EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT INTERMITTENT FASTING
Slimming diets, there are a dime and all kinds. There are so many of them that you lose your Latin … How does this or that program work, which is the most effective, what are the advantages and the risks involved? In this article we take a look at the new trend of the moment: intermittent fasting. This method seems very popular among sportsmen and athletes but also for those looking to lose weight and who consider it THE ultimate formula. How does intermittent fasting work? Is there a risk in following it?
We have therefore scrutinized this method: here are our tips and recommendations.
WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?
As its name suggests, intermittent fasting – that is to say interrupted – is a form of food during which one alternates the phases of fasting and periods of normal food intakes. It is not strictly speaking a diet but rather a diet plan. Here we do not tell you what to eat, but you have predefined schedules to respect.
There are different models. Here are the most popular:
- The 16/8 method: also known as the Leangains method. Here you can eat for 8 hours, then fast for 16 hours straight. Simply put, most of the fasting phase happens while you sleep and is then extended for a few hours after getting up. For example, you can skip breakfast, have your first meal at noon and continue to eat until 8 p.m.
- The 5: 2 diet: This is about consuming only 500 to 600 calories per day, two days per week. These two days don’t have to be consecutive and the remaining five days you can eat whatever you want.
- Eat Stop Eat: this method consists of alternating days of fasting and normal food intake. You eat normally for 24 hours, then you fast the next day. Repeat this process once or twice a week. Keep in mind that for all these models, the consumption of non-calorie drinks (like black coffee, unsweetened tea etc.) is allowed.
THE IMPACT OF INTERMITTENT FASTING ON YOUR BODY
Intermittent fasting will not only restrict your calorie intake but also upset your body’s hormonal balance so that it can more easily draw on fat stores. The following changes take place:
- intermittent fasting will improve your insulin sensitivity, especially when you exercise. This is especially important for people who are overweight, because low insulin levels in the blood are accompanied by more efficient fat burning. The opposite of this is insulin resistance: studies have shown that too much body weight will interfere with the ability of insulin to lower blood sugar levels. Consequence: greater amounts of insulin are released, which will stimulate fat storage.
- The secretion of human growth hormone (HGH) is skyrocketing. This will increase protein synthesis and make fat available as a source of energy. You will simply burn fat faster and gain muscle mass. This is the reason why HGH is often used in large amounts as a doping technique in body builders.
But that’s not all ! According to the researchers, fasting also improves the functioning of autophagy: a mechanism in which damaged cells are destroyed and new ones are created, which promotes the process of regeneration .
INTERMITTENT FASTING FOR WEIGHT LOSS
If you skip meals, you will create a calorie deficit and therefore inevitably lose weight, unless you compensate for your fasting phases with foods high in fat and sugar. Indeed, this feeding method does not prohibit you from eating such or such food. It’s up to you to decide. According to some studies, intermittent fasting not only reduces your daily calorie intake (if done correctly) but also prevents the onset of type 2 diabetes. The body also learns to better manage the foods consumed during the day. food intake phase.
A study also showed that the combination of the 16/8 method and a training of muscular development (exercises with the bodyweight or with additional weights) would allow to decrease the fat mass more effectively than with a training of bodybuilding alone. ( 1 ) However, there was no sign of muscle growth in the subjects participating in this study.
Warning: this type of diet is not recommended for people with diabetes, hypertension, pregnant or breastfeeding women. Seek the advice of your doctor before starting any diet.
HOW TO COMBINE FASTING AND EXERCISE?
There are a few important things to keep in mind when it comes to combining fasting periods with exercise.
- If you want to lose weight healthily , be careful not to overdo it and set up a moderate calorie deficit. Do not try to lose more than 0.5-1% of your weight per week.
- Incorporate muscle building sessions and plenty of protein in your diet, around 25% or more of your total energy intake to help maintain muscle mass. ( 2 )
- And finally, try to do your workouts right before your biggest meal of the day. If you plan to combine intense training with the fasting phases, we recommend that you consult a nutritionist and / or a health professional beforehand.
INTERMITTENT FASTING IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR EVERYONE
If you are in good health, there is no contraindication to trying intermittent fasting. But, we repeat once again, for some people this type of diet is not recommended and it is advisable to consult your doctor before starting.
People with the following conditions should avoid intermittent fasting:
- Diabetes and other metabolic disorders
- Cardiovascular illnesses
Intermittent fasting is not suitable for:
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding women
- People with a history of eating disorders
- The elderly
Fasting can be very effective in terms of weight loss. But have you really considered the consequences on your social life?
Imagine: you are invited to a birthday brunch next Sunday. The breakfast buffet is covered with delicious mueslis, fresh fruit, yogurt, scrambled eggs, salmon… All your friends enthusiastically enjoy this tasty breakfast . And you ? You are sitting next to them, with just a glass of water in your hand… It is only 10 am, still two hours before you can have your first meal of the day since this evening, you are invited to dinner with friends. Rather frustrating, isn’t it? So try to plan your fasting phases intelligently so that you can continue to have a good time with your friends and family.
Intermittent fasting is certainly not for everyone, but it can be a good method of reducing body fat. In general, this type of diet does not really leave room for spontaneity or flexibility! If this parameter is important to you, you should opt for another type of diet like the IIFYM diet (if it fits your macros). It is a diet that does not focus on the number of calories and in which you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits in your nutritional plan and that you respect a proportional intake of the different macronutrients (proteins, fats). and carbohydrates).
WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF HUNGER?
Many people who try intermittent fasting complain of a feeling of intense hunger, fatigue, exhaustion, but also terrible food cravings. It seems logical, given that you are skipping meals. But others also explain that this feeling of hunger disappears after the first critical phase (which lasts about two days). And if the feeling of hunger becomes really unbearable, it is recommended to appease it with a cup of green tea or black coffee.
OUR 8 TIPS FOR A GOOD START
Here are our recommendations if you want to try intermittent fasting:
- Don’t overdo your portion sizes while you are eating.
- Make sure you eat a healthy and balanced diet. Eat foods rich in fiber to fill you up (fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains), with quality proteins (fish, soy, eggs, dairy products, legumes), and also fats (vegetable oils, nuts, seeds , lawyers).
- Drink plenty of water or unsweetened tea. Use this calculator to determine your fluid needs .
- It may take time for your body to adjust to the fasting stages. Intermittent fasting takes patience. If you are really hungry, drink a cup of green tea or black coffee to calm your stomach.
- Strengthen your body regularly and eat a high protein diet to avoid losing muscle mass.
- No matter when you work out, the biggest meal of the day should be eaten after your workout.
- The lack of sleep can lead to weight gain . Make sure you get enough sleep.
- Intermittent fasting is not for everyone (see above). If you are not sure, see your doctor.
Intermittent fasting is definitely not for everyone. While this method is still a good way to lose fat, keep in mind that reducing your daily calorie intake can be just as effective. As part of intermittent fasting, it is important to continue to eat balanced during the phases of food intake and not to jump on burgers, pizzas or fries to compensate.
Want to know a little more about other diets? So take a look at this overview of the different diets to see it a bit more clearly.