Diets are a very interesting social phenomenon which, just like popular culture, goes through trends. There have been loads of changes in the dietary habits for the last let’s say, 50 years. Between food recommendations, the keto diet, the paleo diet and the low-carb diet, I got curious to know what the trendiest diet of the moment is. I found out it’s all about eating within a short period of time, and fasting for the remainder of the day.
See fasting in general has always been a good way to lose weight, but I never saw it as a healthy option until it became apparent that the 16:8 diet was a really good choice for me. This “leangains” diet was actually popularized by bodybuilder Martin Berkhan if you want to read more about it! To tell you the truth, I am a serial snacker. I love crisps, cheese, bread…. anything that I can find around the house, I’ll eat it. So when I was listening to a podcast recently and heard a famous dietician explaining the benefits of intermittent fasting, I knew I struck gold and that this diet was talking to me.
To tell you a bit more about this diet, all you need to do is choose a 8-10 period of time during the day where you eat, and then fast for the rest of day and night. So if you want to have your breakfast at 8am, you’ll need to make sure you have dinner before 4pm, so that you let your body fast from 4pm until the next morning at 8am (making it a period of 14-16 hours). It sounds very simple, and most people will feel like they’re already doing this, but trust me, you’re not.
I decided that I would skip breakfast and eat my first meal at 1pm. I don’t usually have breakfast anyways, so I thought this was the best option for me. But it really depends on your lifestyle, and how it works around your schedule.
Studies have shown that scheduling your consumption of calories, and therefore restricting your food intake can tend to reduce that intake of calories, and hence help you lost weight. Although another study outlines the idea that it isn’t clear whether the reason why this helps you lose weight is related to the actual timing of eating your food, or what is actually being eaten.
While your body is designed to be fed, there needs to be a very smooth transition between being fed, and fasting. So when you are in the “eating” stage, your insulin levels are elevated and therefore tell your body to store the excess calories into fat cells – and in the “fasting state”, insulin levels are low, and therefore telling your body to burn these fat cells. Most of us don’t let our bodies “fast” for a long enough period of time, meaning that our body stores more and more fat cells, without eliminating it on time.
Which means that literally, one of the easiest and best ways to achieve weight loss (and especially fat loss) is to train your body to eat two meals a day (without snacking). For example a light lunch and a larger dinner can help your body rest, digest and get rid of more fat cells.
Who here is a strong believer of the whole “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” statement? Believe it or not, studies have shown that eating first thing in the morning is actually the best way to build more fat cells in your body. Apparently your insulin levels are lowest when you wake up, meaning that our fat cells are just starting to get burned out, resulting in the fact that if you eat right away, you’ll shut down that fat-burning stage!
Of course, things like avoiding carbs and exercising will also help the dieting process, because although a lot of your health is dependent on what you eat, you also need to stay active and eat healthy foods to speed up the fat-burning process. We’d love to know what your thoughts are on this diet or any other trendy diets in the comments below!
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