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Tips and links for those practicing Intermittent Fasting (IF). 5:2 or Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)

(275 Posts)
Breadandwine Sun 07-Oct-12 00:27:12

This is where those posters who have been IFing for a while can pass on any tips they may have on how to get the best out of this new WOE (way of eating).

It's also where you should post any new links on the subject that you come across - and would just get buried in a very long thread.

I just wanted to get this thread underway, so that GreenEggs can link to it in the new 5:2 thread (the 5th in just 2 months!) that's she is currently planning.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 19-Oct-12 18:37:21

Another BMI adjustment calculator

And a website to let you see your size compared to others of your height

TalkinPeace2 Fri 19-Oct-12 18:47:35

that precise nutrition blog makes the REALLY IMPORTANT point
that part of the power of IF is that it teaches your body to recognise hunger pangs, accept them and know that a blow out meal is not needed to take them away
and to accept that on a small scale that are a good thing not a bad thing.

the antithesis of the snack, graze, eat when you want mentality that brought most of us to this forum in the first place!

Breadandwine Wed 24-Oct-12 16:10:03

Here are some Q&As on fasting, written by a bloke who, while admittedly is flogging stuff, seems to have most of his info freely available. It's a fascinating blog - well worth a bit of a browse:

TheCyclistist Fri 26-Oct-12 19:09:18

Found this link discussing IF/ADF. Mostly about exercise and IF. It does however totally contradict the evidence regarding the increased benefits you 'may' get from reducing your protien intake alongside ADF. The authors seem to have had a long association with the High Protien mantra in the States post Adkins. The artical also seems to assert that IF promotes the beneficial actions of IGF-1, this totally goes against Moseley's assertions and evidence in the Horizon programme. However I thought the info should be added to the thread:

Another assertion is that IF can have a negative short term effect upon fertility something that has been stated as a possibility in some other data

Laska42 Sun 28-Oct-12 15:26:14

1. My absolute top tip is chilli sauce! (Franks red hot extra hot is my favourite) ill say no more..... those that know me here have heard it all before!

2. Don't be afraid of hunger.. We are just not used to being hungry mostly, but it really is manageable once you stop fearing it and doesn't build , I'm always amazed that the morning after a fast day I'm often just not hungry.

3. I found at first I wasn't sleeping well on fast days.. but now I'm fine ..

4. Make every fast meal as tasty as possible. Add fresh coriander, parsley and mint, lemon or lime juice, gherkins, garlic, mustard ,black pepper, soy or Worcester as these all perk up your meal no end for very few calories. (in the unlikely event you are not a Chillihead!)..

5. Miso soup is good(around 20 cals) if you really think you cant wait for dinner ..

6. Drink lots of Mint tea, green tea with lemon grass , water water water (its easy to get dehydrated on fast days I find) . I have real black coffee too ,

I tend to base my fast day meals around eggs and fish and veggies .

Oh yes , and did I mention chilli sauce? .. Look I said I wouldn't mention it again, but I lied OK? grin

Laska42 Sun 28-Oct-12 15:28:16

oh.... and beetroot watercress, celery and olives ..

TellMeLater Sun 28-Oct-12 19:49:00

Agree laska I usually make a 4 portion chicken vindaloo on the first fasting day of the week for dh and i and then i have the second days fasting sorted. I make the curry to 250kcal and serve with 50kcal of cauliflower rice - it's a massive portion and we often can't finish it.

I spend the rest of my 200kcal on tea, coffee, miso soup and total yogurt.

Liquorice tea is a sweet flavoursome almost calorie free tea.

Breadandwine Mon 29-Oct-12 00:47:02

I've been struggling to find the reason why I feel more hunger on feed days than on fasting days.

Discussing this with some friends, I thought I may have come across the possible cause of this phenomenon - and it relates to the way our bodies have developed during our evolution.

When we were hunter-gatherers, we never knew when our next meal would appear. We made a kill, we feasted - and then, when the food was all gone, we fasted until we could find more. And it could be a long time before we found any. So our bodies are well used to going without food for long periods.

When we don't eat, our bodies assume there is no food available - famine situation - so it suppresses the (for want of a better term), 'hunger switch';

When we do eat, our bodies assume there is food available - feast situation - and turns on the hunger switch. So, we eat. Then, a short time later, the body says, "This must be a feast day, so I want more food - to store up fat reserves against the next famine". The result is we feel hungry again - and again and again, every time we eat.

When we sleep at night - or have any period where we don't eat for a while - we reset the switch.

Breadandwine Sun 04-Nov-12 22:54:27

More people are reporting that they are feeling good on their fasting days.

There's a theme developing: "Feeling more alive," says Laska; "I always seem to have more energy after a fast," says Blondie; I myself feel fantastic after a 22 hour fast. Many posters say they're looking forward to their fast days.

Seems to me there's a perfectly logical reason for this phenomenon:
During our hunter-gatherer days, the more alert we were whilst deprived of food, the easier it would have been for us to find some. Successful hunters would have passed their genes down to us. So you could say we're supposed to feel good when fasting.

About not feeling hunger when fasting: put simply, hunger would have been a distraction in the search for food - it just would have got in the way and made us less successful hunters.

Here's an article on IF from yesterday's Times magazine, reinforcing most of what we know, posted on a blog. The journo's idea of what 500 calories represents for a day is well worth checking out! Good for a laugh, anyway! grin

And while the Times is coming round to the idea of IF, here's the Telegraph recommending cake for breakfastas a way to lose weight!

Breadandwine Tue 06-Nov-12 13:56:46

welshmill posted this research into Extended Daily Fasting (on Mice it has to be said) on the main 5:2 thread:

TheCyclistist Tue 06-Nov-12 23:08:44

Hi all. The following is a link to a website that offers IGF-1 tests. I have no idea whether they are any good but the following page lists some of the symptoms of reduced IGF-1.

These symptoms could also of course be nothing to do with IGF-1 levels but I thought the link might be of interest, (I'm just off to go and buy shares in smile )

ThinkICan Thu 08-Nov-12 15:49:41

Furhman's book `Eat to live' is here: and tells you how to lose oodles of weight and all your illnesses and risks with a plant-based diet for 6 weeks followed by an option to add meat for a maintenance diet.

Breadandwine Fri 09-Nov-12 15:31:27

What seems to be a good description of 'Autophagy' here by a bloke who seems to know what he's talking about.

The forum itself is concerned with hard-core fasting - but there's loads of relevant info on there.

Breadandwine Sun 11-Nov-12 22:08:49

Another step along the way to this WOL becoming mainstream - a good, positive article on the subject by Dom Joly:

Breadandwine Mon 12-Nov-12 20:28:03

I thought I'd posted this link a while back - can't find it, so here it is (again?):

It's a discussion thread on the effects of ADF on cycling - these folks do a lot of miles (kilometres!):

frenchfancy Thu 15-Nov-12 07:43:54

A few people have found this useful so I thought I'd post it here so it didn't get lost:

Here is some maths (sorry I like numbers)

I don't know your height and weight so I am going to invent a person, lets call her Annie.

Annie is 5'4" tall and is 5 stone over her ideal BMI (of 23) so weighs 14st7lbs.

She has a moderate exercise regime. To maintain her weight she needs to eat 2500 cals per day.

She wants to lose the weight as quickly as is healthy, according to caloriecount the recommended loss is 2lb per week. In order to do this on a normal calorie restriction diet Annie should eat 1444 cals per day (or 10108 cals per week)

If Annie wants to do 5:2 then she should eat 1821 calories on eating days and 500 cals on fast days. (so the same 10108 per week)

If Annie wants to do 4:3 then she should eat 2152 calories on eating days and 500 cals on fast days. (again the same 10108 per week)

These figures are for optimum weight loss. As Annie loses weight the figures can be reduced according to her new weight.

If Annie eats much less than these figures then her body is going to go into gluconeogenisis. Annies body can metabolise fat in all organs but 2, her red blood cells must have glucose, her brain needs some glucose but can survive with the rest of its energy coming from something called ketone bodies. The body can make limited amounts of glucose by breaking down stored fat. Ketone bodies are made from fat. However a body cannot make enough glucose from simply breaking down fat (if you are not eating enough) because the by products of the fat breakdown (fatty acids, ketones like acetone) simply overloads the blood. So the body starts to break down protein to make the glucose. This is starvation mode. This is when your body stops working properly. This is what Annie needs to avoid in order to stay healthy.

This is why the weekly calorie number is so important. If you are fasting on some days you need to give your body some fuel on the other days. Simply reducing the calories lower and lower will not help you lose weight, it will make you ill. It may also cause your skin to lose elasticity which means when you have lost the weight you will have excess skin. Steady, healthy weight loss avoids this problem.

skippyscuffleton Thu 15-Nov-12 09:37:34

Good job frenchfancy
I very much doubt anyone is going to reach starvation mode on a 5:2 regime. Fat stores will supplement energy requirements for a long long time and 5:2ing will not deplete them. If she did manage to do so by doing an extensive fast(weeks?), then her body will go into starvation mode and she will start burning protein as well as her remaining limited fat stores.
Basically, reducing your calories will result in weight loss if you're energy expenditure doesn't drop correspondingly(plus ignoring any possible hormonal effects). If Annie above is v active then she is going to really burn the calories and on the above regime she is is probably never going to properly replenish her glycogen stores and will become more dependent on burning fat and in addition will feel lousy, but she is going to lose weight.

Breadandwine Fri 16-Nov-12 01:32:52

To all those who are feeling cold when they're fasting - and I'm starting to find myself in that company - you can take heart from research which says that the colder your inner body temperature, the longer you are probably likely to live!

TellMeLater Fri 16-Nov-12 09:13:39

But on low carb diet where I have used protein and fat to fuel my body, with very low carb level from veg...and I have trained and run a very fast 10k and felt strong and energetic.

I thought starvation mode existed only when body fat stores were extremely low - below 10% for woman and it was defined not by protein being converted to glucose - this would suggest all low carbers exist in a permanent starvation mode and they don't but rather it is defined by burning muscle for energy in the absence of adequate fat stores.

I have a BMI of 20.5, I do intense exercise 5 days a week and my fat percentage is still around 20-25% depending on calculators - so I have a long way to go before my body goes into starvation mode and starts to eat muscle, even if I don't eat very much for a while.

Breadandwine Fri 16-Nov-12 17:47:14

virginposter pasted this on the main thread:

Has anyone seen this blog?

It's particularly interesting because someone posts a comment stating that they are in touch with Michael Mosley and that he is keen to hear from people who have been doing 5:2 for a while. They give an email address to contact him so maybe here's our chance to put some of our questions to him??

skippyscuffleton Fri 16-Nov-12 21:16:57

Tellmelater apologies and thanks for drawing attention to my point on someone in starvation mode using protein as an energy source, I should have been clearer and stated that the protein would be the body's muscle, like you said.
The two points that I was trying to make were that firstly I think it's very unlikely that Annie above or a regular 5:2er will reach starvation mode. References have cropped up on the main thread about starvation mode which I think are misleading and unnecessary. Secondly reducing calories will result in weight loss as long as energy expenditure doesn't drop or there's some strange hormonal effect.
Am impressed that you could do a comfortable fast 10k whilst low carbing. Sounds like you we're/are well adapted to relying on fat for energy. I still struggle with this mainly due to my high intake of choc and other sweet stuff, but have made some improvements since starting IF.

Apologies also to frenchfancy if my above post reads as being confrontational, it was not my intention.

bandw so now we have to be cold and hungry to live longer. What next, sleep deprivation? wink

DilysPrice Fri 16-Nov-12 21:32:28

I'm not joining in myself, but seeing this thread in Active reminded me that you all might be interested to learn that there's a significant piece on this in this week's New Scientist. You can't read online without a sub, but should be available at local library etc. It's more of a "here are some interesting people doing some thought-provoking research" piece than a "this is definitely the way it is" piece, but v interesting.

I like the fact that it attacks the "always eat breakfast" dogma, with which I have never had much truck.

frenchfancy Sat 17-Nov-12 09:36:56

skippy no offence taken. I agree that the term starvation mode is probably the wrong one. No one is going to starve whilst they still have a decent percentage of body fat, but relying soley on the burning of that fat can make you ill which is the point I was trying to make.

In order that this post stay within the links purpose of this thread I present this blog:

Lets try and keep discussions to the main thread so the links on here don't get lost in a load of discussion.

Breadandwine Sat 17-Nov-12 14:46:28

Thanks for that, ff - it's very tantilising, isn't it? She promised us some IGF-1 test results "I’ll be getting it tested in two weeks, so stay tuned!".

That was on the 25th September, and I can find nothing on the subject since.

For anyone else, here's a clickable link:

TellMeLater Mon 19-Nov-12 09:01:54

No low carber relies solely on fat to fuel them, they consume a few carbs in the form of veggies and of course a normal amount of protein. Lots of people not just me low carb and exercise intensely, it's easier for me to exercise on low carb than low calorie - which will leaves me feeling ravenously hungry.
I think the key is to get to know your mind and body - some people struggle to cope with low carb and some don't, some can't manage low calorie, if it works for you it'll be fine as long as you are getting your nutrient requirements. On any diet it is always possible to eat junk while you lose weight rather than real food and in my opinion that will be the thing that makes you ill in the long term.

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