Intermittent Fasting: Explanation, Experiences, 9 Benefits and 10 Schedules
To this day I always have people that tell me several times a week that my advice to skip breakfast or dinner once in a while is nonsense. It would be unhealthy and a missed opportunity to speed up your metabolism.
In this article, you will discover that these convictions are at odds with scientific research. I think you will even be surprised at the endless benefits of intermittent fasting.
What you will learn in this article (and much more):
- What intermittent fasting is
- Why you can lose weight so well with intermittent fasting
- What are the 9 health benefits of intermittent fasting
- How to start intermittent fasting
- 10 intermittent fasting schema’s
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not a diet. It does not tell you what you eat but when you eat. You are fasting at certain times and you may only eat at certain times of the day. The period in which you are fasting is always larger than the period in which you eat.
By applying intermittent fasting you can lose weight and it has positive health effects on your body, your brain and it can even help you to live longer!
Many positive health effects of intermittent fasting are due to the increased production of human growth hormone (HGH Human Growth Hormone) and an improvement in insulin sensitivity.
You can practice intermittent fasting with different methods.
A much-applied schedule is by not eating after dinner and then skipping breakfast. But for example, you also can not eat anything for a day.
Depending on the method, the day or week will be divided into periods in which people are fasting and eating.
Many people who hear intermittent fasting for the first time have difficulty with the concept and do not believe it. It goes against what we have always been told:
- Without breakfast, you make it difficult for you to lose weight because you need breakfast to get your metabolism going
- You have to eat 5 to 6 small meals a day so that your metabolism stays active and does not slow down
- If you do not eat, your body burns proteins and you lose muscle mass
- If you are fasting, your body switches to survival/savings mode
Now it is true that all these points are persistent myths. Let’s take a closer look at these points one by one to see what’s true.
Myth 1: breakfast starts your metabolism
This myth is so stubborn because many people, companies and agencies say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
For example, that is what the Nutrition Center calls it breakfast is ‘an indispensable start to the day’ and food manufacturers advertises to start the day with breakfast.
You can imagine that a manufacturer of breakfast cereals, margarine or chocolate spread is not really happy when people go to skip breakfast. They benefit from eating these products as often as possible.
If you hear something often enough then you will automatically believe in it and you do not feel the need to find out whether there is proof of that. Now I am stubborn and I went to find out if there is evidence for the breakfast claims.
My conclusion is that skipping breakfast does not cause a delayed metabolism. It does not matter for your weight whether you skip breakfast.
Myth 2: you have to eat 5 to 6 times a day
The myth is that by eating 5 to 6 times a day you can keep the metabolism going. It is the intention that you eat a snack between the 3 main meals.
Eating every few hours would prevent your metabolism from getting slower.
For example, there are still enough dietitians who will give you the advice to often eat small portions.
However, there is no scientific evidence that your metabolism is actually getting faster or is being maintained. In fact, it does not matter how often you eat a day for your metabolism.
You burn as many calories as you eat 2 or 3 times a day as if you eat 5 to 6 times a day.
The only argument to often eat small portions is perhaps that you prevent this from getting hungry (the counter-argument is that you will never really be full because you only eat small portions).
What has been proven over often small portions of food is that this reduces insulin sensitivity and that this causes the development of abdominal fat.
Myth 3: you need to eat often for not lose muscle mass
You may have noticed that some bodybuilders take their Tupperware bowls with chicken breast and vegetables everywhere.
These bodybuilders want to eat their proteins every few hours because they are afraid that they would lose muscle mass.
If you do not do bodybuilding, you may be less concerned about your muscle mass. Yet muscle mass is important for everyone. The amount of muscle mass you have determines your rest metabolism.
If you lose muscle mass, you’re resting metabolism will decrease, which means you gain more weight (fat). Many people and not just bodybuilders are therefore afraid to lose muscle mass.
The fear of losing muscle mass is justified, but the fear that you are already losing muscle mass if you do not eat anything for hours is not right.
Your body stores fat so that it can be used as an energy source when the food is digested.
That your body would burn muscle mass instead of fat mass if you do not eat is, therefore, a completely illogical thought and is not how the body works.
For bodybuilders, intermittent fasting has great advantages. This through the production of growth hormones, here more about intermittent fasting and bodybuilding.
Myth 4: if you fast, your body goes into the low-power mode
As prehistoric people, we regularly knew periods in which we were forced to fast. If the hunt failed and there was nothing edible to be found.
Evolutionary, our body is therefore provided with a ‘low-power mode’. With this low-energy mode, the body is able to slow down the metabolism.
By slowing down the metabolism, it is more economical to use the fat stores, which increases the likelihood that we will find something edible before we die of starvation.
If you want to lose weight then it is logical that you want to prevent the body from getting into this low-energy mode. Now it is true that the body really does not run into a low-energy mode when you skip a meal, which many people think.
The body does not get into the saver mode until at the earliest after you have eaten nothing for 60 hours. So you can not eat anything for at least 2.5 days before your metabolism slows down.
And now it becomes really interesting; before the body goes into a low-energy mode, the metabolism actually goes up. This can be up to 14% faster
If you do not have anything to eat then the body initially makes hormones that make you more active and want to move. This increased the chances of survival for the primitive man. It made sure that people went looking for food or went hunting.
This invalidates the most important myths surrounding intermittent fasting.
This, of course, is not yet proven that you can lose weight with intermittent fasting and that it has health benefits. More about that further on.
Intermittent fasting a new hype?
Intermittent fasting has become a hype in recent years. Especially in the world of fitness and bodybuilding, it is the way to burn fat and stimulate muscle growth.
Yet fasting is nothing new. It is actually the way of eating that is normal for our body. We have started to move less in recent decades and food is always available everywhere. As a result, we have “faded” the fast.
In the past, most people had physical work while the majority of people are currently working in the service sector and behind a desk.
And as far as food is concerned, we can always go somewhere in the neighborhood 24 hours a day to buy some food.
Just think of the vending machines at the stations, the petrol station which is always open and if you live in a bigger city than you always have the night shops. You never have to be hungry.
Eating on the street has also become normal. Just pay attention to the number of people who are eating something in a busy shopping street. That was unthinkable at the beginning of the last century. Food was something you did at home!
Due to the lack of movement and constant eating, insulin resistance has become a huge health problem. According to many doctors, insulin resistance is the basis of many welfare diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
Our modern lifestyle does not fit our genes that are tuned to the eating and living pattern as we knew it in the late Paleolithic era (50,000 – 10,000 years ago).
In the late Paleolithic era, we have developed to survive in an environment in which there were large fluctuations of periods during which food could be eaten and periods when necessity had to have fasted.
The theory is that we still need these fluctuations for optimal metabolism. With intermittent fasting, we also imitate the eating pattern of our distant forefathers.
An assumption is that the prehistoric man did not eat in the morning. That people first had to hunt for something to catch or that they first had to search for something vegetable that was edible.
It is assumed that people only returned from the hunt at the end of the afternoon after which they ate together.
This diet is mimicked by the intermittent fasting forms in which people skip breakfast and only eat the first meal of the day late in the afternoon.
This is then possibly done with sports at the end of the fasting period to simulate the hunt.
Another assumption is that in prehistoric times the hunt often failed, so we sometimes sat for a day or a few days without food until the hunt succeeded again.
There are also intermittent fasting forms for this diet. You do not eat one or two days of the week with these forms, after which you normally eat the rest of the week.
Another diet that is based on how the primeval man ate is the paleo diet. With the paleo diet, however, you follow what the primeval man ate while following intermittent fasting when the primeval man ate.
Intermittent fasting does not prescribe what you can eat though it is advised to eat as healthy as possible.
You can imagine that you do not get along very much to run into the snack bar for fries with ketchup, a hamburger and a milkshake after your fast.
In some cultures, it is otherwise normal to fast. Just think of Ramadan where, during a month, Muslims around the world are fastened between sunrise and sunset.
Lose weight with intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a very suitable method to lose weight. It is also easy to apply and easy to maintain.
Recent research has shown that with intermittent fasting you can lose fat mass more effectively than with a diet with a large calorie restriction.
That you lose weight due to intermittent fasting can be explained because you eat fewer calories by skipping one over multiple meals. However, this is not the whole story behind intermittent fasting.
You will also lose weight with intermittent fasting if you continue to eat as many calories. For example, you eat 1 or 2 large meals instead of 3 normal meals.
This can be explained by the changes in hormone regulation and by improving insulin sensitivity. Important hormones that play a role in intermittent fasting are:
- The human growth hormone
Hormone 1: the human growth hormone
By fasting, the human growth hormone can increase by as much as 500%. According to another study, human growth hormone may even increase by 2000% in men and 1300% in women if 24 hours or longer.
The human growth hormone promotes the loss of body fat!
An increase in the human growth hormone, in addition to a promotion of fat burning, also ensures better muscle mass.
Hormone 2: insulin
Insulin is one of the most powerful hormones in our body. It plays an important role in our metabolism.
Insulin is needed to absorb glucose from the blood, it tells the body when it has to store fat and when it has to stop burning fat.
If you have chronically high insulin levels then it becomes very difficult to lose weight. This is because your body will then continuously receive the signal to store fat.
There is, therefore, a clear link between chronic high insulin values and overweight / obesity
One way to lower your insulin, and thus promote fat burning, is by eating low carbohydrate or by doing intermittent fasting.
Hormone 3: noradrenaline
Norepinephrine is a stress hormone. It is created to make you more alert and the effect is similar to that of adrenaline.
If you are without food for a day or longer, your body will produce norepinephrine. Evolutionary this was necessary to ensure that you went looking for food / went hunting.
An effect of noradrenaline is that it gives your body a signal to release fatty acids from the fat cells for burning.
Because of the effects of norepinephrine, your metabolism increases to 14%.
The health effects of intermittent fasting
In addition to a weight loss method, intermittent fasting is also a method to improve health.
Health benefit # 1: losing weight and losing belly fat
A good weight is an important basis for your health. Do you want to know if you have a healthy weight? Then calculate your BM
Intermittent fasting is extremely suitable for losing excess weight (source). This is because you create a large negative energy balance with it.
On the one hand, you reduce the number of calories you eat by skipping one or more meals.
On the other hand, you increase the number of calories you burn by accelerating your metabolism to 14%.
With intermittent fasting, you will be able to drastically reduce your insulin levels. This is beneficial if you want to lose weight and also helps to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Research shows that you can lose 3% to 8% of your weight in a period of 3 to 24 weeks. The same study showed that participants lost 4% to 7% of their waist circumference, indicating the loss of abdominal fat.
Health benefit # 2: recovery of body cells and genes
If you often eat, your body always needs its energy to digest your food.
When you fast, your body can shift its energy to other tasks such as restoring the cells by removing waste material from the cells.
Research shows, for example, that different genes and molecules involved in longevity and protection against diseases change for the better.
Health benefit # 3: reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation
Oxidative stress is partly responsible for the process of aging and many chronic diseases. Free radicals damage all parts of the cell, including DNA, proteins and lipids.
Oxidative stress is often the result of obesity, hypoglycemia, smoking and excessive alcohol use. But also medication, intensive exercise and being in the sun for too long cause oxidative stress.
Intermittent fasting improves the body’s resistance to oxidative stress.
In addition, intermittent fasting reduces inflammation, which is also the basis of many chronic diseases.
Health benefit # 4: reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
Health organizations see type 2 diabetes as the pandemic that will seriously threaten public health in the 21st century.
Every year, 1.5 million people worldwide die from the effects of type 2 diabetes.
Increased blood sugars and increased insulin resistance contribute significantly to the development of type 2 diabetes.
By applying intermittent fasting you can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
This is because with intermittent fasting you reduce both blood sugars and insulin resistance
Health benefit # 5: lowers cancer and Alzheimer’s risk
Cells sometimes go broke just like a component in a computer, for example, can go broke. Cells are able to break down and recycle those broken parts themselves. This process is called autophagy.
By fasting, we initiate the process of autophagy through which damaged cells can recover.
Promoting autophagy offers improved protection against various diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Although more research is needed among people, studies among animals show that intermittent fasting can prevent cancer.
In a small-scale study of people with Alzheimer’s disease, fasting appeared to improve the symptoms of these diseases.
Health benefit # 6: reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
High blood pressure, elevated LDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, increased inflammation and increased blood sugars have in common that they increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. (Metabolic Syndrome)
With intermittent fasting, it is possible to bring down all these risk factors.
Health benefit # 7: improves brain function
Intermittent fasting can promote the growth of new nerve cells which is good for brain function.
Intermittent fasting also stimulates the production of BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor).
BDNF is important for the formation of new synapses and important for memory and learning processes.
Health benefit # 8: anti-aging effects
Intermittent fasting is also popular among people who do everything to get as old as possible, because of the anti-aging effects.
In rats, spectacular results are achieved by having them fast every day. Rats live 83% longer if they have to fast every other day.
A ‘proven’ method to live longer is due to caloric restriction. Studies (in rats) show that with intermittent fasting just as good results are achieved as with caloric restriction
It has not yet been proven that intermittent fasting can also extend the lives of people, but given the improvements in all kinds of health markers (such as cholesterol, inflammation, oxidative stress) and animal testing, this is in line with expectations.
Health benefit # 9: more endurance and faster recovery
In men, the human growth hormone (HGH) can increase by 2000% and in women with 1300% by fasting.
An increase in HGH will result in greater endurance and a faster recovery of muscles after training.
Starting with intermittent fasting
How you can best start with intermittent fasting depend on the situation at your starting point when you are going to do this.
Maybe you’ve already read a lot about intermittent fasting and you want to follow the schedules of the online fitness gurus. After all, you want fast results. Like a popular schedule where you have 20 hours of fasting and you have 4 hours to eat and where you do a High-intensity interval training (HIIT) at the end of your fasting period.
Remember that this is not such a good idea if you are in a situation where you are used to eating 6 times a day and doing nothing about the sport.
Your insulin sensitivity is still too low for this and you will feel really bad because of your low blood sugars at the end of your fasting period.
You can recognize low blood sugars from the following symptoms:
- A headache
- Double or blurred vision
- Quickly irritated
- Feeling Hungry
- Heart Palpitations
- A Trembling feeling
If your blood sugar is really too low, you can lose consciousness or even become in a coma. You do not have to worry about this, this usually only happens with people who have diabetes and need to inject insulin.
If you never played sports and you are going to combine intermittent fasting with sports in your fast period, you will feel so bad that you will immediately wonder whether intermittent fasting is something for you.
If you are already used to playing sports and are used to eating low on carbohydrates, it is much easier to switch to a fairly spicy form of intermittent fasting at once.
You will have to let your body get used to fasting slowly. For this, you will have the period in which you have to build up.
If you are used to eating often (5 to 6 times a day) – otherwise you do not feel well – then you can assume that you have low insulin sensitivity, high blood sugars and high insulin levels.
It is best to start preparing for intermittent fasting and to build it up slowly.
A step-by-step plan for intermittent fasting for ‘beginners’:
- Week 1; stop eating sugars and refined carbohydrates first so that blood sugars and insulin can drop to normal levels.
- Week 3; go from 6 to 5 meals a day
- Week 4; go from 5 to 4 eating moments per day
- Week 5; go from 4 to 3 meals a day.
- Week 6 or later; only go from 3 to 2 meals a day if you feel good at 3 meals a day
This step-by-step plan is a guideline. For example, if you find yourself having no trouble eating 4 meals, you can go directly to 3 eating moments to experience how your body responds to it.
If you still have trouble making a step, you can simply stay on a certain step longer.
Normally you should be able to make the next step in 2 weeks at the latest. If this does not work, it is probably because you eat too many refined carbohydrates or sugars at the times that you are allowed to eat. Your blood glucose and insulin are then too disturbed.
In that case, replace part of your carbohydrates with protein-rich food and healthy fats and eat slow carbohydrates. Slow carbohydrates include vegetables, sweet potato, oatmeal, quinoa and silver-leaf rice.
As soon as you are at 2 eating moments per day, you can stretch the fast periods more and more.
You can count the period that you sleep until the fasting period. In order to be able to fast for a long period, breakfast is usually skipped.
Imagine having your dinner at 6 pm, after which you will no longer eat snacks. The next morning you skip breakfast and you only eat at lunch again at noon. You have then fasted for 18 hours and all you have to do is skip breakfast.
If you start with intermittent fasting, it is best to continue exercising during your eating period or within a few hours after your last meal. Your body is then provided with enough glucose and glycogen to feel good during exercise.
To take maximum advantage of intermittent fasting, you can start exercising at a certain moment during your fasting period. A good time to do this is if you are used to fasting and exercising.
Practicing at the end of your fasting period is best. The amount of human growth hormone is then the highest.
You can plan it so that you can start eating immediately after exercising. This is not necessary but pleasant because you will be hungry after exercise. It must also fit into your schedule, of course.
There are people who exercise in the morning and then only eat again with lunch or dinner. You should feel good about this.
If you really want to burn fat, you achieve the best result by waiting a few hours after your workout.
With sports, you will have exhausted all of your glycogen reserves so you can benefit from a maximum of fat burning for a few more hours.
Intermittent fasting schedules
You can put intermittent fasting in practice according to different schemes.
There is not really a good or bad method if you stick to the guidelines below. The most suitable schedule for everyone is different and must fit with who you are, what your days look like and what your goals are.
For example, a bodybuilder who wants to build lean muscle mass and train hard will feel more comfortable with a certain schedule than someone who has lost the belly.
With intermittent fasting, you always have to make sure that you are stuck for at least 12 hours in a row.
Only after an hour or 12 will the glycogen stores (the energy from carbohydrates/sugars) become empty and your body will burn fat. Depending on your lifestyle, your glycogen stores may be exhausted a little later or earlier.
It is, therefore, best to take advantage of the fat burning process for a few hours each time and, for example, increase the fast to 16 hours or longer. Then you will pack 4 hours or more full fat burning.
It is important that you do not eat or drink carbohydrates or proteins at all during the period of fasting. These will provoke a metabolic reaction so that your blood glucose rises and your body starts to produce insulin.
If, for example, you would smuggle by eating a light cracker in the morning, you would have broken the fast period and the effect of your entire cycle would be much lower than it could have been.
What you possibly can eat is pure fat. Fat does not elicit a metabolic reaction. Coconut oil is a fat that is extremely suitable here.
Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids (MCT). These fatty acids are absorbed directly by the intestines, after which they pass directly through the blood to the liver.
In the liver, these fatty acids are immediately available as a form of energy without having any effect on the blood sugars and thus the production of insulin.
It is necessary during the fast that you keep drinking enough. The best thing is to drink water, green tea or black coffee.
Do not include artificial sweeteners. These are, among other things, in light drinks. Studies have not yet given a definite answer or sweeteners a metabolic reaction that causes the body to produce insulin, but it is plausible (we also know virtually nothing about the long-term effects of sweeteners). Also, do not use coffee milk, this contains lactose (milk sugar).
Many people swear by to start the day with black coffee. Caffeine speeds up the metabolism by another 3 to 11%.
Some people drink bulletproof coffee for breakfast during fasting. This is coffee with a scoop of butter and coconut oil dissolved. These fats give you energy without provoking a metabolic reaction.
Note: these fats are of course calories that reduce the negative energy balance.
Intermittent fasting schedule # 1: 16/8
The 16/8 schedule is a popular method because it is fairly easy to fit into daily routines and, from a social point of view, you can usually join others.
With this method, you are stuck for 16 consecutive hours, after which you have a time frame of 8 hours when you can eat.
In principle, you repeat this cycle every day of the week, but of course, you are free to let go of this cycle in for example the weekend.
For the 16/8 schedule, you only have to skip breakfast. Lunch can be enjoyed together with your colleagues and you can eat the evening with the rest of the family.
Imagine eating at 6 pm dinner then you possibly can take another snack or a dessert until 8 pm. In the morning you skip breakfast and at noon you break the fast with lunch. You have then fasted for 16 hours.
After lunch, you can wait with food until dinner, but in the afternoon you can also take a snack if you need it.
With this schedule, it is the intention that you have 2 or a maximum of 3 eating moments per day. It is not the intention that you go for a snack every hour because it is your eating period.
You are free to give your own twist to this method.
Imagine having lunch with your colleagues at 12 o’clock and you are only at home at 21 o’clock for dinner, then you dip this method into the 15/9 schedule where you have 15 hours and 9 hours to eat.
You can of course also slide with the times you eat. You may prefer to eat between 10 am and 6 pm or between 6 am and 2 pm.
The 16/8 schedule is a suitable method to start with. For example, you start with 12 hours of fast, after which you commit an hour longer each week until you have 16 consecutive hours.
Intermittent fasting schedule # 2: 24 hours of fasting
With this schedule, you will fast one or twice a week for a period of 24 consecutive hours. For example, if you have eaten on Monday evening at 6 pm, your next dinner time will be 6 pm on Tuesday evening.
You can also choose to go from breakfast to breakfast or to fast from lunch to lunch. Whatever makes you feel comfortable, the effect is the same.
If you apply this method to lose weight, it is important that you do not eat more than you would normally eat on the days you eat.
If you are not used to fasting, then it is hard to start with a fasting period of 24 hours. It is better to start with a fasting period from 2 to 4 pm, after which you extend this every time.
Intermittent fasting schedule # 3: The 5: 2 diet
With this schedule, you eat normally 5 days a week and you do not really have fasting days but 2 days with a calorie restriction.
Technically this is not really a form of intermittent fasting.
The 2 days of calorie restriction may not be consecutive days. For example, you take Thursday and Sunday to fast.
It is intended that men eat 600 kcal and women 500 kcal on the ‘fasting days’.
Intermittent fasting scheme # 4: The Warrior Diet
This form of intermittent fasting is really based on how the primeval man ate.
During the hunt one probably found fruit and vegetables which were picked and ate while hunting.
You may, therefore, eat small portions of fruit and raw vegetables during the day. After which you eat one big meal in the evening, when our ancestors returned from a successful yacht.
You have a time frame of 4 hours with the Warrior Diet in which you can eat. You eat fruit and raw vegetables during the fasting period.
In this form of intermittent fasting, it is also encouraged to align your food choices with what the primeval man ate as is done with the paleo diet. This means, among other things, a lot of meat but no grains, dairy and processed food.
Intermittent fasting schedule # 5: Occasionally skipping a meal
Of course, you do not have to have a method or a schedule to fast. You can also just skip a meal now and then, just how it suits you and whether you’re hungry.
Press work and you have to work overtime? Why would you have a hard time ordering food? Just skip dinner.
Late in bed and actually not really time for breakfast? Skip the breakfast and wait until lunch with food.
Time for dinner but no appetite? Then skip the dinner.
With this ‘method’ you only eat when you are hungry and no longer ‘on the clock’ as you are used to.
The disadvantage of this method is that you can have a week or longer unnoticed in which no meal is skipped and you, therefore, do not have a period in which you are fastened.
Intermittent fasting schedule # 6: every other day
With this schedule, you have a day on which you decide which you alternate with a day on which you can eat.
This form of intermittent fasting is strangely researched in most studies while this schedule is not popular at all.
A variant of this scheme is that you keep a calorie restriction of 500 kcal per day on your fasting day (or 1/5 part of the normal daily calorie requirement). You then eat normally on your food day.
The most extreme variation on this schedule is that you do not eat anything on the day of fasting which I would like to discourage for beginners. This method is quite heavy and difficult for most people to sustain for a long time. This scheme is ideal if you want to lose a lot in a short time.
After your goal weight is reached you can switch to a milder form of intermittent fasting like the 16/8 method. This is to stay on weight with ease and to continue to benefit from the many health benefits.
Intermittent fasting schedule # 7: Fast-5 Diet
In a period of one day, 24 hours, only food can be eaten within a period of 5 hours. These 5 hours must, of course, be without interruptions.
In the most ideal case, this eating period is between 3 o’clock in the afternoon and 8 o’clock in the evening. This preference stems from the observation that the prehistoric man had the same pattern: during the day there had to be hunted and collected, at the end of the afternoon people returned from hunting after which they could eat.
The Fast-5 Diet is similar to the Warrior Diet. At Fast-5 you have 5 hours to eat and at the Warrior diet for 4 hours. An important difference, however, is that during the day you can eat fruit and raw vegetables at the Warrior Diet and you prescribe what you can eat.
Intermittent fasting schedule # 8: One meal a day
This way of fasting is daily. You eat only one meal during the day. Of course, you have to keep drinking the rest of the day. Preference is given to herbal tea and/or water.
You will understand that this form of intermittent fasting is quite intense. This form is therefore not suitable for beginners in fasting area.
Even bodybuilders often have trouble with this form of intermittent fasting, because they often do not succeed in getting enough proteins and carbohydrates to work in one meal. It will be difficult enough for most of all macronutrients in two meals to work inside.
Intermittent fasting schedule # 9: moderate fasting
With this form, you have one to three fasting days during the week. These fasting days are less strict than the other forms. During these fasting days you eat and drink, but very low in calories.
In most cases, for example, you only drink smoothies. Mind you: vegetable smoothies and certainly no fruit smoothies!
With this form of intermittent fasting, you will provoke a slight metabolic reaction with the smoothies. There are small amounts of carbohydrates in vegetables. This means you will not fully benefit from the changes in your hormone balance.
Because you do create a large calorie restriction you will be able to lose weight with this schedule. This method is less favorable for the development of muscle mass because you will not benefit optimally from the production of human growth hormone.
Intermittent fasting schedule # 10: 36 hours of fast
With this form, you do not eat anything for 36 consecutive hours. For example, you will eat your dinner on Monday at 7 pm, after which you will only eat your breakfast on Wednesday morning at 7 am. You have then fasted for 36 hours. You do this once a week.
This scheme is suitable for burning a lot of fat in a short time and is not suitable for beginners.
More intermittent fasting protocols
The intermittent fasting protocols mentioned here are the most commonly used methods, but in principle, there are infinite variants to be considered. There are also people who occasionally fast 2 or 3 consecutive days. As long as you do not get stuck for longer than 60 hours, you do not have to worry about your metabolism going into loa w-energy mode.
Choose a form of intermittent fasting that fits well with your schedule and that you feel good about. If desired, you can adjust this form to your personal preferences and daily schedule.
What can you eat?
Intermittent fasting determines when you eat and not what you eat, so you can basically eat what you want.
You can imagine that the benefits of intermittent fasting can be largely undone if, after your fasting periods, you deposit on large amounts of junk food.
Because you eat fewer meals than usual, it is extra important that the meals that you eat are as nutritious as possible.
By that I mean not only nutritious with regard to the macronutrients but also with micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These will have to come from 1 to 2 meals instead of 3 to 6 per day.
The beneficial effects of intermittent fasting are the lowering of the hormone insulin (with high insulin levels your body will retain fat).
If you are going to eat a lot of refined carbohydrates and added sugars, you will push the insulin up to high altitude during your eating period.
Therefore, try to avoid as many refined carbohydrates and added sugars as possible.
If you want a maximum effect of intermittent fasting, stick to the 9 crucial basic guidelines of HappyHealthy’s weight loss method. This prevents high insulin peaks and your body stays in a state where it easily burns fat.
Avoid refined carbohydrates and added sugars as much as possible at all times. These will ensure that fasting is harder to sustain.
After the rapid peak in your blood glucose, a sharp drop will follow quickly, causing hunger. This while you are only at the beginning of your fast period.
It is also good to eat a lot of raw vegetables or vegetables with every meal. The fibers in vegetables ensure that the blood sugars do not rise too quickly and do not give a high peak. You also keep the functioning of the intestines healthy and you feel fuller after the meal.
If you do strength training, you will have to provide sufficient protein in your meals.
Intermittent fasting experiences
Of course, the Internet is a very rewarding source for checking experiences of people who have already used intermittent fasting in their lives.
How did it go?
How do they feel?
Was there a result?
Personally, I know that it definitely makes a positive contribution to my health, but it’s always nice to see this confirmed. A small selection from the many experiences that I found on the inexhaustible internet:
… The first week was difficult, but that constant rumble in my stomach quickly disappeared. I feel a lot fitter now …
… In my eating period, I can now eat everything, without having to feel guilty …
… Because I do not eat in the fast period, I do not think about it either. This gives a lot of rest …
… My cholesterol has dropped so much that I can leave my medication now …
… I am now doing a month of intermittent fasting to train dry. This works much better for me than all the methods I had tried so far …
… I train during my period of fasting and amazingly, I have more energy instead of less …
Intermittent fasting and bodybuilding
In bodybuilding, dry muscle mass is important; or fat burning and muscle growth. Intermittent fasting meets these two basic needs of bodybuilders.
The enormous increase in human growth hormone (up to 2000%) works as a kind of natural doping.
In addition to the human growth hormone, testosterone is extremely important for the production of muscle mass.
Research shows that the luteinizing hormone is 67% higher by fasting. The luteinizing hormone is responsible for testosterone production.
From this same study, the testosterone level was found to increase by 180% by fasting.
And now that we are talking about testosterone then it is good to know that food actually lowers your testosterone level. 300 kcal food already ensures that your testosterone level will be reduced by more than 3 hours after the meal. Eating only once or twice a day is, therefore, good to keep your testosterone up to standard.
By lowering the insulin levels, the body turns into a true fat burned machine
For bodybuilders, the right amount and correct ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats are important. The ratio depends on the phase of the training cycle you are in (bulking or cutting).
This does not change anything if you use intermittent fasting.
You can simply eat the number of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) in the ratio that you would otherwise also keep. The only difference is that you will eat it in a shorter time frame.
If you eat less than usual, you run the risk that you can not build muscle mass or that the training will suffer.
Most bodybuilders train at the end of the fast period because the amount of human growth hormone is the highest. By doing an intensive training, you further encourage the production of human growth hormone.
You do not eat for maximum fat burning immediately after training (even if you are very hungry). Your glycogen stores will be completely drained by the workout while your human growth hormone is peaking.
If you can postpone the meal for a few more hours, you will benefit from a crackling fat burning for several hours.
Bodybuilders sometimes still have the fear that they lose muscle mass due to fasting. They then take proteins in the form of BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) during the fast period. There is a lot of debate here in the bodybuilding world about whether the BCAAs are sensible and necessary during the fasting period.
BCAAs elicit a metabolic reaction (like all proteins) and with BCAAs you will, therefore, break the fast period. The body converts proteins into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis, which means that insulin will be produced.
When not to do intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not suitable for:
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding women
- Women who are trying to become pregnant
- Women with chronic stress
- Women with a history of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa
- People who use blood sugar lowering medication
- People with low blood sugar
- If you have never followed a diet or have previously exercised
Intermittent fasting during pregnancy
Few studies have been conducted on the effect of intermittent fasting during pregnancy.
The studies that were done were small in structure and sometimes contradict each other but it tends to be better not to do an intermittent fasting during pregnancy. For example, the birth weight of the child could fall out lower.
In any case, it is never a good idea to go to lines if you are pregnant, unless this is considered necessary for medical reasons.
As the pregnancy progresses your caloric needs will go up, you will really have to eat for two.
Intermittent fasting during breastfeeding
In the period that you breastfeed your baby, your body needs about 500 kcal extra every day, in addition to the extra moisture it needs. It is therefore never a good idea to eat less while giving the breast.
Your body needs more calories and you will only feel tired with the risk that you can not give enough milk.
My advice is that you wait with lines until you have finished breastfeeding and switched to bottle feeding. In the meantime, you can focus on eating enough healthy food and sufficient exercise.
Intermittent fasting and getting pregnant
It has never been properly investigated what intermittent fasting with the fertility of women.
Studies have been conducted into the fertility of women during extreme forms of fasting. As with anorexia nervosa or during the winter of hunger from 1944 to 1945.
If a long time has fasted then the menstruation can become irregular or completely absent. These are, of course, situations that can not be compared to a mild form of intermittent fasting where you only skip breakfast.
It is not possible to tell by means of studies whether intermittent fasting affects fertility positively or negatively. That is why it is better not to do an intermittent fasting if you are trying to get pregnant.
Women with chronic stress
In a small-scale study among women, it turned out that a long fixed period of 72 hours caused the cortisol (a stress response hormone) to rise.
If you already suffer from chronic stress (over strain, burnout) then the cortisol values are already too high so intermittent fasting with longer periods of fasting is not recommended.
Blood sugar lowering medication
Many people with type 2 diabetes are prescribed blood sugar lowering medication. If you are going to do an intermittent fasting while taking these drugs, there is a real risk that the blood glucose will become too low and you will get a hypo.
If you have type 2 diabetes then only use intermittent fasting in consultation with your doctor. He will applaud that you want to tackle your excess weight and will adjust your medication to your intermittent fasting schedule and your progress.
People with low blood sugar
If your blood sugar is regularly too low then you should not do an intermittent fasting. First, make sure your blood sugar is under control for a longer period. In most cases, this will be an adjustment in your diet or stopping certain medicines (if possible).
Difference between men and women
Research shows that men and women respond differently to intermittent fasting.
This can be explained by the effects of intermittent fasting on our hormones and the differences in hormonal balance between men and women.
In general, you can say that intermittent fasting in men is more effective than in women. This is not to say that intermittent fasting can not be something for women. Some women swear by it.
Every individual is different and you will, therefore, have to try intermittent fasting, whether you are a man or a woman, to find out whether it works for you or not.
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