Unless you’ve been living under a rock during the past couple of years, you already know plenty about the benefits of fasting for the human metabolism and health – numerous studies have shown that fasting in its many shapes and variants can have powerful benefits for both your body and brain.
And then there is one of the most popular fasting patterns on fitness blogs nowadays: intermittent fasting, which is basically an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of normal eating and strict fasting. This type of dieting protocol, among other things, has been proven as beneficial for improving the body’s most vital repair processes at the cellular level. It’s also celebrated for its ability to support the fat burning process, regulate insulin levels and increase levels of growth hormone.
Today we want to give you a short tour through the most important intermittent fasting protocols that you can easily apply to your diet today. Let’s go!
How It Works?
The idea behind the effectiveness of intermittent fasting that “surviving” (because your body will physically get into starvation mode) short fasts every now and then can encourage the body to directly burn fat rather than the food that’s been consumed throughout the day. And then, as you get back to your normal way of eating, or even treating yourself with your favorite foods (yes, intermittent fasting allows you that freedom!), you can achieve two goals at the same time: shed the pounds and become healthier.
The Lean Gains Style
The most generally effective intermittent fasting protocol, named the 16:8 protocol, was originally established by the nutrition science expert and personal coach, Martin Berkhan.
According to this method, you need to fast for a period of 16 hours every day, whilst fitting all your calories for the day into the remaining 8 hour window. By doing this, you can succeed at building muscle with minimum fat accumulation, which would be a dream come true for many fitness enthusiasts.
And the easiest way to put the 16:8 protocol to best use is by trying to fast from 8pm one day until 12pm the next day. Between these times, go back to your usual eating pattern.
The Science Behind Intermittent Fasting
When you eat food, your body takes on the duty of digesting and then absorbing it, mainly through the work of your gastric system. This state can be called a state of being “fed”, and during it blood insulin levels are pretty high. The opposite of this would be a “fasted” state, which comes next and usually lasts around 12 after the last meal. This is the phase when your body is not engaged in digestion and processing of any food – and this is exactly the “window of opportunity” that you want to use to promote fat loss and detoxification.
We usually never really enter a fasted state, as we usually have breakfast right after waking up. But if you try intermittent fasting, you would prolong this period of no-digestion and reap the benefits of keeping your insulin levels low for longer. Finally, fasting can help your body store most of what you eat directly as glycogen instead of fat pockets.
Here are a few of the most important and obvious benefits from intermittent fasting 16:8.
- Accelerated fat loss (stubborn fat included)
- Less food cravings
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Improved cognitive functions (especially in the morning!)
- Better overall health
Ideally, you should strive to consume 0 (zero) calories during a fast. However, we are only human after all, so there are a couple of things that can help you power through your fasts!
- Try to consume only 30 calories per “cheat”.
- Drink plenty of water (try it with lemon/cinnamon/cucumbers) – and we mean plenty.
- Chew sugar-free gum
- Drink black tea/coffee instead of breakfast
- Stay consistent!