the need to temporarily “starve” the cells.

Intermittent fasting can accomplish this. That is why historically, people called fasting a cleanse or a detox. It can be a very powerful tool to get rid of all the excesses. It is the fastest way to lower blood glucose and insulin levels, and eventually reversing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver.

By the way, taking insulin for type 2 diabetes does not address the root cause of the problem, which is excess sugar in the body. It is true that insulin will drive the glucose away from the blood, resulting in lower blood glucose, but where does the sugar go? The liver is just going to turn it all into fat, fat in the liver and fat in the abdomen. Patients who go on insulin often end up gaining more weight, which worsens their diabetes.

Enhances heart health

Overtime, high blood glucose from type 2 diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves that control the heart. The longer one has diabetes, the higher the chances that heart disease will develop. By lowering blood sugar through intermittent fasting, the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke is also reduced.

In addition, intermittent fasting has been shown to improve blood pressure, total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood triglycerides, and inflammatory markers associated with many chronic diseases.

Boosts brain power

Multiple studies demonstrated fasting has many neurologic benefits including attention and focus, reaction time, immediate memory, cognition, and generation of new brain cells. Mice studies also showed that intermittent fasting reduces brain inflammation and prevents the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

What To Expect With Intermittent Fasting

Hunger Goes Down

We normally feel hunger pangs about four hours after a meal. So if we fast for 24 hours, does it mean that our hunger sensations will be six times more severe? Of course not.

Many people are concerned that fasting will result in extreme hunger and overeating. Studies showed that on the day after a one-day fast, there is, indeed, a 20% increase in caloric intake. However, with repeated fasting, hunger and appetite surprisingly decrease.

Hunger comes in waves. If we do nothing, the hunger dissipates after a while. Drinking tea (all kinds) or coffee (with or without caffeine) is often enough to fight it off. However, it is best to drink it black though a teaspoon or two of cream or half-and-half will not trigger much insulin response. Do not use any types of sugar or artificial sweeteners. If necessary, bone broth can also be taken during fasting.

Blood sugar does not crash

Sometimes people worry that blood sugar will fall very low during fasting and they will become shaky and sweaty. This does not actually happen as blood sugar is tightly monitored by the body and there are multiple mechanisms to keep it in the proper range. During fasting, the body begins to break down glycogen in the liver to release glucose. This happens every night during our sleep.

If we fast for longer than 24-36 hours, glycogen stores become depleted and the liver will manufacture new glucose using glycerol which is a by-product of the breakdown of fat (a process called gluconeogenesis). Apart from using glucose, our brain cells can also use ketones for energy. Ketones are produced when fat is metabolized and they can supply up to 75% of the brain’s energy requirements (the other 25% from glucose).

The only exception is for those who are taking diabetic medications and insulin. You MUST first consult your doctor as the dosages will probably need to be reduced while you are fasting. Otherwise, if you overmedicate and hypoglycemia develops, which can be dangerous, you must have some sugar to reverse it. This will break the fast and make it counterproductive.

The dawn phenomenon

After a period of fasting, especially in the morning, some people experience high blood glucose. This dawn phenomenon is a result of the circadian rhythm whereby just before awakening, the body secretes higher levels of several hormones to prepare for the upcoming day –

  • Adrenaline – to give the body some energy
  • Growth hormone – to help repair and make new protein
  • Glucagon – to move glucose from storage in the liver to the blood for use as energy
  • Cortisol, the stress hormone – to activate the body

These hormones peak in the morning hours, then fall to lower levels during the day. In non-diabetics, the magnitude of the blood sugar rise is small and most people will not even notice it. However, for the majority of the diabetics, there can be a noticeable spike in blood glucose as the liver dumps sugar into the blood.

This will happen in extended fasts too. When there is no food, insulin levels stay low while the liver releases some of its stored sugar and fat. This is natural and not a bad thing at all. The magnitude of the spike will decrease as the liver becomes less bloated with sugar and fat.

Who Should Not Do Intermittent Fasting?

  • Women who want to get pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
  • Those who are malnourished or underweight.
  • Children under 18 years of age and elders.
  • Those who have gout.
  • Those who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Those who have eating disorders should first consult with their doctors.
  • Those who are taking diabetic medications and insulin must first consult with their doctors as dosages will need to be reduced.
  • Those who are taking medications should first consult with their doctors as the timing of medications may be affected.
  • Those who feel very stressed or have cortisol issues should not fast because fasting is another stressor.
  • Those who are training very hard most days of the week should not fast.

How To Prepare For Intermittent Fasting?

If anyone is thinking about starting intermittent fasting, it is best to first switch to a low-carbohydrate, high-healthy fat diet for three weeks. This will allow the body to become accustomed to using fat rather than glucose as a source of energy. That means getting rid of all sugars, grains (bread, cookies, pastries, pasta, rice), legumes, and refined vegetable oils. This will minimize most side effects associated with fasting.

Start with a shorter fast of 16 hours, for example, from dinner (8 pm) until lunch (12 pm) the next day. You can eat normally between 12 pm and 8 pm, and you can eat either two or three meals. Once you feel comfortable with it, you can extend the fast to 18, 20 hours.

For shorter fasts, you can do it everyday, continuously. For more extended fasts, such as 24-36 hours, you can do it 1-3 times a week, alternating between fasting and normal eating days.

There is no single fasting regimen that is correct. The key is to choose one that works best for you. Some people achieve results with shorter fasts, others may need longer fasts. Some people do a classic water-only fast, others do a tea and coffee fast, still others a bone broth fast. No matter what you do, it is very important to stay hydrated and monitor yourself. If you feel ill at any point, you should stop immediately. You can be hungry, but you should not feel sick.



Source by Carol Chuang

If you tried intermittent fasting and got some positive results, then you can continue with your own style. However, here is a very popular and effective method to get similar or better results than what you expect from traditional fasting. This is called 5:2 diet, which simply means that you eat normally 5 days a week, but restrict your food intake to minimal on 2 days. The slight difference between intermittent type and 5:2 diet is that you do not completely restrict your food intake when on a 5:2 diet plan. You essentially control your hunger systematically and in a controlled way.

Is 5:2 diet different form intermittent fasting?

Yes, the idea behind 5:2 dieting is to help you restrict your calorie intake or balance your additional calorie intake on weekdays by bringing it down to almost zero on the 2 fasting days. Care must be taken that you do not gorge on food or eat anything additional on normal days to make up for the calorie loss on fasting days. As it will defeat the whole purpose of dieting or appetite control, it is advisable that you limit your weekday diet to your normal diet.

Why choose 5:2 diet?

One of the most important features of this diet is that you need not restrict yourself on fasting days. You can eat up to 25% of your regular calories on fasting days. An average woman’s calorie intake per day is approximately 2000, which means women can consume up to 500 calories on fast days. An average man’s calorie consumption per days is approx.2400, so men need to restrict their calorie intake to 600 on fasting days. This is often not as difficult as following a complete fasting diet. You can eat 3 small meals spread throughout the day. As a smart dieter, you should choose fulfilling, natural and low-calorie food such as leafy vegetables and fruits.

Does 5:2 diet push your body to starvation mode?

Not at all. In fact, this is also one of the reasons that many people have achieved their weight loss goals by following this diet. Usually, your body kicks in starvation mode after 36 hours of reduced calorie intake, which is not the case with 5:2 diet. However, the trick here is to avoid fasting on two consecutive days. You can decide your normal and fasting days according to your convenience. Those fasting two days in a row may push their metabolism to starvation mode, which must be avoided to get the best result.

Benefits of 5:2 diet

  1. An easy and effective fat loss plan
  2. Improved metabolic health
  3. Can be continued for long
  4. Reduces fasting insulin levels in many diabetics
  5. An effective solution for those who find restricting calories difficult
  6. No additional or specific food is required
  7. You can follow it regularly without any side-effects

What to eat and what to avoid to get the maximum possible health benefits of intermittent fasting, 5:2 or many other types of fasting, can be customised to suit your nutritional needs and lifestyle. However, care should be taken that you do not exceed the calorie intake of the frequency of snack beyond the recommended limits.



Source by Felix Godwin

Dietary restrictions (DR) have been used for thousands of years to clean the body internally and promote good health. They play a central role in many cultures and religions (such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism).

Fasting, the most extreme form of DR, entails abstinence from all food but not water. It kills damaged cells, puts healthy cells into a protected mode and generates new young cells. Fasting has long been associated with a wide array of health benefits, including improved control over blood glucose, weight loss, heart health, brain function and the prevention of cancer.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. In humans it has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood glucose, insulin, and blood pressure levels.

Prolonged fasting (PF) is fasting that lasts for two or more days. When the bouts of fasting are separated by at least a week of a normal diet (a 2:7 strategy), PF causes a decrease in levels of blood glucose and insulin. In addition, PF is accompanied by autophagy (the cellular self-cleansing process that breaks down and recycles damaged molecules).

A PF 2:7 diet strategy has a rising reputation among medical scientists and dieticians as a highly effective strategy to protect normal cells and organs from a variety of toxins and serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and liver problems, while increasing the death rate of many types of cancer cells.

The problem is that most people find prolonged water-only fasting for two days (48 hours straight) very difficult. In addition, its extreme nature could cause adverse health consequences, especially in the old and frail and in persons with pre-existing medical conditions. A less severe diet with similar effects to a full-bodied PF is needed.

A fasting mimicking diet (FMD) is a diet that mimics the effects of fasting. Experiments undertaken a few years ago found that cycles of an FMD lasting four days followed by a normal diet could deliver benefits similar to those of a PF 2:7 diet.

One such study was published in published in Cell Metabolism in July 2015. The research was divided into several parts.

Clinic trial on fasting

In the study on animals, mice were fed a restricted diet for four days twice a month and allowed to eat as much as they wanted in between.

After each FMD cycle, the mice had lower blood glucose and insulin levels, and had reductions in certain inflammation factors such as insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which is associated with aging and cancer, compared to mice on an unrestricted diet.

At 28 months, the mice on the FMD also had lost weight and had less belly fat (which is associated with diabetes) compared to the other mice. In addition, fasting mice had longer life spans.

In the human trial, 19 subjects went on a special FMD for five days each month for three months. Another 19 participants acted as controls who ate their usual diet.

The test subjects followed a very specific diet designed to reduce the risks of fasting yet provide essential nutrients and minimize the psychological difficulties that are encountered during fasting. The special diet included vegetable-based soups, energy bars, energy drinks, chamomile tea and a dietary supplement… designed to deliver 44% fat, 47% carbohydrates, and 9% protein.

On the first day of the five-day diet they were limited to 1,090 calories and then, on the last four days, to only 725 calories. Those who were on the FMD lowered their fasting blood glucose levels by an average of 11.3%… more than a type 2 diabetic would normally experience using a typical routine medicine for diabetes.

The study also found that IGF-1 was reduced by 24% (a plus for cancer prevention) and CRP levels, a marker for inflammation, was also lowered. In addition, those on the FMD lost 3% of their weight and reduced their belly fat, along with a range of other health benefits.

The overall results suggest that partial fasting can help control diabetes.

However, this is only one study using only 19 test subjects, and obviously further research is needed to confirm the results… but it gives cause to hope that intermittent fasting can reverse type 2 diabetes. It is something I intend to try…



Source by Paul D Kennedy

There’s a new trend in how we eat, or possibly I should say how often we eat. It’s popularity is due to the fact that it helps people lose weight without having to deal with the effects of real hunger. It also helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases, like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

What is this new trend? “Intermittent fasting” or IF is the name of this game.

Intermittent fasting is really nothing new. In fact, IF goes way back to our original ancestors. It is an eating strategy imprinted in our DNA, because our ancestors practiced a reduced eating schedule. They literally had no choice in the matter. They simply did not have the kind of frequency and ease of access to food we have now.

Our Eating Window –

This new strategy towards eating is not just about skipping meals. It’s about spending as much time as possible in the fasted state.

The best way to define any type of fasting is to think of it as simply a change in eating patterns. In the case of IF, in place of three square meals in a day, or eating a handful of smaller meals throughout the day, there is a window of time when we’re allowed to eat. This could take the form of a few hours a day, or the fasting window could represent certain days of the week. During that time, we can eat whatever we want – within reason of course.

Spacing out our “eating window,” allows our mind to get in tune with our body so we can understand what real hunger really feels like.

IF is not about starving. Fasting does not mean starving, but it isn’t a diet either. The literal definition is:

“to abstain from food and drink during a specific period of time.”

IF is about eating two meals in a day rather than three (or multiples) during which you introduce a 16 hour fasting period. You can choose either breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner, and it’s proving to be a powerful approach to eating.

The Western world spends little to no time in a fasted state. True hunger is something we should only experience every 16-24 hours, not every four hours as we are accustomed to. For most, there is a constant grazing from dusk to dawn, and even into the late night for some people.

IF won’t work for anyone whose diet centers around processed foods like chips. Fasting requires us to stick to a mostly whole food diet, rich in vegetables, lean proteins, healthy carbohydrates and fats in order to experience the best and quickest benefits of IF. The two meals chosen for the day need to be packed full of nutrition and completely balanced.

It is estimated that one out of every two people in today’s modern world is obese or overweight and millions are dying from complications that stem from this truth. IF helps to manage body weight and is a powerful tool in the life extension arena as well.

Unless you snack late into the night, you likely incorporate a form of IF in your schedule already, fasting for approximately 12 hours daily. However, current research shows that some benefits of IF require longer periods of fasting to be realized, as many as 20-24 hours depending on activity levels.

The proposed benefits of IF in animals and humans reads like a laundry list of “look better,” “feel better,” and “live longer”…

Having a window of limited eating is much less difficult to pull off then restricting calories. IF is truly one of the simplest strategies for taking fat weight off and keeping good weight (muscle tissue) and requires very little change in behavior.

Slowing the aging process, boosting energy levels and rebooting the immune system are all benefits gained when you incorporate IF into your eating schedule.

So, what are you waiting for? Decide which two meals you want to enjoy going forward and choose the richest, nutrient dense foods to enjoy during that period. If you follow this protocol, and combine it with challenging strength training exercises, I promise you will see positive changes in your body and in the way you feel.



Source by Carolyn Hansen

Intermittent Fasting (IF) refers to dietary eating patterns that involve not eating or severely restricting calories for a prolonged period of time. There are many different subgroups of intermittent fasting each with individual variation in the duration of the fast; some for hours, others for day(s). This has become an extremely popular topic in the science community due to all of the potential benefits on fitness and health that are being discovered.

WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING (IF)?

Fasting, or periods of voluntary abstinence from food has been practiced throughout the world for ages. Intermittent fasting with the goal of improving health relatively new. Intermittent fasting involves restricting intake of food for a set period of time and does not include any changes to the actual foods you are eating. Currently, the most common IF protocols are a daily 16 hour fast and fasting for a whole day, one or two days per week. Intermittent fasting could be considered a natural eating pattern that humans are built to implement and it traces all the way back to our paleolithic hunter-gatherer ancestors. The current model of a planned program of intermittent fasting could potentially help improve many aspects of health from body composition to longevity and aging. Although IF goes against the norms of our culture and common daily routine, the science may be pointing to less meal frequency and more time fasting as the optimal alternative to the normal breakfast, lunch, and dinner model. Here are two common myths that pertain to intermittent fasting.

Myth 1 – You Must Eat 3 Meals Per Day: This “rule” that is common in Western society was not developed based on evidence for improved health, but was adopted as the common pattern for settlers and eventually became the norm. Not only is there a lack of scientific rationale in the 3 meal-a-day model, recent studies may be showing less meals and more fasting to be optimal for human health. One study showed that one meal a day with the same amount of daily calories is better for weight loss and body composition than 3 meals per day. This finding is a basic concept that is extrapolated into intermittent fasting and those choosing to do IF may find it best to only eat 1-2 meals per day.

Myth 2 – You Need Breakfast, It’s The Most Important Meal of The Day: Many false claims about the absolute need for a daily breakfast have been made. The most common claims being “breakfast increases your metabolism” and “breakfast decreases food intake later in the day”. These claims have been refuted and studied over a 16 week period with results showing that skipping breakfast did not decrease metabolism and it did not increase food intake at lunch and dinner. It is still possible to do intermittent fasting protocols while still eating breakfast, but some people find it easier to eat a late breakfast or skip it altogether and this common myth should not get in the way.

TYPES OF INTERMITTENT FASTING:

Intermittent fasting comes in various forms and each may have a specific set of unique benefits. Each form of intermittent fasting has variations in the fasting-to-eating ratio. The benefits and effectiveness of these different protocols may differ on an individual basis and it is important to determine which one is best for you. Factors that may influence which one to choose include health goals, daily schedule/routine, and current health status. The most common types of IF are alternate day fasting, time-restricted feeding, and modified fasting.

1. ALTERNATE DAY FASTING:

This approach involves alternating days of absolutely no calories (from food or beverage) with days of free feeding and eating whatever you want.

This plan has been shown to help with weight loss, improve blood cholesterol and triglyceride (fat) levels, and improve markers for inflammation in the blood.

The main downfall with this form of intermittent fasting is that it is the most difficult to stick with because of the reported hunger during fasting days.

2. MODIFIED FASTING – 5:2 DIET

Modified fasting is a protocol with programmed fasting days, but the fasting days do allow for some food intake. Generally 20-25% of normal calories are allowed to be consumed on fasting days; so if you normally consume 2000 calories on regular eating days, you would be allowed 400-500 calories on fasting days. The 5:2 part of this diet refers to the ratio of non-fasting to fasting days. So on this regimen you would eat normally for 5 consecutive days, then fast or restrict calories to 20-25% for 2 consecutive days.

This protocol is great for weight loss, body composition, and may also benefit the regulation of blood sugar, lipids, and inflammation. Studies have shown the 5:2 protocol to be effective for weight loss, improve/lower inflammation markers in the blood (3), and show signs trending improvements in insulin resistance. In animal studies, this modified fasting 5:2 diet resulted in decreased fat, decreased hunger hormones (leptin), and increased levels of a protein responsible for improvements in fat burning and blood sugar regulation (adiponectin).

The modified 5:2 fasting protocol is easy to follow and has a small number of negative side effects which included hunger, low energy, and some irritability when beginning the program. Contrary to this however, studies have also noted improvements such as reduced tension, less anger, less fatigue, improvements in self confidence, and a more positive mood.

3. TIME-RESTRICTED FEEDING:

If you know anyone that has said they are doing intermittent fasting, odds are it is in the form of time-restricted feeding. This is a type of intermittent fasting that is used daily and it involves only consuming calories during a small portion of the day and fasting for the remainder. Daily fasting intervals in time-restricted feeding may range from 12-20 hours, with the most common method being 16/8 (fasting for 16 hours, consuming calories for 8). For this protocol the time of day is not important as long as you are fasting for a consecutive period of time and only eating in your allowed time period. For example, on a 16/8 time-restricted feeding program one person may eat their first meal at 7AM and last meal at 3PM (fast from 3PM-7AM), while another person may eat their first meal at 1PM and last meal at 9PM (fast from 9PM-1PM). This protocol is meant to be performed every day over long periods of time and is very flexible as long as you are staying within the fasting/eating window(s).

Time-Restricted feeding is one of the most easy to follow methods of intermittent fasting. Using this along with your daily work and sleep schedule may help achieve optimal metabolic function. Time-restricted feeding is a great program to follow for weight loss and body composition improvements as well as some other overall health benefits. The few human trials that were conducted noted significant reductions in weight, reductions in fasting blood glucose, and improvements in cholesterol with no changes in perceived tension, depression, anger, fatigue, or confusion. Some other preliminary results from animal studies showed time restricted feeding to protect against obesity, high insulin levels, fatty liver disease, and inflammation.

The easy application and promising results of time-restricted feeding could possibly make it an excellent option for weight loss and chronic disease prevention/management. When implementing this protocol it may be good to begin with a lower fasting-to-eating ratio like 12/12 hours and eventually work your way up to 16/8 hours.

COMMON QUESTION ABOUT INTERMITTENT FASTING:

Is there any food or beverage I am allowed to consume while intermittent fasting? Unless you are doing the modified fasting 5:2 diet (mentioned above), you should not be eating or drinking anything that contains calories. Water, black coffee, and any foods/beverages that do not contain calories are OK to consume during a fasting period. In fact, adequate water intake is essential during IF and some say that drinking black coffee while fasting helps decrease hunger.

IF YOU JUST WANT THE BENEFITS:

Research on intermittent fasting is in it’s infancy but it still has huge potential for weight loss and the treatment of some chronic disease.

To recap, here are the possible benefits of intermittent fasting:

Shown in Human Studies:

1. Weight loss

2. Improve blood lipid markers like cholesterol

3. Reduce inflammation

4. Reduced stress and improved self confidence

5. Improved mood

Shown in Animal Studies:

1. Decreased Body Fat

2. Decreased levels of the hunger hormone leptin

3. Improve insulin levels

4. Protect against obesity, fatty liver disease, and inflammation

5. Longevity



Source by Blake Pennock