A Few Dos and Don’ts With Intermittent Fasting
Would you like to lose weight?
Would you enjoy getting your blood sugar under control once and for all?
Would you like to improve your physical and mental performance?
Or, how about increasing your chances of fighting/resisting cancer?
If you’re a health conscious person I know you answered yes to all of those questions.
And I know you can tell where I’m going with this.
Intermittent fasting is a dependable and scientifically sound way to help with all those health goals and more.
Obviously I’m a strong advocate for intermittent fasting. I’ve written about it before and in my practice I frequently tell people who are concerned about the issues above to try intermittent fasting out to alter their current state of health.
Best of all is intermittent fasting will work for just about everyone. Doesn’t matter if you’re on a ketogenic diet, eat paleo, or are just a normal “clean eater”.
Now if you’re reading this and aren’t quite sure what intermittent fasting is I’ll give you a brief explanation.
Past this explanation I’m going to outline a few “Dos and Don’ts” that’ll help anyone who’s embarking on a journey to incorporate intermittent fasting into their routine get the most out of this powerful way of eating.
Intermittent Fasting and How to Do It Right
Intermittent fasting is a nutritional strategy with deep roots in antiquity (that’s a fun word to put in a medical article). In fact, much of the fasting practiced by various religions operate on intermittent fasting-like principles.
The simplest way to describe intermittent fasting is it’s a “diet” where all of the food you eat within a 24 hour period takes place in a small window of time.
There are varying lengths of time a person who’s practicing intermittent fasting can experiment with.
The most common (and likely one of the most effective and sustainable) is a 16 hour fast with an 8 hour eating window.
When you fast for 16 hours like this and eat for just 8 hours there are numerous benefits derived from this kind of food restriction.
Some of these benefits include:
Increased hormone control (and improvement in hormone levels)
Balanced blood sugar
Quick movement into ketosis
Improved immune function
The reason scientists believe intermittent fasting works so well for improving health is how the stress of caloric restriction turns on certain systems in the body which cause your body to protect itself.
In 2014 researchers conducted a review of a few studies and conclude intermittent fasting has a positive impact on “adaptive cellular responses that reduce oxidative damage and inflammation, optimize energy metabolism, and improve cellular production.”
Essentially intermittent fasting reduced oxidative damage and how your cells responded to stress.
They cited these benefits could “reduce obesity, hypertension, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.”
That’s the basic science behind how intermittent fasting works.
Now, it’s time to talk through a few of the dos and don’ts that intermittent fasters should be aware of.
4 Dos and Don’ts For Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is like anything else.
What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another person.
So these general guidelines are meant to serve as guardrails for intermittent fasting so you don’t veer off course while trying to experience the benefits associated with intermittent fasting.
1 - Ease Into Intermittent Fasting
If you’re accustomed to eating 3-5 meals a day I recommend easing into the process. Unless you have experience with fasting longer than 24 - 48 hours jumping into a daily routine of 16+ hours without eating could backfire.
For this reason I’d suggest starting off with eating a late breakfast.
A breakfast that’s roughly 12 hours after your last meal.
Meaning if you last ate at 8pm, your breakfast would be at 8am.
Then every 2 days, delay your breakfast another hour until your first meal doesn’t take place until noon.
Once you’ve reached a 16/8 hour eating window then continue eating this way 5-6 days of the week.
Allow yourself to indulge in a full day’s eating on occasion so you feel somewhat normal and don’t feel like you’re always being deprived.
Intermittent fasting starts off as both a mental and physical battle, but once you’ve trained your body to last 16 hours without food you’ll find it becomes easier and easier.
2 - Keep Your Sugar Consumption Low:
Some advocates for intermittent fasting claim that as long as you eat for just 8 hours of the day it gives you the freedom to eat whatever you want.
Metabolically speaking this is somewhat true. If your total calorie count is lower than what you burn during the day you’ll lose weight and experience some of the benefits known to intermittent fasting.
However, if you’re eating a lot of carbohydrates, especially sugar, it could still cause your blood sugar to stay high and could possibly interfere with proper management of insulin levels.
It’s for this reason I recommend combining intermittent fasting with a ketogenic diet. Not only does intermittent fasting help you move into ketosis faster, when you’re relying on fat for fuel your body will respond to things like inflammation, cellular damage, elevated or diminished hormone production and more.
If you can keep total carbohydrate consumption under 50 grams total (minus fiber intake) you’ll reap the rewards of intermittent fasting.
3 - Drink Plenty of Fluids
It’s important that you increase your fluid intake if you’re fasting like this.
One reason behind this is the simple fact most people are already dehydrated.
Remove a meal and you’ll likely drink even less.
That’s why I highly recommend carrying a water bottle with you in the morning and drinking 2-4 glasses of water before your first meal.
Not only is this essential for your health… but as your body begins to adapt to calorie restriction it’ll begin to burn hidden fat stores and you’ll need the extra fluid to help flush out the toxins released during fat metabolism.
Now if it stresses you out to think about only drinking water in the morning I have good news.
Coffee and tea that aren’t sweetened with any sugar (stevia is fine) are totally fine to drink when fasting. In fact, some studies show drinking coffee actually helps boost an important process called autophagy that’s helpful in getting rid of dead cells in the body and recycling their useable parts back into your body for increased health.
Just don’t overdo it on the coffee since you don’t want to consume more caffeine than you can handle, and not eating will enhance how caffeine affects you.
4 - Manage Your Workouts Accordingly:
Intermittent fasting is perfectly complemented with exercise.
The biggest thing you’ll want to do is figure out how you should exercise now that you’re only eating for 8 hours a day.
Some people find that they workout better in a fasted state. Waking up early and getting right into exercise helps them tap into stored energy reserves for exceptional workouts.
In fact, there’s quite a bit of research supporting exercise in a fasted state as a superior way to exercise.
But not everyone enjoys working out on an empty stomach. Which is why it’s important to see if that’s you. Tweak your workout routine so it best fits your new intermittent fasting schedule.
All that being said you’ll want to see what works best for you.
The best news is combining exercise and intermittent fasting is one of the best ways ever observed to protect as well as improve your health.
More on Intermittent Fasting
While this information is more than enough to help you begin intermittent fasting the study of this nutritional strategy is an emerging science.
There are multiple ways to fast. Like alternate day fasting, anabolic fasting, the 5/2 diet and more.
I plan on discussing those in detail in the future.
One other thing I recommend is drinking our Satiate Shake as your last meal.
The Satiate Shake is a precisely balanced and absolutely delicious “keto shake” that supplies you with the right balance of fat, protein and carbohydrates needed to help a morning focused on fasting go exceedingly well.
You can see reviews of how the Satiate Shake has helped people like you by reading the reviews on the following page.
P.S. Consult a physician
If you’re overweight, have some kind of pre-existing condition or are on any medications I don’t suggest trying out intermittent fasting until you’ve had a conversation with your physician.
Not every doctor knows about the merits of intermittent fasting so they may not be on board with you trying it out.
But, there are potential problems (like drug interactions) that may result from fasting.