Since starting the 16/8hr fast, I have been doing quite a lot of research into whether it actually has health benefits. I also want to iron out the misconception people have with intermittent fasting particularly with 16hr fast. That is that you will lose weight from fasting. This is not true. You will lose weight being in a calorie deficit therefore if you end up consuming fewer calories than normal when intermittent fasting you will lose weight because of calorie restricting, but not fasting itself.
Many people do however find that it can help them establish regular patterns, for example, being more productive in the morning (simply because I don’t have to think about preparing/cooking food when I first wake up.)
Personally, I have found it has helped with my sleep pattern. I have insomnia and so I wake up a lot during the night. I have to say often before starting the fast I would wake up and grab something to eat in the middle of the night. Since IF I have found having a cutoff point for food in the evening to be very beneficial to break this habit.
In my previous post, I talked about my concerns with fasting and morning training. I have still found there to be no negative effects on my recovery. Further to this talking to a colleague at work and reading around the effectiveness of BCAA’s I can conclude that BCAA’s on their own has very little effect on stimulating protein synthesis (Wolfe, 2017)(the original reason I was thinking of taking them if I found recovery to be slow).
For this reason, I am not going to take any supplements whilst continuing with the 16/8hr fast.
IF has become incredibly popular because of the many supposed internal benefits to the body; for example reduced blood pressure, reduced blood lipids, reduced risk of cancer, improved cellular turnover and repair, improved appetite control and the list goes on, I can’t honestly say whether these benefits actually exist in humans.
The main reason’s for this is A. Most of the studies I have read have been conducted on animals such as rats so humans may not have the same response. B. The benefits have been apparent after 20/24hrs of fasting. And therefore irrelevant to the 16hr fasting I have been doing.
I have to say this blog post and topic on the benefits of IF is far from being finished but after a short period of time fasting myself with the 16/8hr I can only loosely conclude 16/8hr fasting is good for my morning productively. I can’t say I feel any internal benefits and any benefits during my training. However, it has also helped me get into a better sleep pattern.
I think the real test for me would be to do a longer fast and see how I feel after it and the effects it has on my training and body composition.
I am always really interested to hear your views and experiences with IF please feel free to comment 🙂
Kephart, W., Mumford, P., McCloskey, A., Holland, A., Shake, J., Mobley, C., Jagodinsky, A., Weimar, W., Oliver, G., Young, K., Moon, J. and Roberts, M. (2016). Post-exercise branched chain amino acid supplementation does not affect recovery markers following three consecutive high intensity resistance training bouts compared to carbohydrate supplementation. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 13(1).
Wolfe, R. (2017). Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality?. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1).