Time Restricted Feeding (aka Intermittent Fasting)
I love it when I hear about “new fads, or trending diets” in the nutritional world that actually date back to 1000's of years ago. I mean, I know we all want to be the next Columbus, but when it comes to Intermittent Fasting, no, you diet freaks, IF is nothing new – it’s an ancient way of eating.
Thousands of years ago, in the early human hunter and gatherer era, food wasn’t consistently available. The human body genetically evolved to withstand longer periods of fasting due to the fluctuations in food availability. The adaptations from centuries ago are what allows our bodies to naturally adjust to abstaining from food for longer periods of time. It is the unbroken intake of food throughout the day and for > 12 hours that has been shown to lead to increase in fat mass, disrupted glycemic control and increased blood pressure.
When you fast, insulin levels drop (which facilitates fat burning) and human growth hormone increases (which facilitates fat burning and muscle gain). Your cells start to repair themselves and change which genes they express which can promote longevity and protection against disease. In addition, IF has been shown to reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body which benefits against the development of many diseases, allows for the growth of new neurons in the brain and protects the brain from damage.
Fasting is a natural part of the original human meal pattern. Feeling hungry every now and then is both healthy and evolutionary normal. A healthy body following a healthy diet that is high in whole grain carbohydrate, protein, fiber, and omega-3 is what preforms best when following a time restricted eating pattern.
Follow the sample outline for a day of Intermittent Fasting below:
Start with a 12 hour fast and work towards a 10/ 14 hour fast.
Start with eating from 8 am- 8 pm
Work towards starting to eat at 10 am, stopping at 8 pm (or 9 am to 7pm).
FASTING FOR 12 hours:
DON’T start eating before 8 am, STOP eating by 8 pm
Break your fast when you are ready. If you are not hungry when you wake up, you can defer breakfast for a few hours -- but it should not be skipped.
It should always include high-fiber carbohydrates, which are more slowly digested than refined carbs, and it should include protein, which helps keep hunger in check.
a cup of cooked oatmeal + low-fat milk, almond, cashew milk + a small handful of nuts avocado toast (two slices of Ezekiel or whole-grain bread + mashed avocado and sliced tomato)
two-egg omelet + veggies, fruit + a slice of whole-wheat toast.
9:30 a.m. COFFEE
You may be used to the Rise and Shine cup of Joe, but it will do more for you if you wait until later in the morning.
Our body's natural circadian clock controls the release of cortisol, a hormone that makes us feel alert and awake. Reduction is usually highest between 8 and 9 a.m., when most of us drink coffee, negating the usefulness of the caffeine. This may be why you go through 3-4 cups of coffee a day.
Drinking caffeine too early can lead to too much cortisol, which can disturb the body's natural circadian rhythms. It’s much better to drink caffeine between 9:30 and 11:30 when you'll actually benefit from it.
Between 12 and 2 p.m.
Follow the Happy Body Healthy Plate Guidelines
1/2 vegetables + 1/4 whole grains + 1/4 lean protein
Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and then dividing the second half into protein (like grilled fish or chicken) and slowly digested high-fiber carbohydrates (like beans or quinoa).
A salad with grilled chicken is fine, but try adding a baked sweet potato, a heaping scoop of chickpeas or even a thick, hearty bean soup.
A turkey sandwich + butternut squash soup or carrots with hummus.
Other good lunches include baked salmon with lentils and cooked green veggies or a Mexican quinoa bowl with quinoa, black beans, chicken, avocado and salsa, along with a pile of greens.
** The afternoon is when your body temperature naturally dips thus causing you to feel sleepy regardless of the meal size. Cut through the fog with a 20-minute power walk.
2:15 p.m. LAST CUP OF COFFEE
By this time, your cortisol levels are starting to dip again.
If you’re feeling it, grab another cup of coffee—your final one for the day.
4:00 p.m. HAVE A SNACK
If you go longer, your blood glucose decreases, impacting alertness and metabolism. Grab a snack making sure to combine a protein and complex carbs. This will keep you from overeating at dinner.
Try plain yogurt mixed with oatmeal; hummus and veggies; or peanut butter–stuffed celery stalks; an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter; grape tomatoes with string cheese, a hard-boiled egg.
**A study published in the journal Neuron found that amino acids in protein activate the cells responsible for keeping us awake, while sugar inhibits those same cells.
An afternoon snack may be necessary if lunch and dinner are more than five hours apart. However, it should be no more than 200 calories, and it should be high in protein and fiber. This will prevent you from arriving at dinner feeling 'starving.’
BETWEEN 4 and 8 p.m.
Wine and Alcohol: Consume your wine on the early side so that any alcohol will be metabolized before you 're ready for bed.
BETWEEN 5 and 6 p.m.
Body temperature is peaking—which means you’re nimbler and less likely to get injured—so it’s a good moment to get in a workout.
6:30- 7:00 p.m. DINNER
Dinner should be light and low in carbohydrates.
The more you can go low-carb for dinner, the more it will mitigate the effects of unbalanced calories at night.
Dinners might include fish and a cooked vegetable, lettuce-wrapped tacos or a turkey burger with a whole grain side and a salad with light dressing.
Consuming food elevates body temperature, which signals your body to stay awake. Eating dinner less than three hours before bedtime can interfere with sleep.
If you have reflux, be wary of dinner timing. A full post-meal stomach produces gastric distention, causing the lower esophageal sphincters to relax. Coupled with lying down horizontally to sleep, these conditions can result in reflux.
7:50 pm AFTER DINNER SNACK
Hunger is increased maximally at approximately 7:50 pm at the same time that insulin will be maximally stimulated by foods. This means higher insulin levels for the same amount of food intake. This higher insulin level will naturally drive weight gain. If you find yourself craving something, go for a high protein snack, or a protein shake made with slow-digesting casein protein.