4 Reasons NOT To Try Intermittent Fasting
Oh boy, this should be fun.
This article is based upon this one, go there to read the whole thing if you’re interested. It’s quite interesting as it highlights a lot of the more common objections with Intermittent Fasting that I often take for granted and assume my audience knows are complete BS, but today I will explain why, in detail, these objections are wrong.
To give you a little extra background, the author is a Nutrition Consultant and has had her own practice for 15+ years. So we’re expecting great things here. Okay, let’s go.
“Limiting food intake to just eight hours each day or severely restricting calories a few days a week are two popular fasting approaches. I’ve seen both lead to intense cravings, preoccupation with food, and rebound binge eating, particularly for women.”
Yes, if you go long periods without food, you tend to end up binging. It’s a similar concept to someone who slashes their calories by 50% – you’re going to get too hungry and your cravings will shoot into the stratosphere. Won’t work.
Similarly, if you go 16 hours without any food, you won’t feel too good. This is why you have coffee in the mornings to replace food (and it works, big time!) and you also don’t jump straight into Intermittent Fasting; you slowly ease that first meal back, one hour at a time. This way you gradually adjust, and it works.
Another huge point is this: total calories are always more important. If you go 16 hours without food and you’re only eating 1500 calories per day, you’re going to be bloody starving. If you go 16 hours without food and you’re eating 2500 calories per day…different ballgame; not hard at all.
‘Particularly for women’.
This is the first red flag that should indicate to you that she may be full of shit. You don’t have certain eating strategies that only affect one gender and not the other. If one gender responds a certain way but the other doesn’t, it’s either a reflection of your own personal bias, or one gender can’t control themselves. I think she’s just using it as a (false) marketing tool – whatever her motive is, she’s wrong.
“Some who attempted to cut off eating after 4 p.m. (with the intention of eating again at 8 a.m.) have told me that after hours of lingering thoughts about food, or watching other family members eat, they just couldn’t take it anymore, and wound up raiding the kitchen and eating far more than they would have on a typical night. Others, who attempt to eat no more than 500 calories a day two non-consecutive days each week, often begin daydreaming on fasting days about what they can eat on non-fasting days, and end up eating decadent goodies more often, like baked goods, pizza, chips and ice cream.”
Oh, you morons.
This is why I always say: dieting screw-ups are always in the evenings. You need to save as many calories as possible for the evening times. Socially-related disasters NEVER happen before noon. Stop being dumb. Save your calories for later by having your eating window from 12-8pm. Miles better.
In regards to the second example, I would never recommend starving yourself even for one day, never mind two. Having such enormous eating inconsistencies is begging for binges to occur. Follow my strategy and you’ll never have this problem.
“I’ve tried intermittent fasting myself, and like clients and others I’ve talked to, it interfered with my ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. This effect can not only wreak havoc with daytime energy, but a plethora of studies have shown that sleep length and quality are strongly associated with weight control.
Too little sleep has been shown to increase hunger, up cravings for sweet and fatty foods, reduce the desire to eat healthy foods like veggies, and trigger excessive eating overall and weight gain.
For these reasons, I don’t believe that fasting is an optimal strategy for many people. In fact, some clients have told me they got out of bed at 3 a.m. after waking up, and you guessed it, wound up either eating, drinking alcohol, or both, in order to fall asleep—not a good recipe for weight loss or wellness.”
Intermittent Fasting makes me sleep better, and I’ll tell you why – it’s because I have lots of carbs in the evening before bed, and this helps me to relax and fall asleep after a long day working on my goals/mission. You must be doing something seriously wrong if you’re sleeping worse(!)
I imagine it’s because you’re trying to stop eating from 4pm onwards. STUPID! I don’t see what the logic could possible be behind this decision. Why would you prioritise breakfast/lunch? Crazy. Never gonna work. I can spot this from miles off.
Then you go on to say your clients have just magically wound up drinking alcohol at 3am in order to fall asleep?! Jesus….no comment.
“As a nutritionist, one of my biggest pet peeves with fasting is that I’ve seen it compromise overall nutrition by limiting the intake of veggies, fruit, even lean protein and healthy fats, which are strongly tied to keeping metabolism revved, boosting satiety, and reducing inflammation—all critical for weight control. I think this is especially the case when people become focused on calorie counts rather than food quality.
If you do decide to try intermittent fasting, or even a modified version, make every morsel count by sticking with naturally nutrient rich whole and fresh foods rather than processed “diet” products.”
What?! What on earth are you on about? The nutrients you get has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH INTERMITTENT FASTING. Absolute tool.
Intermittent Fasting merely changes the eating schedule, and the timing of your nutrients in order to maximise satiety.
It has nothing to do with the quality, nor the quantity. That’s calories, macros and micros. It’s a separate issue.
Is it any wonder we’re all fat as hell when the standard of our Nutritionists is this low? Holy crap.
If you choose to eat junk food on Intermittent Fasting, whilst ignoring your fruits and veggies, it IS YOUR OWN FAULT, AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE EATING SYSTEM YOU’RE FOLLOWING. You’re just being an ignorant idiot that has no idea how calories, macros and micros work. Just Google them for heaven’s sake.
“Unfortunately, fasting doesn’t trigger your body to break down only your fat reserves. While that would make weight loss so much easier, metabolism is a bit more complex. Your body burns a combination of fat and carbohydrate and after about six hours or so, when carbohydrates aren’t being consumed and your body’s “back up” stores in your liver have been depleted, you begin to convert some lean tissue into carbohydrate. The ratio of how much fat to muscle you lose may vary depending on your body composition, protein intake, and activity level, but again, this is where I’ve seen women and men experience different results.
Research shows that in postmenopausal women, a higher protein intake is needed in order to lose less muscle mass (not offset the effect completely), but many women tell me that when they fast they crave carbs, which may lead to a loss of muscle while maintaining body fat—the opposite of their intended goal. Bottom line: again, think through what feels good and in sync with your body’s needs, and remember, sustainability is key!”
Now, where there may be a tiny shred of truth with this, is if you have extremist Intermittent Fasters who only eat one meal per day. I think you need two major influxes of protein per 24 hour period – I believe only having one is pushing it as far as protein synthesis goes. I may be wrong on this, but I don’t think I am.
Onto her specific claims – you aren’t going to lose muscle in 24 hours. It’s just so microscopically small, it’s not worth worrying your tiny little head about it. So six hours?! It’s irrelevant! Your body is constantly going into muscle and fat, and adding to muscle and fat, in between every single meal! It’s completely irrelevant.
What IS relevant, it your total energy balance over a 24 hour period.
It doesn’t matter whether or not we go 6+ hours without food. If it did, we would wake up every morning, after 8 hours without food, with no muscle left on our bodies. But this doesn’t happen, and it’s a completely irrational fear to have because the 24 hour period, and more importantly; the 7 day period, is FAR more important.
So, the point I’m trying to make is this:
If you lose muscle, it’s because you either:
A) Weren’t training hard enough, or;
B) Your calories were too low and/or your protein was too low
And this is over a 24 hour period, 7 days a week, 30ish days per month. Intermittent Fasting has no negative impact upon muscle retention unless you’re doing something extreme and only have 1 meal per day. Even then, the most important factors are always going to be:
- Total calories
- Total protein
I hope that this has put the silly objections to Intermittent Fasting to bed, and a side benefit is that you can see how truly hopeless our obesity epidemic is when we have consultants with 15 years of experience coming out with complete horseshit.
I don’t really care about the epidemic per se, as there’s nothing I can personally do about it. But I can help a small number of guys who have had enough and want to transform their lives. And I do care about those guys. I will do my utmost to help them in any way I can.
Learn how to smash your goals, get lean without rebounding, and get brutally strong by signing up to my email list in the top right of the screeen (if you’re on a computer), or at the bottom (if you’re on your phone).