Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating. You choose a specific period of time to eat and don’t eat during the rest of the time. The most common pattern is 8 hours on, 16 hours off. It’s popular because you can keep eating your favorite foods, within reason, without packing on the pounds.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Intermittent fasting works by literally “turning on” the genes that tell your body to burn fat. The genes release proteins that make the mitochondria weaker, so the body needs to burn fat to support the energy needed. When your body enters a fasted state, it burns fat instead of the energy provided by the calories in your food.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Research shows that longer periods of fasting burns fat faster, even when eating the same calorie amount. Many people have great results intermittent fasting, even when eating more of their favorite “cheat” foods. In addition, intermittent fasting is sustainable long term, which means it’s not a fad diet. Once you’re used to it, you can keep using it for as long as you want.
All About the Fasting Period
Assuming you’re following the 16:8 ratio, you’ll have 16 hours without eating. Sleep counts for this period, so if you sleep for eight hours, you’ll only have eight hours left of fasting. During the fasting period you can still drink water and black coffee and tea. It’s uncertain whether artificial, calorie free sweeteners are acceptable or not. Certain people believe that they still cause an insulin response that defeats the purpose of the fasting period.
The “Feeding Window”
The hilariously named feeding window is the period of time where you can eat for those chosen eight hours. You still want to eat a supportive number of calories and protein to support lean muscle mass. Undereating can lead to a decrease in overall muscle mass, which can affect your fitness goals. You’ll need to adjust your meal times to eat enough calories in the shorter time frame.
The Best Foods to Eat Breaking Intermittent Fasting
Are there better foods to eat to break a fast period to lose weight more effectively? Nutrient-heavy foods that are easy to digest will help you see the best results. You’ll want to eat protein, carbs, and fats that are effective at nourishing your body. Powering your body through those 8 hours will help you push through the 16 hours of fasting.
You’ll want to incorporate protein from fresh and lean sources. Good examples of lean protein include eggs, fish, chicken, turkey, pork, Greek yogurt, beans, and lentils. Whole complex carbs like sweet potatoes, beans, oats, Greek yogurt, corn, quinoa, and whole grains and rice will help keep your energized. Healthy fats are an important part of any diet. Try adding healthy fats like plant oils, nuts, coconut, and seeds.
It’s important to include a variety of vegetables and leafy greens in your everyday diet. Veggies can be fresh, frozen, raw, steamed, sauteed, roasted, or even microwaved. Great options of vegetables include beets, broccoli, peppers, carrots, garlic, mushrooms, eggplant, greens, and cucumbers. In addition, you can include a variety of lower-sugar fruits like apples, blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, peaches, and kiwi.
To support your digestion and gut, add fermented foods into your meals to boost healthy bacteria and probiotics. They also support the digestion and absorption of other foods. Greet examples of fermented foods include kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, probiotic yogurt, tempeh, and miso.
Avoid foods that are harder to digest when breaking an intermittent fast such as highly processed, sugary foods. Examples include soda, alcohol, fried foods, simple carbs like white bread, and excessive caffeine.