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Intermittent fasting is either a set period of time for eating and a set period of time for fasting.
There are various common schedules that people follow, such as the 16:8 routine, or the 20:4 routine, or even the 22:2 schedule! For example, a person on at 16:8 schedule will spend 16 hours of the day fasted. In the 8 hour window they are allowed to eat whenever they want.
It might seem simple, and that’s because it is. There isn’t a hugely profitable idea I’m selling here. It’s as simple as picking a routine and following it.
– Weight Loss: Intermittent fasting encourages the body to use body fat storages as a source of fuel throughout the day. This of course is a very natural mechanism of the human body as we have evolved as hunter gatherers, eating only when food is available to us, and fasting in the periods in-between.
– Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Because the body is in a state of fasting, it enters what is called ‘ketosis’. This means that the body is burning fat into ketones, which are used for energy. In ketosis, the bodies usage of insulin is minimal, as there is no sugar being consumed which would otherwise be stored through a process involving insulin release**.
– Metabolic Health: Fasting can lead to various other metabolic benefits other than just blood sugar control, such as reduced inflammation, and improved lipid profiles (lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol )
– Heart Health: Studies show that intermittent fasting reduces risk factors associated with heart disease, such as high blood pressure and certain blood markers. [Citation needed]
– Brain Health: Fasting improves cognitive function by enhancing brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) which is a protein associated with learning and memory.
Longevity: It’s unclear if these effects translate to humans, but there are studies that show intermittent fasting can extend lifespan.
– Simplicity and Compliance: Intermittent fasting is simple! Simply choose a period of time to eat, and a period of time to fast.
Q: Can I eat what I in my eating window?
A: Yes and no. IF will benefit you even if you eat the same things as you did before you did IF. However, it shouldn’t be an excuse to eat more calories. You will find that the smaller your eating window, the less calories you’ll be able to intake as you’ll be fuller, quicker.
It would be wise to eat healthy, variety of foods that compliment an intermittent fasting diet regime. I would personally recommend a ketogenic low carb diet, or even carnivore. This will minimalist hunger during the chosen fasting window.
Q: Fasting? am I not starving myself?!
A: No. You are not starving yourself. Starving is when the body has exhausted its fat reserves and begins to eat itself. We have a lot more fat storage on us than we think! The body will also prioritise eating unnecessary or dysfunctional components before it targets our healthy cells for fuel. This is known as “Autophagy”, which is a recycling process that the body enters primarily when in a state of ketosis or fasting.
Q: Where did fasting come from?
A: Fasting has always been around. Hell, you might even be fasting right now. Fasting is simply the abstention of eating. Most people have it in their heads that fasting isn’t good for you, and that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Whilst fasting simply means the “abstention of eating”, true fasting is more than that, It is a metabolic state. It is when the body moves from an anabolic state, where the body digests food in the stomach for fuel, to a catabolic state, where the body uses stored energy for fuel.
Q: How many types of intermittent fasting are there?
A: Too many to write down. You can make your own schedule up, or you can follow one of the popular choices:
This routine involves 16 hours of fasting followed by an 8 hour eating window in a 24 hour period. Breakfast is generally skipped, and eating is done between the hours of noon and 8pm. The remaining portion of the morning and night is fasted.
Every Other Day
Also known as Alternate-Day Fasting, this means you would fast for an entire day, and then the next day you would be your eating “window”. You could also fast on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week, leaving the weekend as an extended eating window.
This involves a normal healthy diet for 5 days of the week, followed by a 2 day fast on the 2 remaining days of the week.