Intermittent fasting has become one of the biggest trends in the health industry in the last decade. It is known as a great way to lose weight, improve mental health and even live longer. In fact, many of the health benefits have been proved in scientific studies with animals.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you’ll cycle between periods of eating and fasting. Unlike other diets, it does not tell you what to eat, but more when to eat. There are several methods, all of which split the day or week into periods of being fed and fasted. Two of the most common patterns of fasting are a 16-8 hour split (with 16 hours of fasting), and fasting for 24 hours, twice per week.
But did you know that this is not a new concept? For millennia people have fasted! Hunter-gatherers did not have the technology to preserve food and would have experienced extended periods of fasting. As a result, our bodies are more than capable of enduring periods of fasting. And don’t forget we fast for at least 8 hours every night when we sleep.
How To Start Intermittent Fasting
Before you begin intermittent fasting full time, it’s important to start small and take baby steps. Try out your new dieting style just once a week and, when you feel comfortable, try extending it for a little longer each week. Gradually increase to 2 days a week, then 3 and so on.
Typical Diet During Intermittent Fasting
It’s important to ensure your diet is well-balanced if you’re going to try out intermittent fasting. On your feeding timeframe, make sure you’re eat healthily with meals high in vitamins & minerals, protein and fibre.
Our meal replacements are perfect to incorporate into your non-fasting period because they contain all the nutrients you need to have a balanced diet. From soups to shakes and even breakfasts, we’ve got plenty of options to support your fasting.
During a fasted state it is recommended that you avoid food, but coffee and water are totally fine. So, why not try BURST during a fasted period? exante BURST has 3 in 1 benefits plus delicious real fruit juices. The multivitamin blend includes Iron and Vitamin B12 supporting energy & focus, Biotin and Zinc supporting hair, skin & nails, and Manganese, Vitamin C and Choline supporting metabolism (*1). Our original BURST range features 83mg of caffeine per serving, but we have now launched a caffeine free range so you can enjoy a BURST any time of the day without that hit of caffeine.
Different Types of Plans
In this fasting style, you will fast for 16 hour of the day and eat over an 8 hour window. You can tailor this to whenever you feel the hungriest. For example, if you can’t start your day without breakfast, slot your food earlier in the day (8am-4pm). If you find yourself regularly going out later and eating later, you may want to have your non-fasting time later on (1pm-9pm).
The 5:2 Diet is a different approach to fasting, working across the 7 day week rather than the 24 hour day. In this diet, you’ll ‘fast’ on 2 days of the week. By fasting, we mean eating in a calorie controlled diet. Then, on the remaining 5 days, you’ll eat an unrestricted, balanced diet.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
There are a number of reasons why intermittent fasting can improve your health, both for your mind and body, let’s break down those reasons now.
During a fasted period insulin levels drop, this makes fat stores in the body more accessible. Your body is then more likely to burn fat for energy causing weight loss to take place. The energy delivered from fat stores is a far more efficient and sustained form of energy than the energy you will get from insulin after a sugary, processed meal.
When you fast, levels of human growth hormone increase dramatically, as much as 5 fold. This has benefits for fat loss and muscle gain. Also, your cells initiate cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells.
Additionally, intermittent fasting leads to an optimised hormonal profile, as well as lowering insulin and increased growth hormone levels, it increases the release of the fat burning hormone noradrenaline. Because of these changes in hormones, short-term fasting may increase your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%.
A 2014 study found that intermittent fasting can cause 3-8% weight loss over 3-24 weeks, which is a significant amount, compared to most weight loss studies. According to the same study, people lost 4-7% of their waist circumference, indicating a significant loss of harmful visceral fat, around abdominal organs.
Finally, and importantly, when you have a smaller window of eating, you are far more likely to simply eat less calories overall, thus making weight loss more likely.
Who should Avoid It?
Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. Brittle diabetics, adolescents, over 70s, pregnant women, people with chronic heart issues, kidney or renal issues, people with a history of disordered eating or a low BMI would not suit this type of eating.
What’s the Verdict?
Intermittent fasting won’t suit everyone, so if you have any chronic illness, be sure to check with your doctor before trying a diet like this.
Why not try having your breakfast an hour later for a week and see how you feel? Remember, breakfast is the meal which breaks your fast but no one ever said what time this had to take place at. Aside from the weight loss benefits you may experience, this is a lifestyle choice that benefits your mind too!
Is intermittent fasting healthy?
Intermittent fasting does has some excellent health benefits, including:
Insulin levels drop, perfect for supporting weight loss.
Growth in hormone levels during fasting periods which can support weight loss.
It can increase the release of the fat burning hormone noradrenaline.
Changes in hormones due to short-term fasting may increase your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%.
How long should I do intermittent fasting?
We recommend sticking to just 16 hours of ‘fasting’ during each 24 hour day, but as your body gets used to fasting, you may feel like you can increase this.
If you enjoy intermittent fasting, you may want to carry on with your diet for a few months or even incorporate it permanently into your lifestyle.
What happens to your body during fasting?
When you fast, levels of human growth hormone increase dramatically which has benefits for fat loss and muscle gain. Your cells will initiate cellular repair processes which includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells.
*1 – Biotin contributes to the maintenance of normal hair, and skin. Zinc contributes to the maintenance of normal hair, skin, and nails. Iron and Vitamin B12 contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Manganese and Vitamin C contribute to normal energy-yielding metabolism. Choline contributes to normal lipid metabolism.
Amelia is our Content Executive and has worked with us for a little over a year. Aside from writing recipes, blogs and website content, Amelia spends a lot of time cooking and trying out new recipes. In her spare time, Amelia can be found reading, spending time with her friends or taking part in yoga, barre and HIIT classes.