Intermittent fasting is currently one of the most popular health and diet lifestyle you can adopt. Most people assume that people choose to participate in intermittent fasting because of weight loss, but in fact there are many other benefits to your health. It has a great effect on your body and studies show that it is possible that it can even help you live longer. Personally, I have been doing intermittent fasting for around 2 years already. Not only did I aim to lose weight, I also aspire to live longer. One of my goals in life is to watch the sun rise on January 1st 2100, this means that I’ll be really old by then. Hopefully, intermittent fasting among other future technologies will help me be able to live to 2100 to watch the sun rise!
Intermittent fasting is a diet style that regulates when you eat and not what you eat. Some people might consider intermittent fasting as not a conventional diet as where you cut out food or lower calories. Instead, you split your 24 hours in a day into periods of eating and fasting. Specifically, the 16/8 intermittent fasting means that you spend 16 hours not eating anything and 8 hours eating. For example, it might mean that you spend only 12pm to 8pm eating. Or you can consider it as skipping breakfast or dinner. During the fasting stage, you are not suppose to eat anything with calories. You can drink as much tea, black coffee or even lemon water, but you cannot drink anything with calories too. This means that you will have to put down your milk, fizzy drinks and other stuff. Studies have also shown that the sweetener in your diet fizzy drinks might also break you fast, so I would also suggest you don’t drink any diet coke or other diet drinks while you are fasting.
The 16/8 method of intermittent fasting is often seen as the most simple and easiest for beginners to sustain. Unlike many other diets, the idea of intermittent fasting is to make it easy. In theory, because you have less time to eat, you should be eating less and lead to a decrease in caloric intake. When you do not eat, your insulin hormones will lower and increase norepinephrine, which is the fat burning hormone. Studies that were done on intermittent fasting show that it is possible to have around 3 to 8% weight loss up to 24 weeks. However, you must understand that you cannot binge and think that it is alright to put all your calories into the small eating zone.
Despite all this information stating that intermittent fasting is a when and not what to eat situation, there is always things you can eat to improve on your diet. There is no official specification or restriction on what you can eat or the type of foods that you have to avoid. However, it is obviously ideal for you to eat something that is good for your body. You can technically lose weight if you eat McDonalds everyday as long as it is within your caloric restriction. But it is not healthy and in the long run, it will not be beneficial to your weight loss or your health. A well balanced diet is what you should aim for to lose weight and have optimal health.
Instead, you should aim to eat foods that are high in nutrients such as leafy greens, lean protein, whole grains, dairy, nuts and fruits. You should also avoid foods that are highly processed as they are not good for you to eat. Those food will not keep you full in a longer run and might not even provide you enough nutrients. Foods that are high in sugar or processed carbs are not going to help you either. Those food will make you fuller and keep you craving for more.
In addition, the keto diet is also really beneficial to go with intermittent fasting. Keto diet is basically eating high fat and very low carbohydrates. When you are doing the keto diet, you generally consume only 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates a day. This leads to your body running out of glucose and instead will switch to burning fat to energise your body. After a few days, your body will start breaking down the fat in your body to use as fuel, this is called ketosis. You might think this is very simple, but in fact, sticking to 20 to 50 grams of carbs is actually quite hard to do for most people. For example, 1 Oreo contains 12.1 grams of carbs, a McDonald’s medium fries is 44 grams of carbs, one McDonald’s ice cream cone is 24 grams of carbs. As you can see, it is very simple to go over the 20 to 50 grams of carbs in one day.
If you do choose to do keto and intermittent fasting together, it might be beneficial to you. Some people find it is helpful as intermittent fasting helps your body reach ketosis easier. While you are fasting, your body will deplete your glycogen storage and therefore use your fat as fuel. This leads to your body eventually burning fat sooner as fasting helps promote it. Combining these two diets might also help you burn more fat. For those who do not want to go that extreme, I believe a low carb diet and eating healthy nutritious food will go great with intermittent fasting. You will want to stick to lean proteins and fresh vegetables.
Eating lean protein will help keep you feeling fuller while also maintaining your muscles while you are eating in a deficit. Foods such as chicken breast, turkey breast, tuna, greek yogurt, tofu and eggs are all great sources of protein. Because protein helps keep you fuller longer, it will be very beneficial to help you during your fasting period as it might keep you fuller longer and therefore reducing your cravings.
Vegetables, and in particular leafy greens are great low calories food that are packed with vitamins and minerals. Foods such as kale, spinach, cabbage, beets, romaine lettuce, watercress, boy choy and arugula are great greens that help provide you excellent benefits. These foods are very nutrient dense and therefore it will offer you a lot of benefits for little calories. Vegetables also are high in fibre, this will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
In the end, it does matter what you eat while you are doing 16/8 intermittent fasting. Sure, you can eat Mcdonald’s and Wendy’s everyday as long as you are eating in a deficit. But is that really good for your body? Wouldn’t you prefer to eat foods that are nutrient dense and not completely processed? Processed foods often have extra unnecessary ingredients added into it to keep you hooked in or to just preserve the food to last longer. Eating processed foods might lead you to eating more than your recommended amounts of calories, salt, sugar and fat. Intermittent fasting is not a diet in where you are excused to eat whatever you want as long as you eat within the time period. You have to choose the food you put inside your body properly. It matters what you eat! You are what you eat!