Intermittent fasting or “IF” is a term used to describe the time between a period of eating and non-eating. Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but rather a dieting pattern. It is making a conscious decision to skip certain meals on purpose.By fasting and then feasting on purpose, intermittent fasting generally means that you consume your calories during a specific window of the day, and choose not to eat food for a larger window of time.
There are three most popular Intermittent fasting protocols :-
- Alternate day fasting: - This protocol involves a 24-hour fast followed by a 24-hour non-fasting period.
- Whole-day fasting: - This protocol specifies various ratios of fasting to non-fasting days, for example the 5:2 diet in which people consume very little calories during the days of fasting. During feed days, the calories are compensated for.
- Time-restricted feeding:- This is the most popular protocol, it involves setting a daily fasting period and an eating window. The most popular form being, fasting for 16 hours a day and eating during the remaining 8 hours of the day.
As you can see, all diet schedules share a common theme of compartmentalizing “fasting” and “eating” periods. So many different variations exist because there is no one method that can be considered best. These approaches tend to emphasize their differences (and therefore purported superiority) however, they are different ways of doing the same thing.
Some people allow black coffee, green tea, and branched chain amino acids during the fasting period in addition to water, but it is unknown how these supplements affect appetite, energy levels, muscle synthesis/breakdown, or the overall benefits of intermittent fasting.
Myths about Intermittent Fasting -
If you look up over the internet you’ll find many people claiming different benefits of IF, such as:-
- Intermittent fasting forces your body to burn more fat.
- Intermittent Fasting increases your metabolism.
- Intermittent Fasting targets belly fat.
- Intermittent Fasting naturally increases HGH (Human Growth Hormone).
- Intermittent Fasting makes you eat fewer calories.
- Working out in a fasted state burns more fat
- Intermittent fasting will help you lose fat without a calorie deficit
At this moment, however, there are currently zero scientific studies that have supported intermittent fasting for gaining muscle while losing fat or accelerated fat loss. While it’s true that intermittent fasting can work very well for some people, the reason behind it is not one of the above mentioned but because intermittent fasting makes the most important steps, calories and macros easier to adhere and stick to in the long run. With intermittent fasting, the only thing you restrict is a few hours of eating daily, and that’s pretty much it. The important point to remember here is that intermittent fasting(alongside a caloric deficit diet) and daily caloric restriction are equally effective at promoting weight loss.
There is some evidence that eating more than 3-4 meals per day doesn’t keep you as satisfied as limiting intake to a few meals per day. However, if that applies to you, you don’t need to be intermittent fasting to eat fewer, larger meals. You may have also heard that eating small meals will make it harder to lose fat because you’re keeping insulin levels higher throughout the day, but in reality, insulin levels average out over the course of the day, and worrying about small fluctuations is pointless. When you eat a large meal, your insulin levels will stay higher for longer, resulting in almost the same effect as snacking. So the reasonable conclusion is if “grazing” throughout the day helps you stay lean and satisfied, then do it. There’s no evidence you’ll get better results with intermittent fasting.
The bottom line is there’s no strong evidence that intermittent fasting will help you lose fat without also eating fewer calories than you burn.
Intermittent Fasting isn’t particularly special or bad.Most evidence shows that when you eat isn’t that important.If intermittent fasting helps you eat less or gain more control over your diet, then do it. If you like to eat more frequently, that’s fine, too.Having a plan that you can stick to, that allows you to hit your calorie and macronutrient goals, is what will give you the body you want. Don’t worry as much about when you eat.
Intermittent fasting with caloric restriction often yields equivalent benefits as traditional low-calorie diets in regard to changes in fat mass, alleviating discomfort due to low energy, improving insulin sensitivity, and improving blood lipid profiles.
The most effective weight loss plans and healthy lifestyles are ones that can be maintained, and these habits are not the same for everyone. If intermittent fasting is appealing, give it a full effort for a few weeks before evaluating success or failure of that approach.
Performing aerobic exercise in a fed state does not hinder fat oxidation. Performing aerobic exercise fasted does not have any particular drawbacks as well, however exercising in a fasted state often does not lead to an optimal workout especially anaerobic exercises. Having readily available energy will allow optimal performance which will burn more calories overall and lead to the highest gains.
Article Contributed by Nav Dhillon - (http://getsetgo.fitness/public/coachprofile/Nav)