WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING? A COMPREHENSIVE OVERVIEW
Time to read 16 min
Time to read 16 min
In this article, we will talk all things IF. What is it? Is it safe? And is it right for you?
Lets find out…
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that alternates between periods of fasting and eating. This method does not dictate which foods you should consume but, rather when to eat them.
Research shows that IF can manage weight and prevent, or even reverse, some forms of health issues including diabetes and adult obesity.
Intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular for a reason. This approach to weight management, overall health improvement, and disease prevention is easy to follow, works well with Keto, and melts fat off the body!
It is so popular in fact, that it is one of the most popular ways of losing weight for the American Population!
The simplicity and flexibility of this practice have contributed to its widespread adoption, making it a more feasible option for those looking to incorporate a sustainable change into their lifestyle.
There are several methods of intermittent fasting, which we will discuss soon. All with variations in the duration and frequency of fasting periods.
As with any new lifestyle change, the key to success in this eating pattern is finding an approach that works best for your body, lifestyle, and individual preferences. You need to find which version of I.F. fits YOUR lifestyle.
Let's continue on and we will familiarise you with its potential benefits, different approaches, and practical tips for implementing this eating pattern.
This is simple: The eating window refers to the time frame during which you consume food. For example, if you follow a time-restricted eating pattern, your eating window might be from noon to 8 PM, during which you have all your meals.
The fasting period is the time during which you abstain from eating. In the time-restricted eating example, your fasting period would be from 8 PM to noon the following day. The duration and timing of the eating window and fasting period can differ based on the type of intermittent fasting you choose.
In intermittent fasting, it is essential to maintain a proper balance between your eating window and fasting period. Ensure that your fasting periods are not too long or too short and that you are consuming enough nutrients during your eating window. But don't overdo it!
There's no point in fasting for 24 hours just to follow it up with a 14-inch Pizza and a litre of ice-cream!
So now that you know what Intermittent Fasting is, you are surely interested in what benefits this way of eating gives.
After all, this is the reason people do intermittent fasting. For the Benefits!
Let's have a look at what I.F can offer!
Obviously, the main reason many people start fasting is for its weight loss potential.
Intermittent fasting can be a super effective method for managing your body weight and promoting fat loss.
By limiting your eating window, you may naturally consume fewer calories, which can lead to weight loss.
Additionally, intermittent fasting may increase your metabolic rate and promote the breakdown of fat stores in your body, helping you lose fat mass.
And if you throw The Keto Diet into this equation, you can expect even faster results!
Intermittent fasting may improve your metabolic health, as it can positively impact various markers such as insulin sensitivity, blood sugar, and insulin resistance.
By improving your metabolic health, intermittent fasting can help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke.
This eating pattern has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, possibly due to its effects on inflammation. Intermittent fasting may also support a healthy circadian rhythm, which can influence a variety of bodily functions and reduce the risk of several chronic diseases.
Autophagy, a cellular process with profound implications for health and longevity, has been closely linked to the practice of fasting.
As our bodies adapt to periods of food restriction, autophagy is triggered, kickstarting a powerful self-cleansing mechanism within our cells.
In response to this scarcity, cells begin to recycle damaged proteins and organelles, effectively purging accumulated waste and debris.
This natural detoxification process not only supports cellular rejuvenation but also aids in combating inflammation and oxidative stress, crucial factors in the development of various diseases.
Autophagy is one of the biggest benefits of fasting, and could be your path to better health and longevity!
So now you know I.F. is, and you know the benefits that you can achieve by following a fasting plan, let us tell you how exactly this eating plan works.
Intermittent fasting works by altering your eating patterns, cycling between periods of fasting and eating. During the fasting periods, you consume fewer calories, creating a calorie deficit.
This helps you manage your weight more effectively compared to traditional diets, where you might monitor the number of calories in each meal.
You heard that right, no more calorie counting!
When you consume fewer calories, your body has to use stored energy, which can result in weight loss.
And realistically, after a fasting period, it's very hard to overeat. Your stomach is smaller, and you fill up uber quickly in comparison to normal.
Intermittent fasting can impact your hunger hormones and insulin levels. By fasting for brief periods, you can help regulate your hunger hormones like ghrelin, which signals when your body is hungry.
Hunger pangs go by the wayside once you get into the rhythm of I.F. You would think you stay hungry at all times, but that's just not the case. It can even be a struggle to force food down to break a fast! Crazy, I know!
And if you pair it with Keto, be prepared for even quicker weight loss!
During intermittent fasting, your body experiences changes in hormone levels that help break down stored fat cells and use them for energy.
This process is known as lipolysis, in which your body's metabolism breaks down fats into their constituent parts (glycerol and fatty acids) for energy.
As your body moves towards burning fat for fuel, you may notice improvements in body composition, weight loss, and overall health.
Now this is where it can get confusing to new adopters of Intermittent Fasting.
There are a few different varieties of fasting to choose from, and that will depend completely on your own lifestyle, goals, and eating opportunities. Some types of I.F. will work much better for you than others. You just need to work it out for yourself!
Time-restricted feeding is a popular approach to intermittent fasting where you limit your eating window during the day. For example, you might choose a 12-hour fasting window and only eat during the remaining 12 hours.
This approach is very versatile and allows your body to focus on digestion and nutrient absorption during eating hours, while fasting hours give your body time to detoxify and repair itself.
Is this really fasting? Not really.
It is very similar to a normal way of eating, and wouldn't take much effort to follow along. But you also won't get the benefits from longer fasts.
At the Keto Collective, we would recommend looking at 16/8 as a MINIMUM LENGTH fasting period. We will talk about that soon…
The 5/2 intermittent fasting plan involves eating a healthy diet for five days of the week and then restricting your calorie intake for the remaining two days.
On fasting days, you consume around 500 calories, which is significantly less than your regular intake. This can lead to weight loss, improved metabolism, and other potential health benefits.
A lot of people get success from this type of fasting. It allows you to choose busy days for your low-calorie days, so you can keep your mind occupied, then you can enjoy your non-fasting days when you have more leisure time.
The 16/8 method is another popular intermittent fasting plan, where you fast for 16 hours each day and eat during an 8-hour window.
This can be as simple as finishing your last meal in the evening and not eating again until lunchtime the following day.
The 16/8 plan is an easy way to introduce yourself to intermittent fasting, as you still have a decently sized eating window and can maintain a regular sleeping pattern.
This eating window is maybe a little too large to see all the benefits of fasting, such as autophagy, but is a good way to start yourself or a loved one on Intermittent fasting.
OMAD (One Meal A Day) is a more extreme form of intermittent fasting where you consume just one meal per day.
This meal usually consists of all your daily required calories and nutrients, making it crucial to plan your meals carefully to ensure you don't miss out on vital nutrients.
While OMAD can lead to faster weight loss and increased mental clarity, it is not recommended for everyone and can be tougher to stick to for more casual users.
However, if you want quick results, combining OMAD and Keto is a powerful combination!
Some intermittent fasting plans extend beyond a single day.
A 24-hour fasting period involves not eating for a full day, either by fasting from breakfast to breakfast, lunch to lunch, or dinner to dinner.
This method can be done once or twice a week, but it should be approached with caution, as extended fasting can lead to nutrient deficiencies and eating disorders if not done correctly.
Fasting for 48 hours or longer is a more extreme form of intermittent fasting and should only be attempted by those with experience in shorter fasts.
Please don't jump into fasting head first and go without food for days without being prepared!
These long fasting periods can help to reset the body's immune system and encourage cellular repair. However, they also carry increased risks and should not be undertaken without proper planning and guidance from a healthcare professional.
You will get the full effects of Autophagy with these longer fast, but they're not for the faint of heart.
These long fast would maybe be good for once or twice a year to ‘clean’ your system. But we wouldn't recommend doing this regular!
I.F. and Keto go together like butter and toast. But without the carbs!
While Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and periods of fasting, It doesn't dictate what you should eat but focuses on when you eat instead.
Keto, on the other hand, is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that aims to push your body into a state of ketosis, where it utilises fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.
Some benefits you might experience when combining intermittent fasting and keto include:
The beautiful thing about combining Keto and I.F. is the state of ketosis comes so much quicker after a fast!
You can actually get into ketosis during the fasting period, then only eat Keto Foods during your feeding window. This will give you all the health benefits of both Keto and fasting.
And trust us, it's a very powerful combination. You can transform your body in no time with this approach!
Maintaining ketosis is much easier when enjoying periods of fasting in comparison to eating around the clock.
Be aware though, whatever approach you choose, it's essential to maintain your electrolyte intake and stay hydrated. Consider taking supplements like magnesium, potassium, and sodium to avoid those horrible muscle cramps and draining fatigue.
So, you now know ‘what is intermittent fasting’, you know how I.F. works, you know the benefits, and you know the different approaches.
But before you get started, you might need a few pointers to get you going in the right direction from the very start…
If you are going to try intermittent fasting, you should first establish an eating schedule. This involves defining periods of fasting and eating.
Common approaches include the 16/8 method (fast for 16 hours, eat during an 8-hour window) and the 5:2 method (eat normally for 5 days a week, restrict calories on 2 non-consecutive days).
Choose the best plan for you, and tailor your eating pattern to fit your lifestyle and needs.
Some people work great on 5/2, while others prefer alternate-day fasting.
You really just need to work out what works best for you.
We recommend starting with 16/8, then working from there.
When planning your meals during eating windows, focus on consuming nutritious foods that fuel your body.
Prioritise whole foods, lean proteins, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
A well-balanced meal plan is essential to ensure you receive all necessary nutrients and maintain a healthy lifestyle during intermittent fasting.
If you are interested in following the Keto Diet while fasting, we would recommend you read through our Beginners Guide to Keto before starting. It will help you get an idea on exactly what you can and can't eat while living the Keto lifestyle.
Intermittent fasting can come with some side effects, especially in the beginning. You may experience fatigue, headaches, irritability, or dizziness. To mitigate these effects:
Remember that intermittent fasting may not be suitable for everyone. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns, consult with a healthcare professional before starting an intermittent fasting plan. Plan accordingly!
Before starting intermittent fasting, consider your personal health conditions.
Certain health issues, such as diabetes, hypoglycaemia, and eating disorders, may make intermittent fasting unsafe for you.
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, consult your GP or a registered dietitian before beginning this eating pattern. They will be able to advise you on if it is a suitable lifestyle for yourself.
Intermittent fasting offers some potential health benefits, but it can also cause several short-term side effects. These may include hunger, fatigue, insomnia, nausea, and headaches.
These side effects could be temporary, but it's important to monitor your body's response while fasting.
Regarding long-term effects, intermittent fasting doesn't really have any.
Not unless you consider weight loss, insulin control, and better eating habits a side effect!
Yes, we keep saying this, but it's very important…
Before making any major changes to your eating habits, please consult with a healthcare professional.
They can help assess whether intermittent fasting is suitable for you and help create an eating plan tailored to your health goals. Remember, your long-term health is the priority, so it's wise to seek professional guidance before embarking on any new dietary strategy.
You may have an underlying health condition you were unaware of that makes you unsuitable for any type of fasting protocol. So please get more information if you have any fears or concerns.
As a dietary approach, intermittent fasting is one of the most rewarding.
Not only can you see quick, and effective fat loss. You will also feel sharper in thought, and better in the body!
Intermittent fasting involves alternating between fasting and eating periods, offering flexibility and simplicity for weight management and health improvement.
Several intermittent fasting methods exist, making it essential to choose one that suits your individual preferences and lifestyle. These include alternate-day fasting, 5:2 fasting (fasting two days each week), and daily time-restricted feeding (such as eating only during a six-hour window).
When considering intermittent fasting, understanding the potential benefits, various approaches, and safety precautions is crucial for success in adopting this eating pattern.
The bottom line is that we love intermittent fasting at The Keto Collective. It can offer numerous benefits for those willing to give it a try.
And if you combine I.F. with The Keto Diet, prepare for a new body, and a whole new outlook on life!
It typically takes about two to four weeks for people to see noticeable results with the 16/8 intermittent fasting method. However, individual results may vary based on factors such as your diet, workout routine, and overall health. Consistency is key as well as patience, as your body adjusts to this new eating pattern.
Although there is no definitive answer to which fasting window is optimal for losing belly fat, the 16/8 intermittent fasting method is a popular choice, as it's generally seen as easier to maintain. In this method, you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window. Some people find other fasting schedules, such as the 5:2 fasting method, more effective for them. Ultimately, it's essential to find a fasting schedule that works best for you and your lifestyle.
The 16/8 intermittent fasting method has been associated with various health benefits, including weight loss, improved insulin resistance, and potentially better heart health. Some studies also suggest that this fasting method may lead to increased mental clarity and enhanced cellular repair processes in the body. However, more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of intermittent fasting fully.
Yes, there are specific intermittent fasting schedules that can be better suited for women. Some experts recommend that women start with a more moderate approach, such as a 14/10 fasting schedule (fasting for 14 hours and eating for 10 hours). This might be due to hormonal shifts that occur in women during their menstrual cycles. It's essential for women to monitor their bodies' reactions to fasting and adjust their schedules accordingly.
There are several intermittent fasting apps that can help you track your fasting and eating windows, as well as provide helpful information and support. A few popular intermittent fasting apps include Zero, FastHabit, and BodyFast. Each app offers unique features, so it's worth exploring them to find the one that best suits your needs.
There is no definitive answer to the best intermittent fasting method for weight loss, as individual experiences and results may vary. The 16/8 method, 5:2 fasting, alternate-day fasting, and others have shown promising results in weight loss for different people. It's essential to find the fasting method that resonates with you and is sustainable over time, as weight loss requires consistency and commitment.
It depends who you listen to! Some people say true fasting is consuming nothing but water until your eating window opens. Others say that Black Coffee and Tea is allowed at any time. Us at The Keto Collective agrees with the latter. Just remember to keep it plain! No cream, no sugar. It must be black!