Fasting VS Traditional Eating
Intermittent fasting has had a huge spike increasing in popularity among many people with focus on health and nutrition. Fasting throughout the morning is something that I personally do each and every day with great success. After coaching many people with similar training and nutrition plans as myself, I have seen first hand how amazing this tool can be.
Despite many studies that have shown the benefits that fasting comes with compared to traditional calorie counting methods to dieting, some still argue that meal timing plays no effect in fat loss. I want to dive into this topic with two separate studies showing each side of this debate.
Let me start off by saying that I am an expert when it comes to long fasts. I have done multiple 24+ hour fasts as you can see below with links to the variety of benefits that go along with it.
These next two studies done by the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago as well as Quantitative Sciences Unit, Stanford University, Stanford, California uses shorter fasting times.
The study uses 34 selective individuals all with 5+ years of strength training experience. The studies had all individuals on the same training plan with a frequency in the gym of 3 days per week. With an intermittent fasting time of 16 hours and an 8 hour eating window, these individuals were tested in 5 different categories.
The study looked at metabolic response, body composition, maximum strength, lipid profile, and inflammation. With the group of 34 men, they divided them into two groups (17 people per group). One group on a traditional 3 square meals per day with no timeframe restrictions. The other group using the same number of calories but with a fasted timeframe.
The fasted group fit all of their meals into 8 hours. They started meal one at 1PM, meal two at 4PM, and meal three at 8PM.
The traditional eating group ate at 8AM, 1PM, and 8PM. All of their calories were consumed in a 12 hour timeframe.
Each group had the same amount of calories with the same macro-nutrient breakdown. The people conducting the study even had both groups training the exact same way. All compound movements in the gym, and each group trained between 4:00-6:00 PM.
The results were amazing.
THE INTERMITTENT FASTING GROUP HAD A 16% REDUCTION IN BODY FAT. The opposing group only had a 2.8% reduction in body fat.
This means that even though calories, macros, training times, and food consumption was identical, body fat was still drastically reduced with the fasted group. The fasted group also had lower triglycerides in the blood compared to the other group. This means that the body is much better at flushing fat from the increases in hormone production during a fasted time.
Inflammation throughout the body was also drastically reduced with the fasted group! Tumor necrosis factor alpha is a cell signaling protein involving systemic inflammation was decreased. Interleukin 1, an immune system regulator that controls response to infections was also improved compared to the traditional eating group.
So what does this tell us? This study explains that by regulating the eating window down to 8 hours instead of 12+ hours with a traditional eating time, health is drastically improved. Not only is body fat reduction much easier by fasting, but inflammation and other hormones in the body is improved as well.
The body is designed to be fasted. Humans thrive in a fasted state. It is a natural response and this proves that breakfast may not be the most important meal after all.