Intermittent fasting has gained a lot of popularity in recent times thanks to a few studies that have suggested that by restricting your eating schedule you can reap great benefits. Not only for fighting obesity, but also for long term healthy and longevity.
Simply put, intermittent fasting is a dietary methodology, mainly used for fat loss, that cycles between periods of eating and fasting instead of a linear dieting approach. These cycles can vary from several hours to up to a few days.
Alternate-day fasting, whole-day fasting, and time-restricted feeding are a few examples. But theres no one set protocol for IF, and at the end of the day, it all comes comes down to what works best for each individual.
The most common IF protocol is the 8/16 approach. Which involves a 16 hour fasting period with an 8 hour feeding window. But keep in mind that this isn't written in stone, so feel free to play with your schedule.
Heres a quick example on how a time-restricted intermittent fasting protocol would work…
Have your last meal at 8pm, skip breakfast and stay fasted until lunch (12pm). Your lunch will be your first meal of the day. And from 12 pm to 8pm will be your “feeding window”. During this feeding period you will consume what you would regularly consume throughout the day.
And this is what I consider to be the main benefit of IF. Because instead of consuming several small meals throughout the day, you're limiting your eating schedule to consume all your calories in much larger meals. And larger meals will give you a greater sense of satiety and fullness, which will make it less likely for you to give into cravings or over consume calories. So its a great method to manage your appetite when the goal is weight loss.
Now there are a few things I want you to keep in mind about IF:
You should still count macros/calories if you want to see results
Fasting doesn’t mean you don’t have to diet. You still have to be in control of your overall food intake
This here is just an example, feel free to play around with your schedule to find what suits you best.
IF isn’t for everyone. Some people will feel great fasting while others will feel terrible. So only do it if you feel comfortable with this approach.
Yes, you can train fasted. But it may negatively impact your performance. But again, it varies from person to person.
Now the real question remains… Is Intermittent Fasting better than simple caloric restriction?
Some studies suggest it is, but the facts tend to get distorted by the time they achieve mainstream popularity. Because the support to this claim has only been seen in limited animal studies, while human studies suggest that there's no significant difference when compared to linear dieting.
So whats the whole point?
Intermittent fasting can be a great tool, but don’t expect miracles, and you will still have to restrict calories if your goal is fat loss.
The main benefit you will find with fasting is dealing with hunger. It sounds pretty ironic, I know, but fasting actually helps suppress your appetite and control the sometimes insatiable hunger that comes with caloric restriction.
So think about it as just another way to slice the cake.
It works, but so does any other dietary approach that involves caloric restriction. So its just a matter of focusing on what you feel is best for you and what you can sustain long term. If you want to follow an IF approach or a regular eating schedule, its up to you, but remember that the real secret is in the total amount of food you eat (Calories in vs calories out) and not how you space out those foods throughout the day.
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