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Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022

Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022

Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022

Intermittent fasting, also known as intermittent energy restriction, is any of various meal timing schedules that cycle between voluntary fasting and non-fasting over a given period. Methods of intermittent fasting include alternate-day fasting, periodic fasting, and daily time-restricted feeding.

How many hours of fasting is recommended? Does intermittent fasting work for weight loss? Will I go hungry if I do? We solve doubts and myths in the hands of experts, who have given us the guidelines to do it safely.

  • Intermittent fasting: benefits, myths, and guidelines
  • by Women’s Health UK
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  • Intermittent fasting: benefits, legends, and guidelines
  • by Women’s Health UK
  • Intermittent fasting has been gaining more and more followers in recent months. Some use it to lose weight, and those who follow this diet simply intuitively.
  • Nutrition experts give us their opinion on intermittent fasting: this is precisely how it works, and this is what you should know before trying it.
  • These 35 healthy dinners to lose weight will be helpful to you.
  • Before starting any diet, find out what your ideal weight is
Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022

It is not necessary to eat five meals a day, nor is it essential to stop eating. Diet does not follow structured rules that can be applied to everyone, so we cannot say that intermittent fasting can be generally recommended since it depends on several factors. This type of diet – which is often mistakenly called a diet – became popular due to its results in losing weight, but this is not its goal, far from it. It doesn’t always work for it.

What is intermittent fasting?

Before we start, let’s recall the concept. It is something we do naturally: fasting – that is, not eating anything – for an extended period, which until now we have always limited to the time slot that goes from dinner to breakfast the next day. But in the case of intermittent fasting, it is proposed to extend the trait of hours of no eating and raise it, for example, to 16:8, one of the most efficient methods. That is, spending 16 hours without eating (you are allowed to drink water, coffee, or tea) and then eight hours eating food again.

In general terms, intermittent fasting allows you to eat practically what you want during the established times. Still, the logical thing is to opt for healthy foods: intermittent fasting should not be used as an excuse to binge on processed foods later because then nothing would make sense.

What is the best intermittent fasting method?

Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022
Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022

Intermittent fasting: benefits

By doing it naturally at night, without realizing it, we already enjoy its benefits, says Cristina Romagosa, health advisor and nutrition expert at the medical chat. And among them, intermittent fasting has been proven to :

  • It has been linked to lower coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes rates.
  • It may help improve insulin sensitivity.
  • It has been observed to improve blood pressure.
  • It also helps reduce fat, especially in obese people. And also in people who train strength.
  • May contribute to healthier gut microbiota.
  • Help fight oxidative stress.

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Intermittent fasting: diet to lose weight?

Now, can you lose weight with intermittent fasting? Is it used to lose fat? “Well, yes, but only if you manage to maintain a caloric deficit,” the IND nutritionists explain. That is to say: you will only achieve it if you reduce the calories you eat per day, controlling what you eat during the intake period.

They explain to us that this method of eating can help reduce calories per day, but it is not a magic formula either. “Scientific evidence has not shown that intermittent fasting helps you lose more fat than a normal caloric deficit,” they state. “So you don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

caloric deficit

Intermittent fasting: expert opinions

And the nutritionist Álvaro Vargas also agrees with this, author of books such as To eat is learned or Vegesanísimo Referring to the first meta-analysis on intermittent fasting that was carried out at the end of last year,

 the expert explains that the conclusions regarding weight loss are somewhat scarce “It wasn’t occurring in a relevant way. It was also not concluded that intermittent fasting affected the gut microbiota or microbiota reduction,” he says.


Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022

This girl lost 30 kg by changing two habits

Is it essential to eat five meals a day?

Fasting is also usually done to compensate for the excesses produced during a specific time. “Although today we start from the belief that food should be divided into five and even six meals a day, it may not be necessary to maintain this rhythm, and it may even not be beneficial to consume so often,” says the expert.

The nutritionist Aitor Sánchez, author of My diet, limps, totally agrees. The expert participated in one of our editions of Women’s Health Live, where he spoke about this life, calling it an old-fashioned belief: no, you don’t have to eat five times a day.

Questions and answers with Aitor Sánchez, My diet limps

by Women’s Health UK

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  • Questions and answers with Aitor Sánchez, My diet limps
  • by Women’s Health UK
  • What must always be taken into account is that “intermittent fasting must be integrated into a balanced and varied diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and protein of vegetable and animal origin. 
  • But, above all, it is low in added sugar, processed foods, certain types of fat, and extra foods,” says Romagosa.

Intermittent fasting: schedules

A determining factor of intermittent fasting is the schedule. There are different types of fasting depending on the hours in which it is practiced. The hourly fractions in which we can put fasting into practice are:

  • 8/16 – Sixteen hours of fasting and 8 hours of feeding. It is supposed to be the most suitable for intermittent fasting. It is simpler for organizational reasons: have dinner soon and extend the first meal of the day; it would be enough.
  • 20/4 – Twenty hours of fasting and 4 hours of feeding. You can make one or two meals.
  • 12/12 – This type of fast consists of leaving twelve hours between meals.
  • Alternate day fasting or 5:2 – this fast is similar to the military diet that has become so fashionable recently. It consists of eating normally five days a week and fasting the other two days.
Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022
Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022

But which is the most effective? Is there a fasting schedule that will make the effects faster more effective? According to a study by Harvard Medical College, it is best to adapt fasting to our circadian rhythms. That is, to the cyclical changes in our body that are adapted to the hours of light and sleep. That is why the best time to eat during fasting, according to this study, would be the morning. From 7 am to 6 pm at the latest Avoiding food intake up to 5 hours before going to bed to sleep. It would be the perfect time formula: join the fast that best suits you, and within that fraction (16:8, 12:12, 20:4), organize your meal times based on your mealtimes. Dream.

Intermittent fasting: frequently asked questions

At a minimum, how many hours should you fast?

“Approximately after 12 to 16 hours without food, the body resorts to adipose tissue reserves to convert them into ketone bodies, which, simplifying biochemistry, will become its main source of energy,” explains Dr. Tomás Duraj, consultant Melio’s doctor.

Is supplementation needed?

“If you plan to do a prolonged fast of 24 hours or more, it is essential to drink mineral water and electrolyte supplementation: sodium, magnesium, and potassium. It avoids fatigue, dizziness, and discomfort that some people experience, especially if they fast for the first time since fasting lowers insulin levels and results in significant fluid/electrolyte depletion.

In any case, it is not recommended to fast for so many hours in a row. If you follow the 16:8 method, for example, and follow a balanced diet, in principle, it would not be necessary to supplement.

Does coffee break the fast?

Another question that you will have asked yourself for sure is the following: can you drink coffee with milk while intermittent fasting? Find out the answer and why.


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Intermittent fasting myths

As well as you may have heard about this method of eating, one thing must be clear: intermittent fasting is not the solution to everything, nor is it the only way to lose weight. But some have demonized fasting, associating it with negative consequences rather than the result of ignorance. With the help of the experts at Altrient, the liposomal health and beauty supplement firm, we are going to debunk some of the most common myths:

If you do intermittent fasting, you will lose muscle mass.

Fake. “Everything will depend on the type of nutrients that are ingested during the feeding period. Intermittent fasting accelerates metabolism; the body burns fat more quickly and assimilates nutrients better; therefore, it is essential that these are adequate,” they explain.

If you include strength work in your workouts, you will also prevent that supposed loss.

Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022

Intermittent fasting lower blood sugar levels

Fake. “It helps keep it from going up, but it doesn’t go down. The human body is set up to keep glucose levels stable, so you don’t have to eat constantly.”

If you do intermittent fasting, you do not perform the same in training.

Fake. “This depends on many factors, such as the type of physical activity that is carried out, the duration of the fast and the adaptation to it. As long as the necessary calorie intake for each athlete is maintained, as well as the adequate macronutrients, there would be no reduction in performance,” say the experts

With intermittent fasting, you get dizzy and tired sooner.

Here it depends on each person. “Maybe at first, yes. Fasting requires an adaptation period. The more times you fast, the more time you can go without eating. Ideally, start gradually, with type 12:12 and adapt the body to type 16: 8, the most popular”.

Tips for safe intermittent fasting

According to the dieticians-nutritionists of CODiNuCoVa, to safely do fasting or intermittent fasting, it is necessary:

  • Start with short fasting periods and gradually increase the time to adapt to this new practice.
  • Control food intake, opting mainly for those of plant origin since, as Tendero adds, “fasting is not an excuse to eat badly .”
  • Decrease the number of kilocalories concerning the total needs, but it depends on the goal that you want to achieve and on each person.
  • On the other hand, if the goal is to lose weight without compromising muscle mass, it has been observed that prolonged fasting beyond 24 hours does not improve the body. Therefore, avoid them.


Intermittent fasting: disadvantages and possible dangers

From CODiNuCoVa, they recommend we perform intermittent fasting in a controlled way and always under the supervision of a dietician-nutritionist. “If intermittent fasting is done without nutritional advice, dietary errors may persist since, contrary to what may be believed, this guideline does not consist in eliminating food but in regulating the times of eating and fasting. In addition, if it is a person with anxiety, it can generate more anxiety and stress, or if there is little adherence to this diet, there can also be a rebound effect, that is, that the kilos that we have lost or even more are regained”, clarifies Gema Shopkeeper.

Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022

In which cases is intermittent fasting discouraged?

Shopkeeper points out some cases in which this practice is discouraged, such as:

  • People who have or have had an eating disorder.
  • Those with a tendency to stress and anxiety and people with migraines
  • “It is also not a good strategy after the summer in which, on average and if we have not followed a healthy diet, we may have gained three to five kilos. It is a guideline that has to be internalized in the routine, and that has to be framed in a dietary treatment”, he concludes.
  • For her part, the medical expert advises against excessive fasts of several days or prolonged semi-fasts of weeks or months and stresses that “in no case is it recommended for people with any disease or children, the elderly or pregnant women.”

“The most important thing is to have a healthy relationship with food, and for this, we must relearn to listen to our body. Recognize the signs of satiety, the need to break the fast, divide more or less food and enjoy healthy options again”, emphasizes the medical advisor.

Intermittent fasting and diabetes

Can you fast as a person with diabetes? Did you know that it was used for its therapeutic properties to prolong the life of diabetic patients at the beginning of this century? The key is to have medical control and combine it with exercise.

People with diabetes must keep track of the food they eat and do physical exercise to be able to level glucose. And this is where prolonged fasting can play a significant role in recovery from adult-onset diabetes. Fasting brings excellent health benefits to those who suffer from poor regulation of blood glucose levels. In more severe cases, in which long periods of fasting cannot be safely tolerated, constantly monitored by a doctor throughout the process, personalized calorie restriction plans can be made less severe than prolonged fasting. >>

Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022
Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022

Dr. Jesús Domínguez, technical director of retreats, reveals five benefits that fasting combined with physical activity brings to these people:

  • The diabetic patient shows a substantial improvement in terms of fasting blood glucose and insulin levels and the rate of fat oxidation present in type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduces the risk of AMI (acute myocardial infarction) and improves heart function. They also improve other parameters such as arterial hypertension, also indirectly related to the well-known metabolic syndrome associated with poor regulation of blood sugars.
  • Reduces levels of glycosuria polyuria, slow aging, and increases life expectancy.
  • Belly fat loss.
  • They improve other blood parameters such as cholesterol uric acid (related to problems in insulin regulation).

Intermittent Fasting and Keto Diet

Suppose you have heard (a lot) about intermittent fasting. In that case, the same thing will have happened to you with the keto or ketogenic diet. 

Although it seems like opposite things, since one is about not eating food following specific time guidelines and the other is about what type of food you have to eat, the reality is that both are tools to achieve a particular response from your body ketosis. So, it is not uncommon for us to ask ourselves: what happens if we combine both? Is it possible to fast and follow the keto diet simultaneously? The answer is yes. What is more, putting both into practice simultaneously causes an improvement in the burning process of the calories ingested.

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Is 12 hours enough for intermittent fasting? Fast for 12 hours a day

A person needs to decide on and adhere to a 12-hour fasting window every day. According to some researchers, fasting for 10–16 hours can cause the body to turn its fat stores into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream. This should encourage weight loss.

Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022
Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022

How do you do intermittent fasting?

During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all. These are the most popular methods: The 16/8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.

What should I eat during intermittent fasting?

Eat high-fiber foods, such as nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables, and high protein foods, including meat, fish, tofu, or nuts, during your eating window, Varady advised. Chewing high-fiber gummies can also help. Drink lots of water. People tend to think they’re hungry, when they are really just thirsty, she said.

Is intermittent fasting good for you?

Fasting for short periods of time helps people eat fewer calories, which may result in weight loss over time ( 1 ). However, intermittent fasting may also help modify risk factors for health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, such as lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels (2, 3 , 4, 5 ).

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Intermittent fasting benefits, myths, and guidelines to do it right 2022

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