Fasting Intermittent: How to Best Use it for Fat Loss
Intermittent Fasting for Fat Loss: The Essential Guide
Intermittent fasting (IF) has gained popularity in recent years as a tool for weight loss and overall health improvement. However, the practice, which involves designated periods of eating and fasting, often goes against traditional beliefs about optimal dietary habits. Below, we break down the key aspects of intermittent fasting and how it can effectively aid in fat loss.
1. Understanding Intermittent Fasting
Contrary to popular belief, intermittent fasting isn’t a magic solution. While IF can offer various health benefits, its primary advantage for fat loss is the ease it provides in maintaining a calorie deficit. The largest systematic review on the subject has found no direct benefit of IF for increased fat loss or muscle gain when compared to traditional dieting.
2. Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
The primary advantage of IF is its ability to make calorie deficits more bearable. Research indicates that IF can suppress appetite more effectively than traditional dieting. By consuming calories within a shortened window, individuals can enjoy larger meals, making it easier to adhere to their diet in the long term.
3. Choosing the Right Fasting Protocol
For those aiming for fat loss with minimal muscle loss, the 16/8 protocol, popularized by Martin Burkhand, is recommended. This method involves 16 hours of fasting followed by an 8-hour eating window. However, the key to success lies in consistency. Over time, the body adapts by suppressing hunger hormones during fasting periods.
It’s also worth noting that some research suggests women might be more sensitive to fasting, so starting with a 14/10 protocol and building up to 16/8 might be preferable.
4. What to Consume During Fasting: Intermittent Fasting
During the fasting window, it’s crucial to avoid any caloric intake. Water, black coffee, green tea, and sparkling water are all acceptable beverages. Most calorie-free sweeteners don’t significantly affect insulin and are generally considered safe to consume during the fasting period.
5. Eating Right During the Feeding Window
The food choices during the eating window should be similar to any healthy fat loss diet. Aim for 80% of your food to come from whole, unprocessed sources, leaving 20% for indulgence. As for calorie intake, creating a deficit is crucial. A general guideline is to multiply your body weight (in pounds) by 13 to estimate the daily caloric intake for a deficit of roughly one pound per week. Additionally, protein is key, so aim for around 0.73 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
6. Training Considerations
Whether you prefer to exercise in a fasted or fed state, performance should be your guide. If training in a fasted state, especially in the morning, prioritize protein and carbs post-workout to minimize muscle breakdown. On the other hand, if training during your eating window, ensure your meals support your energy and recovery needs.
In conclusion, while intermittent fasting isn’t a silver bullet, it offers a structured and potentially more manageable approach to achieving and maintaining a calorie deficit. As with any diet or lifestyle change, the key is to find what aligns best with your individual needs and preferences.