Intermittent fasting delivers quick weight loss results, works faster than other diets, prevents disease and increases longevity. And, there are no food rules, no counting macros, no portion control, and no pills. The only restriction is the time window in which you can eat. However, experts recommend that you eat nutrient-dense foods during your re-feeding window to ensure that your body is adequately nourished after fasting. Below, you will see the types of foods to eat on an intermittent fasting diet to optimize weight loss and maximize all of the other health benefits.
Despite the fact that Americans are put off by the word Fasting, the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle has gone viral because people are seeing quick results that are more sustainable, and extend beyond just weight loss.
Mounting scientific research on intermittent fasting shows a positive impact on fat loss, body mass index, lean muscle mass, brain function, chronic fatigue, mental clarity, liver detoxification, insulin resistance, blood sugar balance, gut health, cancer remission, depression, and longevity.
Although Intermittent fasting only restricts when you can eat, and not what you can eat, nutritionists still recommend that you make sure to include certain nutrient-dense foods in your feeding window, in order to derive long-term health benefits from intermittent fasting that extend beyond just weight loss. In most studies on intermittent fasting, the subjects re-feed with nutrient-rich foods, not highly processed fast food or junk food. Trying to maintain intermittent fasting on low quality, nutrient-depleted foods would be like fueling a Ferrari with low-quality leaded gasoline and expecting continued high performance over time. In a short time, the Ferrari engine, like the mitochondria that powers your cell, will eventually begin to break down on low quality fuel.
How Does An Intermittent Fasting Diet Actually Work?
The Intermittent fast diet involves making just one simple decision. This decision involves picking a schedule that lays out when to eat and when not to eat (aka fasting) each day. Essentially, you will be choosing how many hours in the day you would like to Fast(abstain from eating). There already exist structured schedules that are very popular and widely used by millions of people around the world.
Here are example schedules that millions have followed with phenomenal success:
12 Hour Fast: 12 Hour Feeding Window
You Fast For 12 hours a day, and you eat food within a 12-hour feeding window. This is probably the easiest to follow because 8 hours of the 12 hours, you will likely be sleeping. Furthermore; this fasting schedule mimics what was natural to the way our grandparents ate before the concept of snacking became integrated into our modern lifestyle.
16 Hour Fast: 8 Hour Feeding Window
You Fast for 16 hours a day, and you eat within an 8-hour window. A little more challenging, but still very do-able, since 8 out of the 16 hours Fasting time, you will be sleeping.
20 Hour Fast: 4 Hour Feeding Window
You Fast for 20 hours and are only allowed to eat within a 4-hour feeding window. This is the most challenging intermittent fasting schedule, but is also the one that provides the greatest number of benefits as quickly as possible.
What Should You Eat While Intermittent Fasting?
Although you can eat just about anything during your feeding window (the hours that you are allowed to eat), make sure that most of what you put in your mouth is micro-nutrient-dense. A consistent diet of french fries, whoppers, chicken nuggets, sweets, or foods that contain artificial ingredients, trans-fats, and refined sugars will eventually wreck the engines of your mitochondria and reduce any health benefits that you obtain from consistently engaging in the intermittent fasting lifestyle.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to give your body what it needs to repair itself when you are not eating. By not having to deal with digestion during the fasting period, the body can focus on repairing damage, and detoxifying itself and ridding the body of dysfunctional cells that should no longer be alive. Vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, antioxidants, healthy fats, clean proteins, vegetable fiber, and amino acids are essential allies for the body to repair and regenerate itself.
Essential Foods & Nutrients To Consume During The Re-Feeding Window:
Water is the single most important food-like substance that we consume. And, given the fact that our bodies are nearly 70% water by volume, it is essential to just about every single biological process taking place in our cells, tissues, and organs. When fasting, water can be used to help us overcome phantom signals of hunger and to satiate our reflexive cravings for solid food. Therefore, water is even more critical when we are in the fasted state. During the hours that we abstain from food, periodically sipping on warm or room-temperature water can be highly beneficial.
2. Healthy Fats
We have been previously conditioned to think that fats are bad. Emerging research has indicated that this is not exactly true. However, it is important to note that all fats are not created equal. There are fats that heal and fats that kill. Unadulterated, unheated and untreated fats that come from nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, coconut, and grass-fed ghee and butter have demonstrated positive benefits in lab studies.
3. Sprouted Nuts and Seeds
A growing body of Research indicates that the type of polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, like walnuts, manipulate the hormones that control hunger and satiety in a positive way. Eating walnuts, almonds and macadamia help us feel satisfied and stay satisfied for longer periods of time. In addition, these types of fats benefit our brains, cells, organs and our gut lining.
To take full advantage of the benefits contained within Nuts and Seeds, it is very important to soak and sprout nuts and seeds for as long as 24 hours prior to consuming them in order to de-active the anti-nutrients that tend to bind to minerals and prevent them from being absorbed in the gut. Soaking and sprouting nuts and seeds can be a time-consuming process, but some artisan food companies do this work for you and make them available for order online.
Try foods like Yogi Granola, a superfood granola that uses soaked and sprouted nuts & seeds as a base in its grain-free, gluten-free granola, to which nutrient-rich Superfoods, adaptogenic herbs, and medicinal mushrooms are added to create a powerful micro-nutrient-dense meal. This Superfood Granola is perfect for those on an intermittent fasting diet who are seeking to refeed with a high quality food that provides the body with all the nutrients it needs.
5. Vegetables From The Cruciferous Family
Fiber-rich Foods like broccoli sprouts, Brussels sprouts, and the mighty cauliflower contain lots of fiber that feed the friendly gut bacteria that make up our gut microbiome. These types of vegetables also contain numerous active compounds that the body needs to fight cancer, repair damage, and protect our DNA from oxidative damage. If you are eating only within a certain window, fiber becomes even more crucial in order to help you maintain bowel regularity, avoid constipation and maintain satiety over long periods of time.
The berries are the kings and queens of the fruit kingdom, because they consistently outrank all other fruits and vegetables for the number of antioxidants, vitamin-c, flavonoids, and phytonutrients that they contain. In addition, berries are low-glycemic, which means they contain a lot less sugar than the vast majority of other fruits. Numerous research studies show that people who eat berries regularly, gained a lot less weight over t period of time. Check out the infographic below for some valuable data and statistics on berries and super berries. Yogi Granola contains the skin of several berries, but not the pulp. The skin contains most of the anti-oxidants, vitamins and phytonutrients. The pulp is where all the sugar resides.
6. Lean and Clean Proteins
If you’re only eating less food because you are only eating within a certain window, you’ll want to choose foods that are high in protein because they are nutrient dense. There are many protein packed foods from both the plant and animal kingdom. We encourage you to choose wisely and to make sure what you are eating is clean.
7. Beans, Legumes And Prebiotics
Intermittent fasting does not leave room for large amounts of carbohydrate consumption. If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your ideal body weight, you do not want to fill up on high carbohydrate foods like rice, pasta, bread, and other refined carbohydrates during your re-feeding time. However, for the sake of obtaining fiber to keep the gut bacteria healthy and happy, intermittent fasting enthusiasts are encouraged to incorporate some soaked and sprouted or fermented beans and legumes into their meal plans. Low-carb beans and legumes like chickpeas, peas, and lentils that have been shown to assist with weight loss in numerous scientific studies.
8. Adaptogenic & Tonic Herbs
Adaptogens are a class of nutrient-dense herbs considered to be metabolic regulators that increase our ability to adapt to stress while protecting our bodies from the damaging effects of environmental stressors, free radicals, and toxic substances. Adaptogens contain highly beneficial compounds that the body can use during its repair phase to regulate the immune system, nerve function and reduce inflammation processes. Yogi Granola is infused with adaptogenic herbs like
What Are The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
1. Lower Calorie Consumption.
The vast majority of people are interested in the weight loss benefits of intermittent fasting. Does it work? Yes! Is there any empirical scientific evidence to demonstrate efficacy? Heck Yes!
Intermittent fasting lowers the number of calories that you will consume. If your calorie consumption goes down, fat loss will happen effortlessly. If eat sensibly during your feeding window and abstain from food during the fasting period, you will lose weight for sure.
A groundbreaking study found intermittent fasting to be better than harsh caloric restriction diets for fat loss. That study also demonstrated that people on an Intermittent fasting diet also maintained lean muscle mass and avoided becoming “skinny fat”.
2. Improves Brain Function and Brain Cognition.
Emerging research using Animal models shows that fasting raises the production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which may help prevent brain dysfunction and brain degeneration as we age.
Intermittent fasting has also been shown to prevent spatial memory loss and short-term memory loss, reverse the effects of brain damage, traumatic brain injury, and decrease the severity of dementia and Alzheimer’s in animal models.
3. Helps Reduce Risk Of Diabetes And Insulin Resistance.
By 2050, 1 out of 3 people will have diabetes. Intermittent fasting may be the way to reduce Type 2 diabetes or enable those suffering from the disease to recover from it. Studies on rats clearly show that a fasting style diet is able to restore insulin secretion and generate new insulin-producing pancreatic cells in mice with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Human research subjects who are engaged in Intermittent fasting show decreased visceral belly fat, decreased fasting insulin, and lower levels insulin resistance that mirror levels of people of calorie restriction diet.
4. Improves Heart Health And Heart Disease Outcomes.
Several Studies show that after a short time on an intermittent fasting diet regimen, HDL cholesterol (known as the good cholesterol) went up in women and triglycerides went down in men. LDL (considered the bad cholesterol) decreased overall in both male and female subjects.
5. Helps Combat Cancer.
The research involving cancer and intermittent fasting has only been conducted on animals. The results have been very encouraging. One study shows lower cancer rates and increased longevity for rats suffering from cancer. No one is rushing to the microphone just yet to say that Intermittent fasting improves health outcomes in cancer patients, but the research is very encouraging.
Before changing the way you eat and altering your diet in any significant way, please speak with a health professional to make sure it’s the best decision for you.
Are There Any Side Effects From Fasting?
Fasting has been shown to improve several metabolic pathways associated with positive health. Before considering side-effects, it is important to distinguish between intermittent fasting and prolonged fasting. In intermittent fasting, you only fast for a certain period of time during the day and then re-feed the body during a feeding window on that same day. In prolonged fasting, a person may go 2, 3, 5 or more days without eating any food at all, only consuming water. This is where problems may arise.
Research into prolonged fasting indicates that prolonged fasting may be contra-indicated for people with thyroid dysfunction.
Research Shows That Prolonged Fasting Reduces Thyroid Function
Various research studies indicate that prolonged multi-day fasting results in a decline in serum T3(the most active form of thyroid hormone). It was also observed that some of this reduction in serum T3 is due to a lowering of the amount of T4 being converted to T3, predominantly in the liver cells. TSH levels, however, remained unchanged. But researchers have also observed that serum T3 levels do return to pre-fasting values upon re-feeding with a nutrient-rich diet that provides adequate levels of iodine, selenium and fat-soluble vitamins.
What does this mean? Your thyroid and metabolic rate will go down during a prolonged period of fasting but will return to normal after re-feeding with an adequate nutrient-dense meal.
it is important to note that many people suffering from Hypothyroidism do so because of inadequate nutrition that leads to nutritional deficiencies.
If you are engaged in prolonged fasting, you must re-feed with foods which contain adequate levels of iodine, selenium, fat-soluble vitamins. Where do you get such foods?
Foods That May Help Prevent The Potential Side Effects Of Fasting
After a period of intermittent fasting, make sure to re-feed your body with foods that are highly nourishing, micro-nutrient dense but not too heavy. Re-feeding foods should also be grain-free and gluten-free.
We highly recommend re-feeding from a fast with Yogi Granola, a grain-free, gluten-free Granola Superfood blend made with sprouted nuts and sprouted seeds, mixed with superfoods, adaptogenic herbs, medicinal mushrooms, and sea vegetables. Yogi Granola contains naturally occurring levels of minerals, selenium, iodine and fat-soluble vitamins in highly bio-available form.
Overall, scientific research shows that Intermittent Fasting is highly beneficial to the body. If you are considering intermittent fasting, consult with your healthcare practitioner to make sure that it is right for you and your weight loss journey. And make sure to have plenty of nutrient-dense foods in your pantry to eat during your re-feeding period.