So you are comfortable with intermittent fasting and following a schedule similar to 16/8. This is now part of your life and you are enjoying benefits. Fat loss, more energy, mind clarity and less cravings. Congratulations, this is a great achievement!
Incorporating a schedule like 16/8 will greatly help weight loss and improve every day quality but extending the fasting window ever so slightly is where some of the potent health benefits real come from.
Let's recap what can be reasonably achieved by a 16 hour fast.
- Deplete your glycogen store, which is the glucose mainly stored in the liver. This will allow to start tapping in your own fat for energy and where you should have seen great results in your weight.
- Be more efficient to use ketones for fuel, and as a result have reduced cravings.
- More stable blood sugar, insulin and blood pressure and as a result more energy through-out the day.
- Digestion is complete and your gut should be relaxing.
- Raised levels of human-growth hormone (HGH) which has many great benefits and helps with muscle building.
In addition there is no down-side to it apart from social reasons. But once you are used to intermittent fasting having once in a while breakfast with friends or a late dinner is quite ok.
A 16/8 window is "easy" to apply with little amount of effort and there is no muscle loss. Read here on how to get started.
Going beyond a 16-hour Fast
Doing a 16-hour fast is already quite phenomenal, but are there reasons to push further and consider shortening your feeding window even more? Let's look into some of the reasons closer.
Fasting and Feasting is a normal cycle of life. Although this way of eating is not promoted by the current society lifestyle it has been practised by many cultures for thousands of years. Our bodies need nutrition to grow a change but equally time to rest and digest. So once we feast with a big nutritius meal full digestion can take up to 8 hours. If we eat 5-6 meals a day then we never give ourself a chance to rest.
From a science perspective we are balancing between an anabolic state where we are growing and building tissue and a catabolic state where we are resting, recycling and cleaning up. Very few of us clean up our closet and our closet is now full of trash. This is not healthy and potentially a cause for decease. Instead of doing pro-longed fasts of 3+ days which require a lot of effort and attention we can achieve similar effects by shortening our daily eating window. This allows to:
- Trigger autophagy, and recycling of dead cells for use of energy.
- Go deeper into ketosis and you remove cravings all together.
- Continue to raise HGH up to 1000%
- Absorb nutrients from food a lot better since you will be very insuling sensitive.
Of course you need to be careful about:
- Your diet being on the point to ensure that you can still trigger the anabolic processes and build muscle.
- Being wary of over eating to avoid feeling bloated and stuffed
- Already needing to be comfortable with 16/8 to avoid blood sugar crushes.
How to extend your fasting window
- At the start, try going for a 20/4 window once a week. This is also known as the warrior diet.
- If at some point you feel you cant get your mind off food, then break your fast sooner. Fasting is also a stress factor, so don't go too fast.
- Take electrolytes and salt during the day.
- Coffee will also help but don't over do it.
- Break your fast with the lighter of the two meals. Have a soup, some protein and salad. Eat enough protein (30 grams) to trigger mTOR but not so much that you will not be able to have the second meal in 4 hours.
There are great health benefits from extending your fasting window past 16-hours. Give it a try but take it slowly and only to your limit.
- The Longevity Solution: Rediscovering Centuries-Old Secrets to a Healthy, Long Life ( by James DiNicolantonio and Jason Fung )