What is intermittent fasting

According to Dr Amber Simmons

“Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but a diet schedule that is purported to accelerate fat loss and muscle growth compared to traditional eating schedules. It is promoted primarily in the scientific community, however, there are currently zero scientific studies (as of February 2014) that have supported intermittent fasting for gaining muscle while losing fat.”

Her statement can help newbies who squirm at the thought of the word fasting, since the word itself has some religious connotations to it. In simple terms fasting is just consuming normally just at a specific period of the day.

Most people agree that eating at night just before bed is not a good idea, so they have embraced the idea of putting time constraints on their eating window. We try to encourage them to decrease this eating window and only consume at certain periods of the day.That is intermittent fasting

Dr Simmons also adds that they types of intermiitent fasting can be

“The Periodic Fast

 

The Periodic Fast is a fast for 24 h and is described in an article by Dr. John Berardi. The fast can be starting at any time of the day and can be done at various frequencies, though usually not more than 1-2 times per week. This diet is also advocated by Brad Pilon (“Eat Stop Eat”), where he recommends a 24-h fast every 3-5 days for weight loss.

 

LeanGains

 

The LeanGains method is a daily fast promoted by Martin Berkhan, a Swedish personal trainer and nutrition writer. In his method, fasting occurs for 16 h (ex. 10pm- 2pm), then food consumption occurs in about 3 meals in an 8-h window every day. If a workout is performed that day, it is performed immediately before the first meal to ensure a large, high-protein post-workout meal. About 5-15 min before the workout, Berkhan recommends taking about 10 g branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) to halt muscle protein breakdown during your workout (those this practice is not scientifically supported). This program also recommends eating carbohydrates or fat as components of your evening meals. On exercise days, meals should include protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates; on non-exercise days, meals should include protein, vegetables, and fat.

 

Anecdotally, males and females may respond differently to the LeanGains diet; females may respond better to a larger eating window, for example 14 h of fasting rather than 16 h.

 

Theoretically, an advantage to the LeanGains approach could be that because the schedule is followed daily, the body may more accurately learn when to expect food. For example, if you always eat at 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 9:00 pm, appetite hormones and metabolism may acclimate accordingly. However, this has not yet been scientifically evaluated.

 

The Warrior Diet

 

This diet schedule is another variation of the daily fast and is one step more extreme than the LeanGains diet. The Warrior Diet promotes a single, healthy meal per day (typically dinner). It claims that this pattern of eating is in sync with humans’ circadian rhythm and will promote general health while “removing harmful toxins from the body”. To our knowledge, there is no scientific evidence supporting these claims.

 

In a study by Stote et al., participants of normal weight consumed adequate energy to maintain body weight in one meal per day or 3 meals per day for 8 wks (Stote et al., 2007). Despite consumption of the same number of calories, participants lost weight during the 1 meal per day period vs. the 3 meal per day period. In fact, fat mass was significantly reduced (p < 0.001) and lean body mass tended to be greater (p = 0.06) after 8 wks of 1 meal per day. However, hunger steadily increased during the 8-week study period with only 1 meal per day, suggesting that appetite hormones did not acclimate. Further research is needed to both confirm these findings as well as assess changes in body composition in athletes.

 

Alternate day fasting

 

Alternate day fasting is when food is consumed for 24 h, then restricted for 24 h (water is available at all times) for every 2-day cycle. This is the most frequently used protocol for intermittent fasting studies with mice and rats, though few studies of this nature have been done in humans. Many animal studies looked primarily at the effects of intermittent fasting on lifespan, with varying results depending on the breed, the age of the animal when fasting was initiated, if the animals were exercised, and other factors (Longo & Mattson, 2014).

 

Heilbronn et al. performed a study in which eight males and eight females of a healthy body weight fasted every other day for 21 days (Heilbronn, Smith, et al. 2005; Heilbronn, Civitarese, et al. 2005). Participants lost about 2.5 ± 0.5% of their body weight including 4 ± 1% of fat mass over the course of the 21 days. Neither fasting blood glucose nor ghrelin (an appetite hormone) concentrations changed before vs. after the intervention, but fasting insulin concentrations decreased suggesting greater insulin sensitivity (Heilbronn, Smith, et al., 2005). They did not observe changes in genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis, fatty acid transport, or fatty acid oxidation (Heilbronn, Civitarese, et al. 2005) suggesting that the metabolic machinery required for generating energy from fat was sufficient at the start of the study. Animal studies have routinely showed that intermittent fasting strengthens the body’s innate response to stress (Longo and Mattson 2014), and this was the first study to corroborate these findings in humans (Heilbronn, Civitarese, et al. 2005).

 

Other variations

 

There are many variations of intermittent fasting regimens since it is not yet known which (if any) fasting protocols are best for the desired outcome.

 

Halberg et al. asked healthy, normal-weight participants to fast for 20 h every other day for 15 days (Halberg et al., 2005). They observed an increase in insulin sensitivity after the fasting period as well as changes in fat metabolism. No effects were seen in regard to body weight, inflammatory cytokines, or changes in markers that are noted with an exercise intervention. On the other hand, Soeters et al. asked participants to follow the same protocol as in the study by Halberg et al. (Soeters et al., 2009). They observed no changes in insulin sensitivity, glucose uptake, or lipolysis. They also observed a decrease in mTOR phosphorylation, which is commonly associated with reduced muscle protein synthesis (MPS), although MPS was not measured in this study, nor were the participants involved in exercise.”

Intermiitent fasting is a practice from thousands of years ago and can be beneficial to the body. If you are have a problem starting then I recommend that you include bulletproof coffee as a meal replacement  for when you feel hungry.

The post What is intermittent fasting appeared first on My Blog.

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