Maybe Breakfast Isn’t The Most Important Meal Of The Day
Intermittent fasting has been a hot topic in the fitness industry for quite some time. Fasting has grown in much popularity the past two years but has been around since the BC era. Once a method used for healing in ancient periods, intermittent fasting has shown its benefits across time. The question isn’t how to become less sick any longer, rather how to get that stubborn fat to go away and does intermittent fasting play a role in doing so.
The Truth about IMF
Let’s discuss first what intermittent fasting actually is. There are many claimed effects of intermittent fasting but these are all theory and no research has been done to uphold these claims. We will focus solely on the proven methods pertaining to insulin resistance and calorie consumption. One method that is obvious (but still very effective and the most provable) is calorie restriction. When you fast using any method of IMF you are given a certain portion of the day of restricting any food or drink that causes your metabolism to be activated. Because of the fast, it becomes difficult to acquire the same amount of calories you would consume before starting the fasting protocol. This in turn leads to a calorie deficit due to lack of time you give yourself to eat. Once the protocol is understood you than must choose a method that best fits your schedule and life style.
There are many methods to perform intermittent fasting but we will discuss the most popular methods currently being used. There are three methods used that seem to be the most popular.
1. The Warrior Diet.The warrior diet was made popular by fitness enthusiast Ori Hofmekler. The Warrior diet consists of fasting a full day (breakfast, lunch, and snacks) before dinner and then eating a large meal (usually at dinner but anytime is fine as long as you skip two meals). The warrior diet allows for a 4 -hour eating window. The point of the warrior diet is to give you a longer period of fasting that leads to more fat consumption and improved insulin response (Berardi 2011).
2. 24-Hour Fast Or Alternate Day Fast. This protocol consists of fasting for periods of 24 hours every other day and than having a normal eating period on non- fasting days. This can be a convenient choice for some given that you eat on one day and don’t eat the other day (pretty easy concept and doesn’t take much worry for timing). The issue is in the period of time it takes to eat food. Most will find this difficult because of the length of time before eating a meal. This method can take a mental toll on some who are not use to fasting for periods longer than one meal (Berardi 2011).
3. Last but not least (and my current method of choice) the 16:8 method. During this protocol you fast for 16 hours and than eat for 8. This is the most convenient because you only skip breakfast than eat around noon. For example: You start your fast at 8 pm and than eat around 12 pm the next day. Once you break your fast you have an eight hour window to eat until you start your fast again. This is the most popular method used given the simplicity it takes to utilize (Berardi 2011).
Is Intermittent Fasting Worth It?
As we tell our client there is no magic pill or one size fits all when it comes to losing weight. Especially when it comes to diets, there is no “Not one diet fits all”. We suggest finding what works best for you as long as you are acquiring your daily recommended macronutrient goal. Intermittent fasting has turned some heads in the fitness industry from research to self application. Consider the following studies; One study done by Nils Halberg and colleagues states they found decrease in insulin level and an increase in insulin sensitivity in humans in just two weeks from Intermittent fasting (Halberg 2005). Another study done by Satchidananda Panda and colleagues found that time restricted eating prevented metabolic disease in over weight mice (Hatori 2012). Lastly, according to a review done by Michelle Harvei and Anthony Howell, they found that when obese subjects performed IMF their Insulin levels decreased (Harvie, 2017).
With research showing surprising results there are a few concerns when claiming it as a viable protocol for weight loss. The first of these being that most studies have used animal testing and even though these tests have led to successful outcomes, animals do not accurately express the same outcomes for humans. The second point being that even though human trials have been conducted the tests have been conducted for only a short period of time. Not long enough to thoroughly understand the maximal effects of IMF.
What We Think
As someone that has utilized intermittent fasting for a while now I would suggest giving it a try. The point of any diet or protocol is to see what fits best into your life style. I enjoy intermittent fasting because its fits my own. Remember however that macronutrients even with intermittent fasting- are key for losing fat and retaining muscle. The one misconception about intermittent fasting that you will hear is “Once you break your fast you can eat whatever you desire”. This is incorrect. You can eat 1500 calories in one meal at McDonalds and completely negate the benefits of IMF. Tracking your foods even if guessing the right amounts can increase the effects of IMF ten fold. One of the most important macronutrients that most lack while participating in IMF is protein. Most adults (I would say about 80% if not more) are deficient in required protein especially when restricting your eating window. I would suggest lean protein mixed with some sort of protein supplement. Allmax Peanut Butter Chocolate Hexapro is my go to protein. Hexapro has a little extra calories (190 cal) mixed with high quality protein. This allows me to get my protein requirement in and even have a sweet treat in the process (“Allmax Nutrition”, 2018).
Intermittent fasting has many benefits but it is not the miracle drug. If not combined with a diet of whole foods and lean protein you will fall short every time. Make sure that you are confident in your diet before you jump into something that may take some time to get used to. Fat loss is a marathon but with intermittent fasting it makes it much less of a hassle. I will recommend this to any of my clients that are willing to shake it up a bit. If this is your next avenue for weight loss…good luck and have fun
A. N. (n.d.). Allmax Nutrition. Retrieved from http://www.allmaxnutrition.com/
Berardi, J. (2011). Experiments with Intermittent Fasting. Retrieved from http://danjohn.net/wp-content/uploads/Intermittent-Fasting_Precision-Nutrition.pdf
Halberg, N. (2005). Effect of intermittent fasting and refeeding on insulin action in healthy men. American Physiological Society. Retrieved from https://www.physiology.org/doi/10.1152/japplphysiol.00683.2005
Harvie, M. (2017). Potential Benefits and Harms of Intermittent Energy Restriction and Intermittent Fasting Amongst Obese, Overweight and Normal Weight Subjects—A Narrative Review of Human and Animal Evidence. Behavioral Sciences MDPI, 7(1), 4th ser. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5371748/
Hatori, M. (2012). Time-Restricted Feeding without Reducing Caloric Intake Prevents Metabolic Diseases in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet. Cell Metabolism, 17(6). Retrieved from https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(12)00189-1