Some people think that dieting is all about what you eat, but when you eat is just as important.
This particularly applies to those that practice intermittent fasting (IF), which is a diet plan that restricts eating between certain hours in the day. Intermittent fasting decreases insulin levels and increases human growth hormone, which optimizes your body’s ability to burn fat.
And though there are many variations of intermittent fasting, many are confused about what they can eat during the eating window.
IF does provide extra flexibility when it comes to your dietary choices; since you’re usually only eating one or two large meals, you can eat more calories per meal than if you were eating three to five meals a day.
“Technically, there are no diet restrictions with intermittent fasting,” explains Kristin Koskinen, RDN. “It’s an eating style based on food timing rather than diet composition.”
At the same time, this can be a trap for some people. They’ll make the mistake of eating as much of whatever they want, including processed junk food, during the eating window. Eating surplus of calories, especially empty calories and processed foods, reverses all the benefits of fasting.
“For optimal results with intermittent fasting, it’s important to continue to drink plenty of water during the feeding times,” Kristen said. “Food should be eaten mindfully and slowly, and without the mindset of getting it while you can or making up what you lost when fasting.”
If you are looking to eat healthier, the first step is cleaning up your diet before jumping into IF – such as replacing processed food with whole foods, eating more plant-based, and cutting back on refined sugars and sweeteners. Once those healthy habits are in place, you can consider intermittent fasting.
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