Updated: Jul 22, 2019
A new approach to eating over the last few years is intermittent fasting. A popular method is the 16:8 ratio (16 hours fasting, 8 hours eating). Studies show that when the body is in a fasted state insulin levels drop and fat is used primarily for energy. This concept can be useful if your goal is losing weight or reducing body fat.
First of all, I like that intermittent fasting is a lifestyle instead of a diet, which means no “cutting” of an essential macronutrient. It can help with losing weight, but if you jam 3500 calories down your throat in the 8-hour eating window the scale is most likely not going to move. You should continue tracking calories and maintaining a caloric deficit to lose weight. I also advise getting enough protein, which will help maintain muscle as well as provide satiety.
HOW IT WORKS:
Pick an 8-hour window to consume all food for the day (10-6, 11-7, etc.). You are allowed to have water, tea, and black coffee in the morning before you start eating. Consume quality nutrients during the window of eating (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, quality fats, and lean proteins). This restricted approach can result in weight loss by putting you in a caloric deficit. Ideally you should stop eating at least two hours before bedtime, because blood sugar levels can spike and disrupt your ability to fall asleep.
When you exercise while intermittent fasting depends on you and your goals. There is one school of thought that says exercising in a fasted state can cause the body to breakdown muscle for energy, which is not ideal. I recommend working out during the 8-hour eating window, because it allows for pre and post-workout nutrition. If that is not possible, then exercising before you eat is a good alternative.
In addition to helping with weight loss, fasting can have other positive effects on the body such as increased insulin sensitivity and temporarily increasing HGH, which is good for fat loss and muscle gain.