Fasting – Yey or Ney?
If you are not entirely happy with your weight, you probably have heard about intermitted eating, fasting, or 16:8 diet. All these names refer to a diet, where you eat only during an 8 hour window every day and consume only unsweet liquids the rest of the time, for 16 hours. This method is definitely on the rise these days and you will find celebrities, influencers, and some friends on it.
But is it healthy to listen to the clock instead of your body? Is it manageable for a long run? And how much will power do you have to have to go hungry for 16 hours every day?
In addition to losing weight, according to its proponents, this diet helps fight chronic diseases. There is another modified version of this diet, called 5:2. Jimmy Kimmel is on this diet, where you can eat all you want for 5 days and then for the next 2 you consume just 500 calories per day.
Most people on 16:8 diet start their cycle at night and skip breakfast, making their first meal of the day at noon. After that, for 8 hours you are free to eat all you want. Many dieters follow keto diet for their food to get better results faster.
This diet has ancient roots, because our ancestors most definitely hunted, gathered, and ate during the day and fasted and rested during dark hours. This could be called intermitted fasting as well.
We all have to decide what works for us, but there is some sad news for starving proponents – it turns out the result is virtually the same if you follow 16:8 diet or reduce your calories overall and spread your meals throughout the day. It’s all about what you eat and not when. Eating veggies, fruit, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats is a better long-term strategy than starving for 16 and overeating for 8 hours every day.
Some people, however, insist that staying on 16:8 diet is easier for them than counting every calorie. To each his own. People with high blood pressure and obesity are definitely benefiting from intermitted fasting approach. The body regulates blood sugar better and in turn blood pressure is reduced.
How does 16:8 fasting aid our bodies?
Fasting reduces oxidative stress for our bodies and gives a break to vital organs, reducing chances for chronic diseases. When our metabolic system takes a break, organs and hormones rest. Insulin production also slows down, so we are less likely to develop insulin resistance and high levels of it.
There are also some proven down sides to this fasting. First, LDL cholesterol tends to increase; second, you can get dizzy, lightheaded, and suffer serious hunger pangs; third, even avid water drinkers can get dehydrated without food for so long.
People with eating disorders are especially in danger because prolonged fasting causes overeating as your body gets confused without natural hunger cues and metabolism. Such long hunger periods can cause binge and purge effect, which is especially dangerous for women. Fasting like this can trigger depression, anxiety and eating disorders.
So overall, 16:8 fasting has pros and cons, and you should make the decision to try it very carefully. Many of us eat based on circumstances and not always based on hunger – popcorn at movies and eating just because lunch time came even when not feeling very hungry would be good examples. Snackers can get great help with 16:8 diet and cut back on snacks at all hours of the day.
Eating your last meal earlier can help you go to bed earlier and sufficient sleep has been liked to weight loss. 7+ hours of sleep reduces chances for chronic diseases, improves metabolism, and helps you feel energetic and rested.
At the end of the day, any diet is a personal choice. Fasting might be beneficial for some individuals, but too difficult for others. It is not easy socially and hard to follow all the rules. You can incorporate some components of this fasting into your diet of healthy food and call it a day to make your life less difficult. You can educate yourself about healthy foods and to start close your kitchen after dinner, go to bed earlier, drink more water, and have a nice breakfast when your body is ready for it.
If you do decide to give fasting a try, get some help and download DoFasting app. In a few words, this app helps you track your food time and alerts users when it’s time to eat. It costs $33 for 3 months. It has other features, but they are not very useful.
The features that don’t work very well are meal suggestions, but they don’t react to your dietary specifications. For example, vegans still get suggestions with eggs. You can log your daily calories, but you won’t be able to import them from other fitness apps. There is no mood tracking, which might be important when tracking fasting periods.
Two apps that are great for fasting tracking and additional programs are Lifesum and MyFitnessPal. Lifesum offers a few programs, including 24-hour fasting, but also suggests some calories while doing that. MyFitnessPal is great for calorie logging and exercise tracking after you choose a plan you want to follow.
So what is DoFasting?
The app is based in Lithuania and functions as an intermitted fasting app, which helps you stay on track and get alerts about time to eat without tracking it yourself. Early in 2020 the app took some heat for promoting eating disorders with the ads and with intermitted fasting concept overall.
The app is available for iOs and Android. It will work after you create an account online and pay for it there. Creating an account involves answering some questions about you meal times, fitness, and weight goals. The app will flag it if your weight or weight loss goals are too low. This feature was added more recently.
Be ready to dodge some upsells when creating an account. Ads can be annoying for an app that is not free already.
The most important part of the app is, of course, the time tracker. You can set it to 16:8, 14:10, 12:12, or whatever works for you. You can change it any time. Be ready to see ads on the home screen all the time. There is also a screen for suggested workouts with simple exercises. Meals section always features some recipes, but they don’t always react to dietary specifications. Calories from those offered recipes get added to your profile and you can manually log your calories, but you can’t import other apps or use a bar scan. The fourth section is for articles about healthy living and fasting, where you will find original content and articles from Google.
If you don’t like the app, you can easily cancel it via an email request. Eventually self-cancelling option might be added.