IF 101: An Overview of Intermittent Fasting for Fat Loss Never miss a glorious update – click here! INTERMITTENT FASTING may well be the most discussed dietary concept on the Internet right now. Get shredded workout plan pdf is gaining ground despite that the practice challenges many long-help assumptions about nutrition.
In fact, practicing IF forces you to eat in direct opposition to those assumptions, and that—along with the results—it what’s generating all the buzz. Before we get into the why and the how, let’s first discuss the basics of the what. I’ve got a short video completely covering everything in the post. Or, to use IF parlance, you alternate a fasting period with a feeding window.
How long each will be tends to vary heavily, depending on which intermittent fasting protocol you select—and there are several. Each method of intermittent fasting will be discussed in a later article, but for now, it’s enough to mention that the differences come from expanding the fasting window. It’s also important to note that every one of us does some form of fasting, whether you realize it or not. Most of us aren’t on a structured timetable of meals where the window of fasting is constant, so rather than fasting intermittently, we’re fasting haphazardly—and there’s no benefit there. The exception for most people is sleep.
6-8 hours per night, until we eat in the morning. Which brings me to my next point. The Most Important Meal of the Day? Intermittent Fasting Science Tackles the Insidious Scourge of Breakfast! Breakfast is sort of a hot topic in the IF world, and in fact seems to be the first point of contention for people looking in on intermittent fasting from the outside. IF peeps don’t give a shit, though, because these dudes hate breakfast. Here’s why: for years, we’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
In fact, many people are often scolded by their physicians for skipping breakfast—particularly people who are embarking on a plan to lose weight. There is some credence here, by the way: a study conducted in 2008 showed that participants who ate a calorically dense breakfast lost more weight than those that didn’t. The espoused theory for the results was that the higher caloric intake early in the day led people to snack less often and lowered caloric intake overall. If eating breakfast is the first step to weight loss, then clearly something else is going wrong. More evidence seems to support the breakfast idea, though. There are some epidemiological studies that show a connection skipping breakfast and higher body weight. Of course, proponents of the breakfast theory are quick to suggest that most people are simply eating the wrong breakfast, as quick n easy meals like Danishes and doughnuts, which can lead to weight gain.
However, the crux of the breakfast study is ultimately that a larger breakfast leads to lower overall caloric intake. The only real argument that breakfast crowds have is insulin sensitivity. As a very basic note on what this is and why this matters the more sensitive your body is to insulin, the more likely you are to lose fat and gain muscle. Increasing insulin sensitivity almost always leads to more efficient dieting. Getting back to it, supporters of eating breakfast declare that as insulin sensitivity is higher in the morning, eating a carbohydrate rich breakfast is going to have the greatest balance of taking in a large amount of energy without the danger of weight gain.
This brings us back to IF. 8-10 hour fasting periods you experience if you sleep. I feel it makes to most sense to compound benefits by training in a fasted state and then having a carbohydrate meal or shake, maximizing the already potent effect of your para-workout nutrition. Ultimately, this all means that there’s nothing special about breakfast and no need to eat first thing in the morning—the first meal you eat to break your fast will be exposed to the benefits of increased insulin sensitivity. Remember, the more important part is the length of the fast, not the time of the fast. Skipping breakfast just happens to be the easiest way to implement a fast.
A discussion that mentions skipping breakfast—or any meal, really—will invariably lead into a discussion of meal frequency, which leads me to my next point. It seems that over the past 15-20 years, hundreds of diet books have been printed, and no two were identical. In fact, some of them have been in direct opposition to one another. Calorie-restrictive plans like Weight Watchers certainly don’t agree with plans like the Atkins diet, the first iteration of which allowed dieters to at all they want, as long as they kept carbs low. Similarly, carb conscious plans generally call for products like yogurt or cottage cheese to be used as portable sources of protein, but many plans to reject dairy products altogether. Despite the incredibly disparate natures of so many of these diets, the one thing that has been consistently suggested in most books published over the past 20 years is the frequency of meals.
If you’ve read a diet book, seen a nutritionist or hired a personal trainer at any point during that time, you’ve probably been told that in order to lose weight, you need to eat 5-6 small meals per day. This style of eating, commonly referred to as the frequent feeding model, is popular with everyone from dietitians to bodybuilders, and has been repeated so often for so long that it’s generally taken as fact. In fact, the reputed benefits of eating small meals more often have never been scientifically validated. Put less colloquially, the theory suggests that since eating increases your metabolic rate, the more often you eat, the more your metabolic rate will be elevated.
That’s true, but it doesn’t lead to more fat loss—in fact, it’s been scientifically borne out that there won’t be a difference at all. When you eat, your metabolic rate increased because of the energy required to break down the food you’ve taken in. This is called the Thermic Effect of Food, or TEF. So, while you’re experiencing energy expenditure due to TEF every time you eat, the net effect is no different regardless of how many times you eat, as long as the total amount of food is the same. You see, TEF is directly proportional to caloric intake, and if caloric intake is the same, at the end of the day, there will be no metabolic difference between eating 5-6 meals or 2-3. In fact, as long as the total calories are the same, you can eat ten meals or one meal, and you’ll still get the same metabolic effect.
Which means that the more often you eat, the more likely you are to be hungry—leading to higher caloric intake and eventual weight gain. Intermittent Fasting guru Martin Berkhan has summarized this study, it’s meaning, and the effects of such things quite well, but suffice it to say that it seems people who eat larger meals less frequently take in fewer calories and are more satisfied doing so. 4-8 hours, having more than 2-3 meals becomes impractical at best and impossible at worst. Firstly, as we’ve established thus far, people who practice IF eat less frequently. In addition to feeling hungry less often, and more full when they do eat, these people benefit in terms of practicality and logistics.