More and more people are adopting intermittent fasting (IF) in their lives. Whether it’s for weight loss or health improvement, this eating schedule – the most popular of which is the 16:8 or time-restricted feeding – is making waves and undoubtedly producing good results.
That said, not many who follow this pattern really know how it works. Not to mention the abundance of unfounded claims and speculations about why it’s beneficial to our health. To help you debunk the myths about intermittent fasting, we’re giving you the facts here.
It’s not about calories; it’s about appetite.
One common assumption about going on IF is that you lose weight because of lower calorie intake via “skipping meals.” There are ones who find it tricky to fit the standard “3 meals a day” into the limited 6-8 hour eating window. One could very well forgo breakfast or dinner, but this isn’t always the case. While some follow the “one meal a day” (OMAD) protocol, you have to remember that there are no restrictions on how much food you eat on the meals that you have.
The magic, so to speak, lies in your appetite. Studies show that having a restricted eating pattern slowly diminishes the appetite after some time. This means as you continue on IF, you’ll naturally want to eat less without putting effort towards calorie counting.
It’s not only about how long your eating window is, but when.
On top of developing a smaller appetite, the exact eating window also plays a role in intermittent fasting’s weight-loss ability. According to this study, scheduling your meals when your body should naturally be awake makes a big difference. This waking time follows our circadian cycle, which dictates that we should be awake when the sun’s up. This window falls within 8am-2pm.
When we eat during our biological morning hours, more fat is burned by the body because this is when it’s programmed to do so. In fact, here’s a study that shows the effect of eating during the biological night hours lead to weight gain and faster aging.
Another benefit of restricting meals within 8am-2pm is how you’d have a longer time fasting. The ideal length of fasting is 12-24 hours because that gives the body enough time to process all the food and eventually dip into the fat stores to keep itself going.
Part of the result is this study conducted by Courtney Peterson, Ph.D. from the University of Alabama, which showed that during the fasting period, ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone,” is low in the blood. Ghrelin signals your body to fill up when it’s empty.
No, this wasn’t our ancestors’ secret to being “healthy.”
Some proponents of IF look to early human history to make it sound more attractive and on-trend. This comes from the same reason that birthed the Paleo diet. Since all the major diseases today like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease didn’t exist in the Stone Ages, what the early humans ate must be the answer to preventing these diseases.
And since cavemen, they say, used to have an erratic meal schedule due to irregular food availability, they inadvertently undergo “intermittent fasting” at times when they couldn’t hunt or gather anything. They believe that this contributed to their disease-free nature.
But according to Yale University food historian Paul Freedman, Ph.D., a food historian, this isn’t totally true. Sure, there were times when cavepeople couldn’t get food, but those were extreme times when the weather is horrible or if there’s famine. Most of the time, they hunt and gather at very abundant places like streams. It’s also good to note that the average lifespan then was around 40 years old. So they may be non-diabetic, but they didn’t live long.
It goes to show that diseases borne from civilization and modernity can’t precisely be treated simply by “going back in time.” We also shouldn’t forget about the effects of evolution., Dr. Freedman presses that evolution moves faster than we expect it, so what worked for our ancestors’ bodies then might not work for ours today.
Maximizing the Effects of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting, as mentioned, is an eating schedule instead of a protocol. Indeed, it has proven to be an effective strategy for weight loss and overall health improvement, but why stop there? You can double the benefits of IF by also going keto!
By eating keto meals while you do IF, you can multiply the fat-burning, helping you achieve your health and weight goals faster. Keto will also help you stay full for longer, which is great for surviving those long fasting hours.
Our Keto Cleanse program can help you make the most of your journey. It’s designed to ease you through the initial adjustments of going on a new diet, minimizing side effects and giving you full guidance and support. Why not start the way to a better and healthier you today?