Time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting refers to eating protocols that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting over a defined time frame. All of your daily calorie allowance is eaten within a relatively narrow time window each day, usually within eight to 12 hours, and then you fast for the other 12 to 16 hours. The fast is just an extension of your normal overnight fast (time spent sleeping and not eating). The fasting time frame could be 7pm-7am, and the eating window 7am-7pm. You could then extend your fast up to 16 hours and have an eight-hour eating window, such as fasting from 6pm-10am and eating between 10am and 6pm.
Intermittent fasting has the benefits of enabling your body to burn all carbohydrates and their stores. This promotes fat metabolism, resulting in greater fat loss overall. You can apply this approach to any BFF program to intensify fat loss results.
Another option is the Be5:2 program. This allows you to follow your normal healthy diet for five days of the week and “fast” intermittently for two days. The calories for fasting days are based on meeting 25 per cent of the average metabolic requirements per day. Females require 500 calories on “fasting” days, while males require 600 calories. Be Fit Food provides prepared meals and snacks equating to 500-600 calories for those two fasting days. You receive enough food to use over a four-week period. This will result in around 0.5-1kg of weight loss per week.
Intermittent fasting is a promising approach to losing weight. It is ideal for people wanting to achieve slower weight loss or weight maintenance. It has a positive effect on markers of metabolic health and body composition, including loss of fat mass, decreased blood pressure, improved blood sugar levels and improvement in markers of cardiovascular disease risk. Intermittent fasting can also help you to become more aware of your hunger and fullness cues, and encourage a more ‘mindful’ approach to eating.
Kate Save is an accredited practising dietitian, CEO and co-founder of Be Fit Food in Mornington, and Laura Ballantyne is an accredited practising dietitian at Be Fit Food. For more info go to befitfood.com.au or phone 1300 2 MEALS (63257)