When is the BEST time to Intermittent Fast if your goal is weight loss? It turns out, the timing does matter with Intermittent Fasting. Today, I'm diving into the details of the best time to Intermittent Fasting for weight loss and what the research has to say!
How Long Should You Intermittent Fast?
Contrary to what you may think, longer fasts aren't always better when it comes to achieving a weight loss goal. The primary concern when determining how long daily fasts should be is whether or not you'll be able to get enough nutrients (primarily protein) during your chosen eating window for your body's needs. Protein is highly satiating, which means that it makes you feel full faster and for longer than the other macronutrients. This can make fitting enough protein in during a smaller eating window difficult if your protein needs are higher. Considering protein is crucial for weight loss and body recomposition goals, this is an important factor to consider when creating your fasting times.(1)
Wondering how long you should fast? Take our free Intermittent Fasting Schedule Quiz HERE.
What Is The Best Time To Intermittent Fast?
In other words, should you fast in the morning or at night? First things first, it's important to make your fasting window fit your schedule. Otherwise, if it's not realistic, then it'll never work for you long term. For example, if you work night shifts, then you'll want to skip this entire article and check out THIS video instead.
But if you have some flexibility with your schedule, then you may want to consider eating an early-ish dinner. If weight loss is your goal, it's important to keep the storing hormone insulin in check. The more insulin that the body needs to secrete, the less the body will be able to tap into fat burning mechanisms (aka lipolysis). And it turns out that the body tends to become more insulin resistance the later we get into the evening.(2) This means that the body may need to secrete more insulin to the same meal if eaten later versus earlier.
A good rule of thumb that I try and aim for is allowing at least one hour of a fully fasted state before bed. For example, I go to bed around 8:30-9pm, so I make sure to eat dinner around 6pm so that I have roughly 1.5-2 hours of fully fasting before I hit the hay.
So what does this mean for practically picking an eating window? Do you need to skip dinner? Not necessarily. In fact, thousands of AENpeeps (myself included) still maintain a fasting window that allows for dinner and still see weight loss results (check out the video below). But it may be in your benefit to try and eat your dinner a little earlier if possible. Remember, long term maintenance of a schedule is the number one most important factor. If it doesn't make sense for you to eat dinner at 6pm, then you can still at least eat foods that are satiating and supportive of your weight loss and wellness goals.
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Autumn Elle Nutrition